Ode to linen

Oh linen.

One of the items that’s frequently on sale at the aforementioned vide-greniers is antique linen. As the value of this is well known, and the lighter weights are difficult to find, the prices may be higher than the rest of the must-go-now fare. But it’s well worth it. Not only can it be re-fashioned into clothes, pillow covers, curtains or whatever else it inspires, but it can also, most importantly, simply be appreciated for the stuff that it is. Nothing—nothing—is quite like it.

Six years ago, I made curtains for the kitchen windows and to cover the kitchen appliances out of an old table-cloth I’d found at Arcy-sur-Cure. The open-work border is beautiful, and I was able to maintain it in the new pieces. I am honored to have the handiwork of a countrywoman whose story I will never know hanging there for me to see, a daily testament to the desire to bring simple beauty into the functionality of the everyday.

The texture of the cloth is poetic and honest. Unbleached, flawed. Its weave evident and uneven. It speaks of years and years past, and yet it endures with an Olympian freshness and sturdiness uncommon to other fabrics. And then there is the weight of it: real heft. Nothing to be ignored or over-looked. It calls no particular attention to itself, and yet it asserts its beautiful right to exist.

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7 Responses to Ode to linen

  1. sbaird says:

    working on window treatments for our home, and long to do something with some of the antique linens that we have, we resorted to some ikea in the meantime, but you have inspired me. and i thank you for that.

  2. will it suit your house? or is your house going to have a more modern slant to it? I can’t wait to see pictures.

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  5. bagnidilucca says:

    One of the first jobs I did in our house in Italy was to hand embroider white linen curtains for the bedroom. It took me about 2 months, working in the evening while watching DVDs. The ceilings in the bedoom are very high and the curtains quite long. They look beautiful moving in the breeze.

  6. dayphoto says:

    I’m starting at the beginning of your blog, so I can ‘see’ Italy and France and enjoy each step of the way!


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