Working with vintage textiles is such an adventure for me. Many times I come across a piece of vintage embroidery and I remember the year which it was created because it was similar to a piece I stitched way back when. It brings back for me the time spent calming down from a very stressful world, only to be in the moment of creating stitches and designs.
Then too, I am drawn to patterns and colors in fabrics. Bright pink with delicate little flowers reminds me of the 1970’s calicos (here we call the print “calico”). Vintage mauves and dark blues remind me of Gunne Sax dresses. Indian prints remind me of the backless dresses I made. And then I come across something that brings me back even further.
A lovely hanky in pink and black. This brings me back to two people, a woman known as Auntie Joyce and another woman known as Aunt Fabiola. Auntie Joyce lived in an old 1940’s bungalow north of Los Angeles. She had pink Fiesta dinnerware that sat in a cabinet with glass doors. I remember staring at that for hours; looking at the curved edges of the plates, the shadows of the rings outlining the edge, and observing the neoclassic handles on the cups. She wasn’t a true aunt, but a lifelong friend of my mother’s and told me to call her Auntie Joyce when I was insistent on being polite and calling her Mrs. S—–.
But moreso in this memory, I remember Aunt Fabiola. We visited Aunt Fabiola just once; I’m not sure if she was a true aunt or another friend of my mother’s and why we visited her the one time, I’ll never know. Aunt Fabiola lived in a ranch home, somewhere near Los Angeles. What I remember most about this one visit was Aunt Fabiola’s back yard. A cinder block slab in back of the house, in full sun. A metal table and four chairs sat in the middle of this slab.
Now I’m sure this wouldn’t be of any significance, but Aunt Fabiola had an obsession with pink and black. And the metal table had black legs with a pink marbled top, which had a large decal in the form of a swan in the center; in black silhouette. Then her chairs, the metal round back 1950’s style we are starting to see a revival of, were also in pink and had the same black swan decal on the back.
Inside the house the bathroom was (you guessed it!) pink and black. Pink ceramic tile on the walls, with a black tile border at the top. And the trash can (why this is so vivid to me, I don’t know), was pink with the same black swan silhouette on the front.
So it was with great pleasure that I made four hanky sachets out of the pink and black vintage hanky (which I’m certain is from the late 1940’s or early 1950’s). Every time I look at them, I think of Aunt Fabiola.