Thursday, 21 April 2011

HomeThoughts from abroad

As we leave the scenes of the big 'deballage' (literally, the lorry off-loading) fairs of France, we usually have a post mortem review and think how we can do better next time.  Getting there at the crack of 8 o'clock is essential if you want to see the best before someone else snatches it up - a good torch and big zip bag are both useful - the textiles are often spread on the floors of the big aerodrome hangars.   When there are 7 or 8 further hangars to explore, in no kind of order, the hunt is a bit of blind man's buff combined with luck and two pairs of sharp eyes now wide open!  The sellers are casual and inclined to give that famous Gallic shrug of the shoulders if you point out the damage, stains and other faults.  But if you hold it up to the light and check the condition and make a fair offer, they will often accept as they know that French buyers are unlikely to go for their stock and you may be their only interested customer as well as a pro.   The difficulty is to find the really special pieces and they are scarce and very expensive.  I bought a lovely striiped oxen coat (used to keep the flies off the cattle) and an unused horse blanket in a splendid checked ticking with leather straps. but both were too expensive!  I did hit on a lovely lot of checked linen kelsches (the handwoven covers for feather beds in Alsace Lorraine) which are excellent for sturdy seat covers, curtains and cushions for rustic rooms, kitchen benches, pine furniture and cottage curtains - I found them still in their carrier bags under a trestle table and was glad I had poked around and got them into the light, and bought a big stack for my new Talent for Textile fairs.  A good search can be more rewarding than a hectic dash round just skimming the top layers of the stalls.


  1. Happy Easter! Love the image! Also a great giveaway which ends on tuesday x

  2. Any chance of a picture of the kelsches?