Home linen and embroidery is so much a part of our lives and over the years I have developed a special affection for fine linen and delicate embroidery patterns. Definitely to use and not just to stack them up for some special occasions which do come but we end up not using them again for the fear of damaging them.
Before I move ahead, the whole idea about writing on this topic is to make ourselves aware of the artisans, craftsmen and promote traditional skills. Generally women have a natural inclination towards such fields related with art and craft but at the same time I feel that we must thank our wonderful mothers for introducing us to fine embroideries and linen as no woman remains untouched by the delicate art which ultimately forms a part of decorating our homes.
Stacking up the armoires with anything we find on shop shelves or a collection made up with a conscious effort , the choice can surely define the decor of the place. If the linen is maintained well, I bet they last long for years. Our linens used at home shouldn’t be starched as it hardens the cloth resulting in wear and tears in the fabric generally on portions where it is folded and creased.
What makes linen a collectible? Of course, good fabric but alongside comes embellishments, delicate lace work or fine embroideries with some wonderful color combinations. India has its own heritage of fabrics and local embroideries which end up in our homes as bed-covers, other utilities or tapestry on the wall. But again a conscious effort while buying new products always helps as it compliments the decor that is already in place.
Often we resist using them especially the whites but I don’t think it should be a problem if they are taken proper care of. Do an overhaul of your linen at least twice a year. Use a good stain remover and bleach the whites. Clean the racks where you store them and make sure they don’t attract moisture. The more number of times they are used, the better it is. Covering them with dust covers always proves to be beneficial.
Rinse washed linen well so detergents are not left behind. Iron linen when they are slightly wet. Donate once in a while and stack them in a neat manner. I am sure your linen cupboard will be a delight for you.
Throughout my growing years I would meet up women who were very much connoisseurs of fine linen, embroidery and other workmanship from around the world and somewhere it stayed with me forever. Due to this, while travelling I have few hours dedicated totally towards exploring old lanes and markets of the cities or small towns. This very liking dragged me to a shop called Little Queen Embroidery in Kochi, where the workers are primarily widows.
I had accidentally visited this shop some 12 years ago and bought few stuff which unfortunately was not available now. Still the shopkeeper was delighted to share the visit of Charles, Prince of Wales and his wife Camilla Parker, in 2013 and a towel, embroidered in Portuguese-French style with their names written, was gifted to the royal guests.
Lot of these art works are dying because the young members of the particular societies do not show interest as they are paid very less.
But somewhere even we as customers are to be blamed…why?? Because we don’t show interest in products that otherwise are labeled expensive by us or we find them hard to maintain. But this seems to be a wrong approach as hand-made or embroidered products will always make the decor look rich, much more eco – friendly and no one can doubt the delicacy they offer. First step towards promoting these goods would be to educate ourselves or might as well sit with our moms or for that matter our grandmothers and find a little more about them :))
Much love and happy decorating… :))