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Frome Vintage Textiles Market

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I spent most of Saturday morning at a vintage textile market in Frome.  This was a mistake, as it is always a wallet-hoovering occasion when I meet old fabric in a commercial setting.  I spent rather more than I intended to, but there were some lovely pieces on sale.  I didn’t even look at the price tags on the quilts, but there were plenty for sale and quite a few in pretty good condition.  There was also quite a lot of new fabric which I hope the traders weren’t trying to pass off as old.  Vintage seems to mean anything over twenty years old, although most of what was on display in Frome was rather older than that.

I bought the red and white/pink and cream pieces above, as I have fallen in love with red and white quilts, and intend to make something with the old and some new fabric.  The pieces above came from a ‘lucky bag’, which was reasonably priced.  I also bought some specific red pieces:

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This one just looks old, and therefore right to me.  It looks like a lot of reproduction fabric I have seen over the years with those little pin-pricks of black.

This one is all red and very red.  I absolutely loved it, although the trader said it was hard to shift because it was just too red:

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It’s a gorgeously rich colour in the flesh.  The next one was such a glorious print that I  couldn’t resist it, even though it is just a scrap:

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I wonder if it’s from a popular song.  It doesn’t look like Ophelia floating off to her watery end.

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Plus the banana tree in the background would be oddly placed.

This one also has a lovely print:

 

Nearly faded away but just about visible.

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This looks like the edge of a quilt or a valance, but has a wonderful colonialist feel to it.

I also bought prints just because they were pretty like this one:

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and this lovely hyacinth one:

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I have also started to enjoy bark cloth, which I only discovered this year.  It’s a thick cotton fabric, popular in the 1950s with a heavy texture.  It was used a lot for kitchen curtains and such which lingered on into my 1960s childhood.  I used to think they were very ugly, but I think the nostalgia bug has bitten:

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This was a cheap bit bag, but it gives a good idea of the gloriously overblown prints of the time.  I have some other pieces which are much more modernist and ‘cool’, but the sheer liveliness of these bits sang out to me.

I got a large piece of Laura Ashley fabric which I also collect, for a good price:

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Some fabulous falling to pieces embroidery:

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which will come in handy for something somewhere, and some tiny buttons:

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It’s always hard to judge sizes, so here is a terrier to help give scale:

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The terrier also features with this lovely piece of pretend crewel work:

I am ending with a lovely piece of tattered woven silk:

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So, it was a really good day, and there was lots I would have liked to have bought with an endless budget, but I came home pleased with the haul.  I know very little about dating old fabric or where they came from and so on, and I think this is potentially a good thing for me, if not the fabric, as it doesn’t inhibit me from using it, as it would if I knew it were really precious.

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War Collar 4: The Blood Collar

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This is the first collar I made.  I started by thinking that the throat was a vulnerable part of the body with so much blood so near the surface and made the collar in blood red tones.  As I have done more work on the whole area of amulets I have learned that there is an element in many of them of confusing evil spirits or deflecting their attention and getting them to pass on.  So, in a world of violence already being smeared with blood might mean that the aggressor will move on and leave you alone.

That’s the serious stuff.  The lighter stuff is that I love working with red.  It is a richly symbolic colour about danger, blood, sex, sin and so on, but also celebration and life.  I find it an energising and life-enhancing colour.  I also learned early on from studying Kaffe Fassett and his work that to work well with red you need to include lots of shades of it.  They seem to hum together and to vibrate.  Fassett often throws in a bit of lime with his red or turquoise blue, which I didn’t do with this piece.

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I calmed it down a bit with some gentle beige:

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These little rolled beads are made from some mock suede (another luxury furnishing fabric provided by my mother’s friend’s son) printed with transfer paint and then wrapped with some beads.

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There is also some crimson furnishing velvet and little rosettes of thread.

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The centrepiece is a big felt flower which I made but never used for a Christmas wreath.  The cord is a simple plait of the fabrics used in the piece.