Sunday, November 09, 1997
Fellow Belleekers !! (lettre # 1.6)
I must apologize to all of you Belleekers out there
for being so lax in getting out another newslettre
especially since the GREAT U.K. Convention was like
a month and a half ago !! But I'm determined to get
this published TONITE !!
Another apology is due not only to the Columbia Chapter
but especially to Mr. Bill McNicholas who provided those
of us in attendance at the GALA Columbia dinner/meeting
August 2nd with some splendid entertainment !! Bill is
a fabulous tenor (I believe) and provided us all with a
wonderful rendition of O'Danny Boy along with several
other of his favourites !! Thanks again Bill !!
I just found out that another of Bill's favourites
was Mother McCree (sp) !!
** ON TO THE CONVENTION !!
WOW !! WOW !! WOW !! WOW !! **
To say the least, this was a magnificent convention,
from the planning to the speakers to the food and
entertainment as well as the individuals' displays
and dealers offering a wonderful assortment of Belleek
for sale !!
Well, where to start ?? As I'm REALLY into food this is
as good as any !! Try a continental breakfast that has
a spread consisting of 3 or 4 types of fruit, several
cheeses at least 5 cold cereals as well as 3 or 4 fruit
juices as well as several varieties of sweetrolls !!
And that's just the cold selections !! Then you go on
to at least two types of potatoes as well as two selections
of eggs !! Add to this at least two selections from bacon
ham and sausage and finish it off with a bowl of porridge
and some sides of fried tomatoes and mushrooms !! NICE
The luncheons and dinners were EQUALLY impressive !! I
personally am STILL radically into at least two styles of
potatoes with EVERY meal !! I think it's GREAT !!
Following each of the catered dinners, the U.K. Group had
lined up superb entertainment to wrap up the evenings !!
We were introduced to a variety of regaling including
one gentleman whom I would best describe as an antique
appraiser comic ?? Several of the nites included some
traditional Irish folk song and dance !! The final nite
of the convention we entertained ourselves somewhat by
having a 'dress-up' ball !! Not in the common sense, but
to dine as a piece of Belleek !! I won't say more on this
subject other than I did win a splendid Belleek umbrella !!
Some of us arrived a day or two early and for that 14
of us were invited over to the Lord Mayor's chambers
for afternoon tea and a tour !! The Lord Mayor of
Stoke on Trent and his lovely wife, the Lord Mayoress
(I believe) were both on hand to open the convention
officially at the first hosted dinner !! Hopefully
some of your members in attendance had a chance to
clip off some pictures of his chambers as they are
truly a museum !!
The second day of the convention had the conventioneers
dividing into 6 groups for tours of the local potteries
at Stoke on Trent !! I myself visited the Wedgwood
Pottery and the Gladstone Pottery which is, I believe,
the LAST surviving example of 'bottle kilns' !!
Unfortunately, these are no longer in use but the tour
was dynamite !!
As, I believe, the U.K. Group JUST might be a wee bit
more into tea than we yanks are, the display of their
individual teasets was just a bit more than magnificent !!
There were complete teasets of just about every design
that Belleek produced including, as I recall, either a
complete or very near so, Finner Tea Set !! I REALLY
like the Finner !!
But, the teasets only distracted somewhat from the fine
figurals as well as some splendid individual serving
pieces and a fine collection of earthenware, including,
and I loved them, many telegraph insulators !! Speaking
of which, when we were on the mini tour of Ireland and
stopped for the day at the pottery, several, to remain
unnamed individuals and I scoured the Belleek garbage
pile and came away with some spectacular finds ?? At
least we thought so !!
The dealers keep their area open from morning to nite
the length of the convention and there was plenty of
selection for all !! Although, another anonymous chap
came up with what I believe to be the best find. It
was discouvered on the mini tour in a remote shop and
is a REALLY fantastic oval flatrod basket !! NOTE :
In checking the spelling of 'anonymous', I found another
rather interesting word only two pages in front of it
in my dictionary !! The word is 'Anglophobia' and
means : Hatred or dread of English land or English
customs, people, manners or institutions. Fortunately,
I DON'T think ANY of us suffered from this rather dread
Of course, our fearless leader Angela and husband in tow
were with us and I won't even take the time required to
explain how they came to us thru Switzerland !! And of
course we can't forget the lovely presence of our current
Society Honouree, Ms. Katherine S. Gaertner. She planted
a dogwood tree, that of her home state Virginia while in
Ireland and also presented the U.K. Group a beautifully
hand made quilt honouring the convention !! I would have
to say that she is definitely an exceptional representative
of the Belleek Society !! Congratulations Katherine !!
All in all, the about 300 of us had a fantastic time !!
I KNOW I did as this was my first visit to England since
I was a lad and the following mini tour of Ireland was
a first as in 3 plus years in Europe, I had never made it
across the channel to Ireland !!
Following the convention, about 75 of us diehards took off
to Ireland for a mini tour. We flew into Belfast via
Jersey European airlines, the airlines for very small
children and the wee people !! In your mind, imagine
trying to seat 6 (yes six) people across a fuselage
that's barely 6 feet wide itself !! Luckily, it was
only about a 45 minute flight.
One of the sights I found fascinating in Belfast was
across from the, I believe, city council chambers I
noticed an old store by the name of Robinson and
Cleaver !! For those of you who are unaware of them,
they used to be like the major distributor of Belleek
in Ireland although they now seem to be more like a
Sears or Bay store ?? In any case, you will find some
Belleek items marked with their name !! The mark looks
very similar to a second period mark with the Co.
Fermanagh ribbon being replaced with Robinson and
Cleaver and just beneath the ribbon is the word
Ireland !! A lucky couple on our tour actually found
a cup and saucer (Neptune I believe) in a shop in
Lisbellaw I also believe !!
