Sunday, 16 August 2009

A Gratuitous Sunday Treat

This isn't entirely unrelated to textiles, as the costume is obviously meticulously researched for the Napoleonic period, just look at those tassels! But to be honest, I am just making feeble excuses, I just like this photo of Sean Bean as Richard Sharpe, so thought I would share it with all you lovely ladies as a Sunday afternoon treat... Sigh...

Thursday, 13 August 2009

A pretty little antique Normandy Lace baby's patchwork coverlet

I came across this pretty little patchwork lace coverlet a while ago, and using the wonderful internet site lacefairy found out that it is a piece of Normandy lace, a type of lace from northern France made in the early 20th century from pieces of lace and embroidery patched together. Normandy lace was usually made from little treasured pieces, often salvaged from damaged items, in order to give them a new life! What a beautiful and brilliant idea, so eco friendly!

This one has been made from a mixture of early whitework embroidery dating to the late 1700s - early 1800s, Victorian chemical lace and machine laces, some 19th century Valenciennes lace, prettily darned net and more. The little panel has been stitched onto a fleece-filled pink silk panel, with one end shaped to look like a turned-over top sheet, so I assume it was intended to be a coverlet for a baby's or doll's crib, as it is very small.

I can always find so much inspiration from the past, especially where textiles are concerned, nothing was ever wasted, if it could be re-used, it was, an ethos we could well learn from in our 'throw away' culture.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Interesting bits and bobs, antique curtain rings & haberdashery

I am currently sorting through my boxes of antique and vintage haberdashery, as the collection is rapidly getting out of control... I discovered a wealth of different antique French brass curtain rings, they both look and feel like pirates treasure! I had completely forgotten about a bag filled with early French bakerlite hunting buttons with dogs, boars, deer etc in relief on the fronts. I found a large bundle of deep green vintage French embroidery cotton, and have split the bundle into individual skeins to sell in my ebay shop. Chya came and joined me half way through taking these photos, he loves to get involved with whatever is going on!

I think I will sell quite a lot of haberdashery over the next few weeks, I need to make room for more, as I have a few large buying trips coming up in the next few weeks! I love being in the textile business, it gives me permission to shop till I drop for textiles several times a year. Textile heaven...

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Patchwork Paradise - scrips & scraps of printed cottons from Breton Peasant Dresses

One of my favourite French dealers has tastes very similar to mine, and when she mentioned she had a bundle of French peasant scraps that I may like, my reply was: Yes Please!!!
She has been saving up these scrips & scraps of fabric for a while now with the intention of using them to repair peasant dresses that she often comes across on her travels, but has finally realised she doesn't have the time for this worthy activity. Most date to around 1930, some later, some earlier, and are of various weights, some wool, most cotton, all printed in stripes, spots, florals and geometric patterms, at once simple, yet elegant. I am told it all comes from Brittany, and was used to make cheap and cheerful, but hardwearing peasant clothing and some household textiles in the Breton region of France. How contemporary the patterns look! I think these pieces would be a quilters paradise, all of the patterns and shades are beautifully sympathetic.

I have photographed a selection of the wonderful scraps, a detail of a very faded peasant skirt from my collection, the backing of a hand embroidered rug from the region, also from my collection, and some wonderful images found courtesy of Google. Please click on each photo to see the detail.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Out of Sight is Out of Mind - Treasure Re-discovered

I have a constant struggle keeping my studio organised, as my ability to accumulate textiles far outweighs my willingness to part with them... I also work from home, and I live in quite a small flat, so often have to find ingenious ways to 'stash' items that I don't want to either sell or display straight away. I was trying to turn chaos into order - which usually ends having completely the opposite affect - when I re-discovered this enormous old painted antique French canvas rolled up and hidden away behind a screen in my studio. I bought it from a French dealer a few years ago at a car boot sale on the spur of the moment. I was only just beginning to find and appreciate antique French textiles and treasures, and couldn't resist it, a snip at £15.00 or $25.00. It was too large to get on the bus home, so I had to call on my brother in law to give me a lift, and it only just fitted in his car! Once I got it home, I had an "Oh god, what have I bought now" kind of moment, and tucked it away, as 'out of sight is out of mind'. It has remained out of sight ever since.

I am not sure how old it is, maybe 1920s or so, and heavily painted in golds, bronzes, browns etc, a landscape scene in a roccoco style, I think, a really inspirational piece, despite the fact that it is substantially damaged, the green under-painting used to enhance the top coat of gold is showing through across the whole panel, but I don't mind, it is full of character, so it now has pride of place on my studio wall - and will be able to appreciate its inspiring beauty on a daily basis - it offsets all the piles of textiles beautifully, somehow the studio doesn't look quite so disorganised with this on the wall.

I was told it was a chateau painting, to decorate a large wall, as apparently was common to do, with simple un-framed canvases, but a friend of mine felt it could be the backdrop to a stage set, but the static figures of the man and woman make me doubt it. what ever it was intended for, I am really pleased it made its way to me!