As an antidote to the frenetic pace of life as a London based freelance Costumier, juggling contracts in TV and Theatre, I want to make time to document some crafts and skills that are becoming eroded by modern life. I want to offset the high tech world of the media, long working hours and a work/life balance that leaves precious little time for hobbies and pastimes by celebrating hand made items, each piece a tangible reminder of the lost value of everyday domestic craft.
It gives me great joy to discover and rescue a piece of work that has been lovingly created, but somehow abandoned to a charity shop, car boot sale or vide grenier.
Quality of work(wo)manship is always satisfying to see, and as each piece is unique, I am equally interested in projects that may not have made the grade due to lack of competence, time or materials.
What strikes me is the concentration and commitment that making these objects demands. In a fast moving, multi-tasking, mass produced, modern world, the therapeutic effect of creating and studying these is enormously rewarding.
The Pansy Dressing Table Cloth
I recently spotted this in the equivalent of a charity shop in a village in the south west of France.
Straight away I was attracted by the well preserved colours and quality of the workmanship on what stylistically was surely created in the 1920’s or 1930’s. The Pansies intrigued me. Would the petals have been individually ombre dyed? I imagined this was a one off piece.
Researching online led me to a page on the Etsy website, home of crafts for sale, and a photo of an identical piece, albeit on a larger scale, on offer as a tray cloth. I am now even more curious – evidently it is a handmade item, however their presence in two separate countries makes me wonder if they could have been produced in quantities. If that is not the case, then are these siblings separated at birth, and if so, surely there must be another member of this potential trio out there? I have contacted the vendor for information…