In any case, the tour was marvelous with stops, in of
course, Belleek for a tour of the pottery, Donagal and
Enniskillan to name but a few. Two items of particular
interest to myself was just how our 55 foot long buses
were so skillfully maneuvered around the exceedingly
narrow streets or lanes as we might call them !! The
second item of interest to me were the 'round-a-bouts'
which are like circular driveways at major intersections
where oncoming traffic flows freely into the round-a-
bout and then veers off at the proper time to
effectively either cross the intersection straight
away or make a proper left or right hand turn !!
The ONLY drawback to these is since there are NO stop
lights, pedestrians must fend for their own lives by
entering the same traffic flow to manage a simple
street crossing !! VERY risky but you eventually get
good at it !!
** UPCOMING EVENTS : **
The Second Annual Belleek Collector's Fair will again
be held in Portland, OR(egon) due to the success of
last years event !! Our hosts will again be the
Harlan's (Ben and Lori). Date of the fair is currently
scheduled for October 17, 1998 and additional
information can be found in my future newslettres,
on the Belleek website at email@example.com or
direct from the organizers at :
613 - 10th. Avenue,
Kirkland, WA 98033
telephone : 1 (425) 828-4247
or E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org !!
** FROM YOUR EDITOR : **
The following is an (exact) quote from a piece of
E-mail I received October 22, 1997. I was fascinated
by it and thus felt it should be passed on to all !!
THANKS Eileen !!
I read with interest your article in the Belleek
Newsletter and your reference to penguins. I thought
you might be interested to know that the word penguin
derives from two Welsh words PEN (meaning head) and
GWYN (meaning white). Evidently Welsh immigrants to
South America first named them and the word passed
into the English language.
BYLAWS : I discussed with several of the chapter
officers at the convention the importance of Chapter
Bylaws. I know several chapters out there (and you
know who you are) have not as yet ratified your bylaws !!
PLEASE contact me ASAP and I will provide you with a
copy of the BCIS 'boilerplate' bylaws and together we
will work thru them !! This is a requirement for
recognition by the BCIS and is really just a simple
blueprint for the chapter officers and members to
conduct the chapter affairs although plenty of leeway
is provided for each chapters individuality !!
CONVOLVULUS : Thanks to Lady Marion's magnificent
book and her painstaking investigation and diligent
research, I now have a much better insite of the word
'convolvulus' !! On your examining the lower right-
hand picture on page 125 of her original works you will
notice a beautifully decorated ring-handled cup and
saucer in the 'convolvulus' decoration. It was this
pattern that I always referred to as the 'Rose and
Morning Glory' and that I enclosed a picture of in my
lettre 1.5 !! At the convention I was lucky to acquire
another 5 1/4" plate of a similar pattern that I will
attach to this newslettre !! Upon arriving home, I
compared the two plates and there is a distinct
difference in the major flower bunch !! The first
(from lettre 1.5) is definitely a Convolvulus or
Morning Glory as shown on the Tea Saucer on page 125.
The second though (included here and seen on the Tea
Cup) appears to be that of a Zinnia !! Would anyone
of our botanists out there care to reflect on this ??
I would more than welcome any opinions and also has
anyone seen or better yet have any other flowered
decoration of a similar nature ??
In referring to my Reader's Digest Great Encyclopedic
Dictionary the definition of Convolvulus : Any of a
genus (Convolvulus) of twining herbs with large, showy,
trumpet-shaped flowers: also called bindweed, corn lily.
Now, if we reference Alfred Byrd Graf's Exotic Plant
Manual (generally regarded by the plant industry as
the Bible) we find Convolvulus (Convolvulaceae):
(tricolor : Sicily and Spain to North Africa), "Dwarf
morning glory"; branching annual somewhat trailing but
only 6 to 8 inches high and 2 feet wide, with obovate
leaves and clustered showy, funnel-shapped flowers to
2 inches or more across, azure-blue with yellow throat
and white tube, opening on nice days in the morning and
closing in late afternoon; blooming most prolific from
June to September. Color variations are all-white,
vivid rose, lavender, blue and violet. Striking little
pot plants for the bright window or for hanging baskets.
Needs sun and warmth, and blooms best when kept on dry
side. Nick the tough seed coats with a knife. (in
reference to propagation !!)
Continuing on with Mr. Graf, and referencing just
'Morning Glory' we find that IPOMOEA (the 'family'
Convolvulaceae): the "Morning-Glories" are mostly
annual or perennial herbs more or less of climbing of
twining nature, beloved for their large and showy
funnel-shaped flowers with 5-angled border and which
generally open in the morning and fade in the
afternoon, but are quickly followed by others,
blooming almost continuously where the sunlight is
bright enough; they relish fresh air and moderate
moisture, but not wet feet. Container-grown ipomoeas
are best trained against support of trelis or wire and
they grow very rapidly and rank, and can quickly
enhance a sunporch or roofgarden. Their seeds are
very hard and should be notched with a file, or soaked
in warm water for several hours before sowing.
From the above, we can easily see why these vines are
a favorite to grow, as Lady Marion reflects, wildly
amongst the Irish hedges !!
For those of you fortunate enough to possess Belleek's
Convolvulus Basket, you will see a beautiful rendition
of these flowers encircling its rim !! WOW, I didn't
believe the Convolulus had this history !! I learn
something new !!
Del E. Domke, Belleek Consultant
16142 N.E. 15th. Street
Bellevue, WA 98008-2711
Telephone : 1 (425) 746-6363
Message : 1 (425) 746-6363
FAX : 1 (425) 746-6363
E-mail : email@example.com
Web-site : The Beauty and Romance of Irish Belleek (or) :