in the recipe swapping sort of way. There are plenty of
sources for cooking The Bird.
instead, on the icon itself, celebrated in a variety of
decorative interpretations, from plates to salt &
pepper shakers, tablecloths, cocktail napkins and even
decorating options have ramped up in recent years, with
less kitsch and more elevated, sophisticated design.
so many elements of design today, many of the turkey
images have been enhanced because of digital printing,
which enables more colors and faithful renderings in
bold graphics or painterly techniques . The artisanal
touch — the feeling of something hand drawn or painted
— is coveted and convincingly expressed. That’s true
on dinner and serveware as well as textiles. This year’s
gobblers come in pale or bright autumnal hues, even tone
on tone in relief on earthenware.
some of the more beautiful turkey plates you’ll find
are vintage, most of these a product of a technique
called transferware. Some are Currier & Ives-ish,
produced from engravings on copper plate that then are
inked and transferred on tissue to the stoneware. Many
are in earth tones, some further enhanced with hand
panting or tinting that brings life and lends an accent
color to draw from for tablecloths or accessories.
turkey was the centerpiece of a circa 1930s transferware
plate by Barker Brothers. Though predominantly
chocolate, the scalloped plate was bordered with a
hand-painted harvest of fruits and vegetables in orange,
red, green and purple. Another well-known pattern of
turkey front and center appeared in the 1950s pattern of
Staffordshire china from the Johnstone Bros. Both of
these patterns as well as others often turn up for sale
on vintage websites like Etsy.
the 1990s, Spode introduced its Woodland collection, an
ode to English hunting motifs featuring intricately
detailed game birds including turkeys, quail and
pheasants in earthy hues, with a floral border inspired
by British flowers dating to 1831. This über popular
classic collection appears almost perennially in holiday
tabletop magazine spreads.
the table for Thanksgiving may be filled with family
traditions, as at any special holiday dinner. Along with
the typical fall fare of cornucopias, gourds, candy
corn, leaves, fresh fruit and perhaps a figural turkey
or two, there might be inherited dishes from your
grandmother that evoke happy memories.
the current tabletop trends for layering and mixing it
up, here are some suggestions for adding to your own
favorites — whether you favor modern and tailored or a
Consider one or a pair of figural turkeys on the table
or sideboard. Wisteria’s autumn turkeys are colorful,
lifelike, handmade of grass, branches and real leaves.
If you’ve succumbed to design tryptophan when it comes
to turkeys, an all-white pattern in relief might be a
pleasant wakeup call, easily blending with the neutrals
you may already own. One design at Crate and Barrel by
illustrator Elvis Swift is a loopy turkey drawing of
continuous lines, hand carved into molds that make a
playful impression on earthenware.
Purchase a set of salad plates or a platter imprinted
with a turkey design; at Pottery Barn, some actually are
inspired by fresco-like in-house paintings. Neither a
huge investment nor too much of a good thing.
Fancy frosted cookies in pumpkin or turkey shapes on a
melamine plate for kids — what’s not to love? Have a
little fun with a fancifully dapper turkey rocking on a
cool pilgrim hat and sporting bright orange feathers; it’s
a design on melamine by Jane Dixon at Crate and Barrel.
The same pattern also is available on cocktail napkins.
Add a smile to the face of your junior pumpkin pie baker
with an apron that you’ll be thankful helps keep
clothing clean. One with a bold felt appliqued turkey at
Williams-Sonoma looks like something your child might
have crafted out of construction paper cutouts.
Elevate the serveware. One standout, a footed aluminum
holder finished in antique bronze from Pottery Barn
features a turkey nestling a porcelain bowl in its
feathers, a perfect landing spot for that green bean
Give your guests something more to cluck about: decorate
a sofa or chair with an embroidered throw pillow from
Pier I Imports that features one classy bird dressed
with blingy sequins and beads.