Blue willow pattern china–a design you’ve presumably seen at your grandmother’s house growing up, featuring a pagoda, a bridge with people crossing it, a willow tree, and a lattice fence–has been around for over 200 years. The legend behind the pattern dates back nearly that long, as well: according to the romantic myth, the design tells the story of two lovers, on the run as they attempt to flee from the girl’s forbidding father.
That’s a fine legend, but the question remains: Where are the flying monkeys, the giant robots, or the sea monsters?
To answer that question, welcome the existence of Calamityware, blue willow pattern china that contains the elements of the classic design–but with the real threat coming not from a disapproving parent, but from the sort of calamity that can’t be escaped by running away in the night. The pattern is based on the artwork of Don Moyer, who created an array of variations on the willow pattern featuring impending attacks from asteroids, pterodactyls, pirates, and more. Moyer explains on the Kickstarter page for the third and latest plate design, Voracious Seamonster: “When I inherited a traditional Blue Willow-pattern plate, I just had to redraw it and add a dinosaur. As I drew more plates and added more calamities–UFOs, Sasquatch, and volcanoes–folks urged me to produce real dinner plates.”
Each piece in the Calamityware collection spends some time on Kickstarter, before making its way to the shoppable website–and as the series has progressed, the number of backers seems to double with each pattern. The current edition, in which our hapless lovers are besieged by the aforementioned sea monster–has nearly 1,700 backers pledging over $75,000, with 17 days to go.) Moyer says he’s committed to at least six designs, but would like to make it 12.
Even your grandmother would be terrified and delighted.