Monday, December 21, 2015

Wrapped in luxury

Wear a fur as if it is cloth, and cloth as if it were fur.

Paisley shawl, detail. ca. 1860.
It's an old saying that I have always loved as it speaks to how a woman wears a coat. She wears the coat. The coat does not wear her. 

I have no opposition to fur coats, but I've never wanted one. Perhaps if I lived in a very cold climate, I'd feel differently. But I don't.

This gives me far more latitude (If I had a fur coat, I'd feel obliged to wear it at every opportunity) and allows me the luxury of wearing my personal treasures more often. 

To me, there is little more satisfying than wearing a spectacularly beautiful textile. I appreciate hand crafted textiles, like the poncho from the women's co-op in Inga Pirca, Ecuador where they raise and shear the sheep, spin the wool, weave the fabric and make the garment. Also from Cuenca, Ecuador, I have an irate poncho. There is a beautiful embroidered jacket from Guatemala and a scarf from Japan dyed with cherry blossoms, to name but a few. They are my treasures.

Paisley shawl, ca. 1860.

A spectacular paisley shawl

One particular treasure is my antique paisley shawl. While living in London, I had deeply admired the antique paisley shawls in markets and developed a real love of them in their many forms. Small and large squares and rectangles. I loved them all. But I never bought one. They were very dear.

After returning to the States, we saw a particularly beautiful and pristine shawl at an antique fair. Secretly M. purchased the shawl and gave it to me for Christmas. He also crafted a lovely cedar box in which to store it.

My wool shawl is large--72 inches square--and woven of very fine wool. Sometimes I wonder whether it was purchased here in the U.S. or brought in a trunk. Where was it worn? and what could she tell me? These--and other  stories--are all unseen yet woven into the shawl.

I absolutely love my shawl and wear it whenever the occasion and the weather permits. And when I wear it, I feel special. And why shouldn't I? I'm wrapped in luxury. 

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