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Plate design puts a witty twist on tradition

By Mary Beth Breckenridge Published: February 25, 2014

Call it skew willow.

Pittsburgh artist Don Moyer has tweaked traditional blue willow dinnerware to add a witty twist: a robot rising in the background, apparently ready to stomp pastoral China.

Run!

The design is subtle and funny, a potential surprise for your dinner guests. It’s the second in Moyer’s Calamityware series, which incorporates disastrous elements into traditional blue willow designs.

Moyer said he got the idea after inheriting a blue willow plate, which he thought was a little boring. “What it needed was a dinosaur,” he said.

Doesn’t everyone think that?

Moyer started drawing blue willow designs with calamitous elements like volcanoes and UFOs, and posting his creations on Flickr. His drawings got so popular that fans suggested he turn them into real plates.

He sold his first – a design featuring flying monkeys – via a Kickstarter campaign in November. A second campaign features the robot design and ends Saturday.

You can order one of his porcelain plates for a pledge of $25 or more, or sets of plates for bigger pledges. He said he intends to continue rolling out new designs on Kickstarter about every 90 days, “until nobody wants them anymore or I can’t stand it anymore.”

You can eat off his plates or hang them on the wall. “But don’t do both,” he says in a video on the Kickstarter site. “Messy.”

The 10¾-inch-diameter porcelain plates are produced by Bryan China Co. in New Castle, Pa. They’re food safe, microwave safe and dishwasher safe.

But not robot safe.

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