Schumann Wild Rose

Schumann Wild Rose
Dishes, dishes, dishes........

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Smokey Bear Tablescape

Although the concept of Smokey Bear was born August 9, 1947, the iconic fire surviving bear cub who turned into one of the most recognized symbols in the world wasn't born until Spring of 1950. Most people know that a cub was rescued from a smoldering forest in New Mexico in May of that year and was nursed back to health by a very kind local family (Ray, Ruth, and Judy Bell..) until he was eventually sent to Washington D.C. to live out his days at the National Zoo (he passed away November 10, 1976.) His remains were returned to New Mexico and buried in the Smokey Bear Historical State Park.

Pat and I thought it would be appropriate to set a table in honor of this most important symbol. Fires are burning in several area throughout the state (not just the most televised one in Southern California) and we all need a reminder to be more careful when we travel through the Redwoods (or other woods if you don't live on the North Coast.)
This is a close up of Smokey from the Rudolph Wendelin's 1994 drawing "Trees are wonderful friends."
The color theme of the table was taken from the fire fighting outfits the men (and now women) wore. Called Nomexs (made by Dupont), these life saving fire retardant outfits had green pants and yellow shirts.

The centerpiece was given to Pat's husband in recognition of his more than 45 years of service to the California Division of Forestry (now called CalFire.) It is an exact replica of the Iaqua Lookout located between Bridgeville and Kneeland here in Humboldt County. Most lookouts are now obsolete and no longer manned.
Close up of the Iaqua Lookout

The place setting

First layer of the place setting is a double napkin (one orange and the other "flame") held by a simple black napkin ring

This is actually a bright yellow Sunflower Fiestaware Luncheon plate. Two days ago, we had a record breaking heat wave and lots of sunshine - temperature got to 71 degrees - and of course, now when I want to take pictures, it is overcast. My apologies, but boy, it is much more comfortable.

The yellow Fiestaware tops this avocado coup dinner plate from the Dollar Store

What could be more appropriate than a wooded charger? Pat thought it was the perfect medium for a fire prevention tablescape plate

Pat chose these chunky Noritake "Iron Brown" ceramic flatware because the handles reminded her of trees

Close up of the five piece place setting

The avocado green glassware is called "Starfire Ivy" from Anchor Hocking Glass Company

Simple ironstone mugs are perfect

Pat made these "flame" napkins just for this table

Each one of the guest get a collector Smokey Bear trading card as a favor (and reminder)

This closeup of the Iaqua Lookout shows the fire finder. Down below is the sleeping quarters for the lookout that was manned (or wo-manned) 24 hours a day. These lookouts were located in very, very remote parts of the county.

These small, highly detailed Smokey figurines are from Pat's personal collection. They are made by Lefton China Company from original artwork of the famous Smokey artist, Rudolph Wendelin.

One last look at the table from the other end of the table
Where is came from:
Brown Placemats - a gift from Pat
Wooden Chargers - Cancer's Discovery Shop in Eureka
Green Coupe Dinner Plates - Dollar Store
Yellow Luncheon Plates - Sunflower Fiestaware by Homer Laughlin from Macy's
Yellow Bread and Butter Plates - Sunflower Fiestaware from Replacements
Green Mugs - from our local grocery store
Green Glassware - "Starfire Ivy" by Anchor Hocking Glass Company from Ross
Brown Flatware - "Iron Brown" by Noritake from my personal collection (purchased over 40 years ago)

Pat bought Ralph a Smokey hat so he can join in the celebration

We had many Rudolph Wendelin drawings around the room.

Stuffed Smokey Bear is one of several given to Pat's husband when he retired.
This is just to embarrass Pat. She was recognized for her outstanding volunteer work on fire prevention by the state in 1998.


  1. The two of you have the most fascinating collections! When I was young I saw a Disney show about a young person who manned a fire lookout tower for a summer, and I thought at the time that it would be the greatest job in the world. I just love this tablescape theme, and I wish I could send some of our excessive rain your way to help deal with the fires in your area.

  2. This was such a fun post! I loved learning about Smokey Bear. Congrat on Pat's award. I love how you wove the green, yellow and wood theme throughout the table. We've seen these towers in NM and they were still manned most of the time when we had our cabin there. Now not so much, usually just when it's high fire risk. xo marlis

  3. What an adorable and unique tablescape. This should win a prize. We vacationed in Yellow Stone many summers when I was a child, so Smokey Bear has always been a favorite character to me. Your collection is wonderful, and all the details of this table are perfect for your theme.

  4. This is just so creative! Flame napkins, no less!
    The bears and the look out is amazing!