HOWEVER BUSY AMSTERDAM GOT on a sunny weekend during our stay, we had the Delftware shops to ourselves; empty blue-and-white sanctuaries from outside's bustling tourism. We visited four different shops, from a centrally-located Royal Delft gift shop, to independent boutiques along the Canal Ring, the last of which I purchased some earrings and a figurine from.
Being fond of the Delftware aesthetic, I was surprised to find little tourist interest in the Dutch craft. Dating back as early as 1512, Delftware or Delft pottery takes its name from the city of Delft in the Netherlands, and is characterized by blue and white painted motifs and tin-glazing.
Traditionally limited to tiles and household items, Delftware today has a much wider range, including jewelry, children's items, seasonal decor and various merchandise printed with patterns of blue and white. Doing away with tin-glazing, today's Delftware products are considered far more inferior and far less inspired than their earlier counterparts. On the upside, the less expensive production heightens their accessibility for a non-collecting majority.
Re-energizing the distinct blue and white style attributed to Delftware, Toronto-based artist Douglas Walker has, since 2005, painted scenes and subjects in just ultramarine and white. With a focus on brushwork and meticulously formulated paint consistencies, Walker's work shows that the craft can be art. His, unfortunately, you won't find in a Delftware shop.
Paintings by Douglas Walker, www.douglaswalker.ca