Get Your Free Porcelain!

Available at the Missouri Botanical Gardens, while supplies last.

Today was another play day. Let me rephrase that, today was another day of training for my next phase of life, retirement. Anne chose to work, too bad for her, so I flew solo. First up was a ride in the park, which was quite relaxing even though I rode through an intermittent drizzle. It helped to tamp down the tourists. Next up, was a photo safari to the gardens, where I discovered in the parking lot that they were giving away free stuff. Us soon to be retired people like free stuff, even more than discounted stuff.

Last summer the gardens hosted their second Chinese Lantern Festival. Like the first one, it was a big deal. After both festivals the lanterns or at least their parts were auctioned off. We ran into a steel framed-silk covered tree branch at the Strange Folk Festival last month. It was being used as shop décor. Both lantern shows featured rather extensive porcelain sculptures. In the first show it was dragons and in this last one it was pagodas. By porcelain I mean tableware. All white, like you might be served with in a Chinese restaurant, just ornately tied up in white packing string to hold all the cups, saucers and dishes together.

The story that I heard was that after the first lantern festival all of the porcelain was shipped back to China, because it had unsafe levels of lead in its glaze. So, I was surprised to see dozens of crates of the stuff sitting in the parking lot, with free signs tacked to them all. I seem to recall that the porcelain in the first show was blue and white, while in this last show it was uniformly white. So, maybe the poison was only in the blue glaze? Maybe after the first show they only then realized that the porcelain was deadly? This time around, maybe the garden paid for the more expensive clean porcelain? I don’t know.

I grabbed a handful of tea-cup columns, with twelve cups to a column. I left them on the table after I took the above picture and first Anne asked if I had bought some art. Obviously, she hadn’t read this blog post yet. Then she asked me what are you going to do with them? Do? They were free! One woman who is a potter was collecting these little cups too. She intends to cover them in polyurethane and tile her bathroom floor with them. Anne, in her best teacher voice asked me again, “What do you plan on doing with them?” “Why Dear,” I answered, “They are my gift to you. Haven’t you heard of a white elephant? What do you plan on doing with them?” I got sent to the principal’s office.

Leave a Reply