Move over, Mikasa. This long overdue update to dinnerware is not your mother's fine china pattern.
It's called Calamityware, and it's the creation of retired graphic designer and writer Don Moyer.
On the surface, Moyer's Calamityware plates look like many other styles of Blue Willow-style china. The Willow pattern has been a traditional design in fine housewares since the 18th century. This popular style, depicting intricate blue and white designs, was inspired by the porcelain dishes imported to England from China.
But take a closer look at Calamityware's Willow pattern and you begin to see a different picture. In one, a fleet of UFO's invade a serene pagoda scene. In another, it's a swarm of flying monkeys, or a menacing giant robot.
After retirement, Moyer decided to play around with the design of a Willow-patterned family heirloom he and his wife had hanging on the wall. "I thought it was funny to mock the traditional design by adding drama," he said in an interview with Mashable. Moyer shared his designs on Flickr and before long, his fans begged for him to put the plates into production.
Using Kickstarter, Moyer launched Calamityware Plate 1: Flying Monkeys
Moyer is now on his fifth Calamityware Kickstarter campaign with a design called "Pirates discombobulate tranquility of traditional blue dinner plate." (That's it in the top picture.)
Moyer's designs can also be found on blue bandanas (that Moyer calls BADbandanas.)
Why bandanas? “When [my wife] Karen and I were first married, we started collecting blue bandanas because they were cheap art,” he explains in an interview with Yahoo! Makers. “We thought there might be a dozen different designs and it could be fun to find and frame them all. It turns out there are a gazillion designs – we have hundreds.”
Moyer decided to take a stab at putting his own designs on a bandana. As you might expect, the BADbandana designs look conventional at first, but upon closer inspection you are rewarded in one design with monsters and creatures arranged in symmetrical paisley patterns, and in the other with pixelated, old-school video game villains.
The success of Moyer's designs and Kickstarter campaigns — one of which surpassed its goal by 600 percent to rake in over $100,000 — makes Moyer happy.
But in the end he is just glad to draw designs that make him laugh, and to share those laughs with others.
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