Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Collections With Stories

Collections With Stories

There have been collections I’ve had and am sorry to say I broke up or have not kept as I moved from house to house. But I have not been interested in collections for their monetary value, rather for their decorative or sentimental value.  These are some that I still have.


I’ve had passions when it comes to writers and I have to buy everything they’ve written. This began as a early teenager when I started reading Dickens and Jane Austen. My ‘best friend’ and I would cycle into the English countryside, find a nice quite field then settle down to read in the summer sun, until time to cycle home. I later moved on to adore C.S.Lewis, Morris West and Fay Weldon. Of course there were others I dipped into but I have collections of these writers that I’ve take with me from England to Australia. 


I have loved crockery over the years and now have too much of it but I’d find it hard to part with any of it. I love setting a table, and use different sets of crockery for different occasions. I used to collect ‘brown ware’ often in old colonial designs. I have these on my dresser and as the old plates now are cream and brown they go well with my best set of crockery.

Old plates look good hung like pictures on the walls. This is what we have done with an old set of plates we had in Lemnos. In the kitchen I’ve used these plates on the canopy over the stove, using the design to decorate the canopy.
In my Australian kitchen I’ve hung some other old plates. These are four flower painted Wemyss Ware, a type of Scottish pottery.
I read that Scotland’s pottery industry was very prolific in the 19C and were produced specifically to export to Britain’s colonies and the article says that to this day, South Africa, Australia and Canada are teeming with jam pots, mixing bowls and tea services of Scottish origin. But Wemyss Wear was made between 1882 and 1930 by a pottery in Kirkcaldy, Fife. My three plates are unfortunately chipped but they have lovely hand painted colors that match the floral cushions.


And I love adding works of embroidery to pictures on my walls. In our Greek house we have pieces worked by Takis Grandmother and aunt, by my aunt and me.
In Australia I have a tree of life worked by ‘anon’. But I do believe it was by a man who once lived near the holiday home we once owned. I bought it at a local fire brigade fund raising event and was told a Mr ‘?’ had made it. Again, like my father’s cushion, it must have filled the evening hours.
I also have two ‘bell pulls’. In fact they have never been bell pulls but I did not know what to do with some wonderful cigarette cards collected by my mother. I had about forty floral cards, with covers telling the stories of flowers, and each flower colorfully and carefully (machine) embroidered.
Kensitas woven silk flowers, issued by Wix, were given away free inside each packet of Kensitas Cigarettes in the 1930's. Each Kensitas woven silk flower came with its own descriptive, and protective cover.

Three sizes of the Kensitas woven silk flowers were issued - the packet of ten cigarettes contained one of the small size Kensitas silks - the twenty pack one of the medium size Kensitas Silks, and one postcard size Kensitas Silk was given with the tins of 50 cigarettes, and two postcard silks with the tins of 100 cigarettes.


Cushions have stories too. In Lemnos I have two cross-stitched cushions made by my mother and father, an evening occupation during the early day of their marriage and the early days of the war. I was a baby when he died, so maybe it was something they could do when there was no TV and the towns were blacked out at night.

In Australia I had a difficult job finding cushions for the two leather sofa’s Takis bought. They are not a easy colour to combine with other colors. At first I ordered some knitted cushions of multiple browns. They are very soft and very comfortable behind your back when watching TV, but weren’t quite right.

Then I found a set that just toned in well, and even matched the throw over I’d crocheted some time ago. (A pattern in an American magazine that I began in England and finished in Australia. Due to differences in wools, or my bad maths, the ‘throw’ ended up ‘blanket’ size!


And in each of our homes we have displayed photos. In a way these too are collections. But they are very personal and I’m sure will not be valued by anyone outside the family, and maybe not even by them as I’ve noticed our children are less interested in Grandparents and Great Grandparents than we are. But that is what decorating ones house is about. It is a bower birds ‘nest’. It is where you settle at night, surrounded by your memories. It is your comfort zone. It may be a pleasant place for others but most of all you create it for yourselves.

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