Tuesday, July 02, 2013

coffee break

At 10:pm??  Yep.  Since I finally have a day where I don't have to get up early, I have just made a cup of coffee that I hope will help me stay up for a while.

Textile Heaven (or Hell) - however you define it
For several days I have been sorting through the stuff I brought home from my mother's apartment - it just goes on and on and on.  I cried over love notes my parents wrote to each other before they were married and laughed at a wonderful photo of my father in a false nose, moustache and glasses at my brother's wedding.  I am wondering what to do with the numerous albums of my first wedding, which I certainly don't need. I have my own -- and now have my parents' and grandparents' duplicates. My children may/may not want them for a variety of reasons.

Then there are the textiles I have rescued and don't know what to do with.
Linen dishtowels in virgin condition from 1963-1971 -- and yes, I have more of them in my own closet.  What possessed us to collect them?  And now what??

 Hankies from the 1940's and 50s.  Who uses them any more?  They are beautiful, fine cotton and they all need to be washed.  There are probably collectors of vintage handkerchiefs but I'm not sure the effort of selling them on ebay is worth the work.

 Silk handkerchiefs: the yellow one, a souvenir from the S.S. Nassau when my parents took a cruise. The one on he left, hand-painted silk with lace edging.  And the one on the right can only be from the ship my mother took to Europe at age 8, when she went to stay in Poland for a year to cure her asthma. What to do with these?
And a huge pile of my Nanny's beautifully embroidered tablecloths. I have a ton of them myself.  My mother used to send them out to the laundry with a "do not use bleach" sign on them.  They came back clean and ironed, for very little money in the 1950's and 60's.  God only knows what they cost to send out nowadays.  I have a bunch I have washed and thought I was going to iron. Uh - no time.  This goes on and on and on.

Cleaning the Studio
I stopped at the studio for five minutes late this morning to pick up a dust mask and some gloves to take on my trip.  Four hours later, I was finally on my way home. I had not been there since April, when I printed the last of the scarves for my class reunion and the place was worse than disaster: it was just plain disgusting.  I washed out containers, completely cleaned off the print table and put down new, white PFD cotton.

I cleared the cutting/ironing table and put down a clean sheet  I folded up all the silk yardage I didn't even remember that I had and put it into a bin, and threw all my unfinished scarves into another bin.  I unearthed some printed cloth that I will take with me as class samples; I vacuumed, and I threw out three bags of trash. Took home a load of sheets and canvas table cover that needed to be washed.

Did not take a photo but I will do so tomorrow when I go back for a few more hours.  A third table, loaded with Thermofax screens, dyes, and other STUFF, needs to be cleaned off and all of that put away somewhere (but where??)  I have drawers full of things I print with - some in triplicate and quadruplicate. I can't bear it - I shall have to throw out the excess and like Noah, get down to two of everything.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. I think when I go back tomorrow I will take my iPad with me.  I bought a bluetooth keyboard for it and it makes all the difference.Almost feels like a real computer -- except that I know Blogger will give me grief when i try to post photos.

We shall see what develops.  Right now, the coffee has done its job: kept me awake long enough to write this and worn off enough so I can fall into bed.


Julie Shackleton said...

Hello Rayna, I love your blog and love your work. That vintage textile thing eh? In the UK vintage is huge. People are cutting up old table clothes left right and centre. I buy them and hoard them so they can't be chopped up. I'm sure you'll think of something to do with them. Those tea towels are kind of funky. A beach towel perhaps?? Have a good day.

Julie said...

I've been where you are Rayna with sorting out both my mum's house when she went into a care home and a 99 year old friend's house after she died. I too have many vintage linens that I keep promising myself I will make into a big memory quilt one day, soon, pretty lace edged hankies that may go into the same quilt and old t-towels. Add to that suitcases of old photos and equally touching letters from my grandad who I never knew to my nan and from my stepdad to my mum. I have sorted some and some wait after 2 years to be looked through properly. A lot has gone to thrift shops and some to friends to be recycled into their artwork. Some will go into my own artwork. I have felt overwhelmed by the task and the decisions and frustrated that I couldn't keep more. I don't have any answers for you just empathy.

On a lighter note I am on the point of completing my first free-form quilt based on your book and have had a great time putting it all together and shuffling it round my design board. It is going into Festival of Quilts here in the UK this summer and I'm looking forward to seeing it hanging there. Thank you for your great books and the inspiration. I can't wait to play some more :)

Candy said...

Bundle up the vintage and give it away to someone following your blog or use them in a collage or give them to your kids. It's a hard job - good luck. We are looking forward to seeing you at our guild in St. Louis in September. Candy

Judy Sall Fiber Art said...

Therapy strips for the calendars? I have a box with many hankies I have kept over the years from a Grandma... even dyed one to use in a piece of wall art last year. But I think there are still people out there who collect such things. I'm with you, though... wouldn't want to bother with trying to sell on-line. Some day, mine will probably go to a collectible store, along with a collection of costume jewelry I will never use, and some antique items I have had for ages that could use a new home! Best of luck finding appropriate homes for all of these items... it's really hard!

Linda Hicks said...

Oh what a luxurious posting. I love all those things. Please take a couple of those hankies and a friend to see Unfinished Song with Redford (formerly A Song for Marion in UK but now in US under title of Unfinished Song). Joe and I laughed and laughed to tears...what a show and two hankies might not be enough. Get a lot of friends to go!

Marybeth said...

All this is too much cleaning/sorting and not enough creative work, but it has to be done. I have put out a plea for old hankies for our 2014 Tea and Table Settings (it will be our 2nd annual)event for our little Homesteader Museum in Powell WY. I want to make little 'tussie mussies' with a hankie in each as table favors. The theme this year is "Hats, Heels and Handbags" and our little boutique will be "The Accessories Dept". If you or any readers want to donate hankies or lace/ribbon bits and pieces I will pay postage. I can be contacted at marybeth@wir.net. BTW hankies take dye really well and are fun to reuse in quilts/wallhangings. Keep having fun with the memories!!

Eva said...

Hi, as others said before: I'm sure that some vintage lovers would go hysterical abot these fabrics and items. And my first idea was to bundle them in matching groups. I guess it will be successful to offer them in Etsy. This is less complicated than to sell them in ebay.

Windy Hill Happenings said...

Rayna...I went through the same thing with my mom and her beautiful vintage, often stained tablecloths, collector towels and of course hankies...every lady from that generation had to have an elaborate hankie. I could never part with them and not worth selling, but I now use them as backings on quilts...I make small pieces and the tablecloths, towels and even hankies pieced together serve me well, preserving a little bit of family history and paying homage to those I love.

Sue Erdreich said...

I bet this woman would love to buy some of your vintage stuff, and she's local (I think near Lamberville):


Her name is Dana and she's usually a vendor at all the local quilt shows.

Linda Branch Dunn said...

Rayna, I so know what you mean. I brought home quantities of silk clothing from my mom's - unworn, beautiful. Couldn't cut into them. Gradually gave everything away.

Still wondering what to do with all the photos.

If the hankies need a home, I would adopt them: for daily use and for art.

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