Antique textiles for everyday life: a manifesto.
Ok, so calling it a manifesto is probably a bit much. It's more like...recurring thoughts that, as an antique lover, dealer and collector, I am finding I stick by in my own choices. The main one being simply that antique textiles are for everyday life, and not for sitting pretty in a drawer. Too many of us lock away these treasures for various reasons: to use on special days only, for fear of getting them damaged, to store them for future generations. I am here to tell you not to, and why...
Made from truly organic, all-natural fibres (usually hemp, linen and cotton), their composition bares no affinity with the intensely farmed and chemically-treated crops of today - and you can tell at first touch. These pieces are naturally strong, yet gentle on sensitive skin .
In addition to the exceptional materials, antique items for the home were made by expert hands who spent time, sometimes months, on each piece and infused them with love and care. Pillowcases to bathroom towels, these were often made to be part of a personal marriage 'corredo' (hence the monograms). These young women were pouring time, attention and care into every piece as they daydreamed of their future, and created lasting beauty in the process.
These items have reached us from the past in perfect condition - in the case of some the antiques I handpick for this shop, we're talking late 1800s - early 1900s. That's over 120 years! (Quick question: do you think a Primark tea towel would last five years? Somehow I doubt it.) They have already proven to us that they are hardy and resistant, and therefore they are more than ready to live a second life in the contemporary every day (in fact, my guess is they've been held up in trousseaus for so long, they can't wait to! :)
Please, don't be shy around them. Don't lock these antique pieces away in a drawer for use at some indefinite point in the future. They were always MEANT to be used and enjoyed in everyday life. Trust me - they will last for future generations whether you use them or not.
So, let's try something. From today, dry your dishes with the antique embroidered tea towel and dream that you're in your own French farmhouse. Sleep on the exquisitely embroidered pillowcase and feel like a Victorian heroine. Reach for the floral bathroom towel after your shower and enjoy the luxurious threads. These pieces won't let you down, and day by day you will discover the fantastic properties of their organic fabrics, particularly on sensitive skin.
And all of the above is before we even go into how much joy the will bring you when you look at them, the talking point they will be with visitors to your home, and how special they will make you feel knowing that - just like you - they are thoroughly unique.