Monday, November 17, 2008

Christmas in the Heartland!

I just got back from doing the Heartland Show in Richmond, Indiana. This wonderful country show is known primarily for its summer edition when it fills all of the buildings at the Wayne County Fairgrounds. The November show is still pretty much a well kept secret as the attendance is not near the numbers for the summer, and the vendors utilize only one building. That having been said, it is just as nice a show to do and attend as the summer version. There is much country to see and much of it is very affordable.

I always look forward to seeing customers who I only see at that show, many of whom I've met through my website. I enjoy visiting with them whether or not they make a purchase. There are a few dealers, as well, that I see only when I do that show. We've come to look forward to seeing one another, catching up on our life stories and, often, purchasing some treasure from a booth or two. (And did I purchase several cloth treasures this trip! As a matter of fact, I've purchased quite a few these past few weeks just raring to go on the website on the next update.)

While the show looked fabulous, there were mixed outcomes for the dealers with quite a few not doing any business at all. I didn't do as well as I normally do there, but was surprised that I did better than expected in this terrible recession that our country is going through right now.
As you can see, I "decked my halls" in reds! That's the beauty of decorating with textiles: you can add two red petticoats or a combination of socks and petticoats, dresses, shawls, etc to a pegrack or doorpeg and..voila! you've decorated a room for Christmas without much effort. You can lay a red blanket at the bottom of a bed, or a pair of red socks on a hearth and, once again, the spirit of Christmas has entered the house. One year I even had enough red and white striped children's stockings to do an entire 8 foot tree. What a sight that was.
Many of these items will be offered in my next update of my website, The Cat Lady Antiques, in the beginning of December. If you would like to be added to my mailing list, just click on the link to my site and email me. Or if you have any questions about them now, just ask.
It really is beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Some rare and beautiful early Pennsylvania homespun linen.....

Whenever I do a show, I always bring lots of early Pennsylvania textiles - especially homespun linen. I am always asked if I have any "onionskin" (copperas) and natural in a larger check. I do indeed, and always sell those pieces instantly but I always wonder why people are so obsessed with that particular color scheme for they are (actually) missing out on the rarer colored pieces for their collections such as the ones pictured here. Consider the top piece: true indigo, bittersweet and natural......what a fabulous and breathtaking runner this is! And the color combination is not very easy to
find. The second piece is a sweet chocolate and natural check cut long ago from a bed tick and made into a tablecloth. This piece was found on the oldest farmstead in Bethlehem Township, PA. The third is actually the prize and the earliest: a bittersweet (or copperas) and natural striped bed case from Northampton County, PA. When looms became more sophisticated, stripes were abandoned as checks provided more variety and color for decorating the bed.
I acknowledge that there is a color-scheme that people tend to use in early homes and the onionskin (copperas) pieces fit that decor so well. But I also advise collectors not to overlook truly rare pieces that will enhance one's collection. Adding just a slight bit of color, or a different pattern may actually give one's collection a reinvigorated look as well as make each piece in the pile look a little less like "just a pile" of monochromatic textiles that all start to blend together in the eye of the (untrained) beholder. Don't get me wrong. I absolutely adore that look. I just wanted to call your attention to the fact that there is more in the world of brown homespun linen than just "onionskin" (copperas) to collect and enhance your collection. These pieces are vital to a truly well-rounded collection of Pennsylvania homespun culture.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

It's Blanket Season.......

Consider the lowly blanket........Not quite as impressive in terms of complexity of design or weave as a coverlet, but nonetheless important in the history of early bedding.