Artist Don Moyer is not the first to reinterpret the classic China Willow pattern on porcelain. Sweden’s Nille Svensson did it a few years back, Olly Moss designed some especially video gamers and Maxine Ansiau turned them into sculpture.
Calamityware Series 2 & 3
The fact that Moyer is not the first to alter Willowware this does not take away from the charm of his collection. Don began his Calamityware in 2011 with his first series (now sold out) when he inherited a traditional, Willow-pattern plate and decided to redraw it and add the excitement of a pterodactyl.
Urged on by friends and fans, he began a kickstarter project to fund the whimsical, but practical, collection of plates.
Calamityware Series 2 and 3
After great success with his Calamityware Series 1, he know offers Calamityware Series 2 and 3, which vary from the first series in both the imagery and the production. While the first series – which featured flying monkeys, a giant robot, a voracious sea monster and a UFO invasion – used an on-glaze technique, series 2 and 3, produced with the help of the Kristoff workshop, use an in-glaze technique (more on that further down in the post). Small plates, soup bowls and mugs have been introduced to the collection as well.
The 10.5″ diameter porcelain plates, 8.75″ diameter soup bowls, 8.25″ diameter salad/dessert plates and 12-ounce mugs are food safe, microwave safe, and dishwasher safe. The Calamityware designs are not identical. They have different borders, different images, and even slightly different blues because the plates were produced on different continents at different times.
His present kickstarter project (ending in about 2 weeks) introduces two more plates – both shown below, #11 Zombie Poodles and #12 Pterodactyl to the third series.
The Series 2 – includes  Pirates:
and  Vortex:
The Series 3 – includes  Too Many Frogs:
 Jogging Sasquatch:
 Zombie Poodles:
and  Pterodactyl:
Calamityware Small Plates With Ants:
Calamityware Soup Bowls With Flies:
Calamityware Mugs: Things Could Be Worse (Set of 4):
About the Plate Glazes
Calamityware Series 1 (On-Glaze) vs. Series 2 /3 (In-Glaze)
(text from Don Moyer):
All future Calamityware plates and tableware are going to be produced at the award-winning Kristoff porcelain workshop in Poland. This change will allow a shift from on-glaze to in-glaze production. As good as the Series 1 plates were, these new plates will be slightly better.
What’s the difference? The first four Calamityware plates designs were applied on top of the final porcelain glaze—know as on-glaze. You can easily feel the blue vitreous inks standing proud on the surface of these plates.
The Kristoff workshop uses an in-glaze technique. The blue image is fired at a higher temperate to allow the design to more smoothly integrate into the surface of the plate. Casual observers won’t see a difference, but connoisseurs will appreciate the beauty of the in-glaze technique which the artists at Kristoff have been refining since 1831. This is the look of porcelain plates you see in museums. Sweet.
About the artist (taken from his site):
Don Moyer has practiced professionally as a graphic designer for 40 years with clients, deadlines, and budgets. At the same time, he has always been a big fan of sell-initiated projects with no client, no deadline, and no budget. Moyer frequently kicks off projects with the sole purpose of exploring to discover what’s possible.
In 2008, Moyer recognized he had been neglecting drawing and rededicated himself to doing more sketches, doodles, and drawings for the pure fun of it. He began to fill sketchbooks by drawing daily. Themes included alphabets, faces, snack vans, things on pedestals, and other fanciful themes. He posts many of his sketches to the image-sharing website, Flickr.
“The drawings I like best make me laugh.” says Moyer. “It is very gratifying to start with a blank sheet of paper and to add some marks to that surface in just the right way to produce a laugh. It’s a miracle that happens suddenly. Unfortunately, for me it usually happens suddenly after months of work, failures, and missed attempts. I wish it didn’t take me so long.”
“The Calamityware series started in 2011 when I inherited a traditional, Willow-pattern plate and decided to redraw it and add the excitement of a pterodactyl. People urged me to find a way to reproduce my plate drawings on porcelain and the first in a series of successful Kickstarter projects was born. I’ve been delighted that so many people want to share their homes with Calamityware. These plates take a design pattern with a 300-year history in a new direction. My goal is to make an object that is practical, beautiful, and funny. A wicked combination.”
Moyer is a graduate of the Philadelphia College of Art (now the University of the Arts) and Yale University. Founder of communications planning and design firm, ThoughtForm Inc., Moyer has participated in projects for Caterpillar, IBM, Highmark, Humana, McDonald’s, Steelcase, Westinghouse, but not the CIA. Wrote and designed monthly column, Panel Discussion, for Harvard Business Review for six years. Cambridge Marketing Review (a quarterly) is republishing the original HBR essays and illustrations. Recipient of The Silver Star Alumni Award from the University of the Arts, 2006. Selected as an AIGA Fellow in 2008. Moyer lives in Pittsburgh with The Amazing Karen.
all images courtesy of the artist