Saturday, 25 June 2011


The Stables Auditorium, American Museum
    We are all getting rather excited about the forthcoming Talent for Textile Fair at the American Museum (Sept 1st Thursday) although it is two months away.  They have had record attendance this  year with people visiting the new education complex (where we will have our Fair), and the fabulous exhibition of Marilyn Munroe's 20 dresses.  You may have heard on the Box that one of her most famous dresses sold the other day for £2million.   To get free invitations for yourself and all passengers in your car, apply by Email to .        I have had the pleasure of being able to invite many well-known and intrepid traveller-dealers who source the stuff directly from far away places and have really interesting stories to tell you about their provenance.  There will be over 35 so there will be a huge choice of things to see and buy and I think we should have a memorable day.    There is an excellent coffee shop by the main Museum, with light lunches,cookies and cake (all home-made by Inez and her team), and there are many other things to see - the Museum itself, the special US theme gardens and arboretum. the bonnet shop, the log cabin, etc., etc.,  so you could make it a special all -day visit!  Good facilities for handicapped visitors, toilets and parking.  Please, don't leave application to the last minute, as I hold the invitations and will be both abroad and then very busy just before the great date! Without an invitation you pay full entrance charges.

The Coach House, American Museum


Saturday, 18 June 2011


   Ten years ago, I bought a load of Kelsches from Alsace Loraine, thinking that the weaves were interesting and very folklorique .  Nearly all were unused, hand-woven with lovely texture, with the family initials on them and rarely, pearl buttons or the handmade linen buttons referred to in  BLOG re Dorset buttons (FOR DORSET READ GERMANY and BUTTONY).  There was no great interest in my finds and I consigned them to the back of my store, out of sight and mind.
   Today I cleared the store out, ready for next week's big clearance sale here in Bradford on Avon, at the Church Hall, July 1st.2nd Fri.Sat., and found three neglected Kelsches hiding there.   A few weeks ago I advertised some newly acquired ones (I cannot resist them!) and they flew out to keen buyers see BLOG  - CHECK IT OUT and KELSCHES IN QUANTITY, now all sold out!

Cotton check Kelsch  4'7 X 5'5"

Pair of Trad. damask weave Kelsches initials C.P.
So now I have a few more for anyone disappointed and scans below show them in detail - both lots in perfect, unused condition.  The fabric makes lovely cushions and seats for antique chairs and benches and I have seen them used very effectively as kitchen curtains, they are very sturdy and washable (40o).  The double pair are in a very traditional rustic damask weave that I have seen in table cloths, runners and  napkins and has a very strong twill weave background, and are lined in calico - the other is double-sided, so lots more yardage and in a strong cotton.   The pair are £140 and the single £55 plus postage.  Alsace Loraine is a very prosperous area with a fine tradition of textiles and weaving not to mention a lot of wine growing.  They also have coalmines and steel works.
Historically there is still a strong German influence and I think it comes out in their designs, and they have a little girl figure called Hansi in their very traditional costume with a strange black hat, who is often depicted on ribbons, table cloths, china etc., all highly collectable.
      I was so interested to read some more info. on Kelsches in a very good article in "Selvedge" magazine today - I didn't know that they only used red and blue and natural white linen and hemp and the name Kelsch was a corruption of the word Kolnisch Blau after the town of Cologne where woad was produced near the river Rhine.  A Monsieur Gander has done a lot to revive the weaving of Kelsches; his family of weavers go back to the 17th.  Century in Alsace . see

Friday, 17 June 2011



Special: A huge choice of Welsh quilts, blankets, picnic rugs from Jen Jones (the world expert!).                  A new exhibitor; who will show wonderful, smart tailored clothes made in China.  (Martin Conlan.)
Two new exhibitors showing good quality vintage clothing and accessories.  There is still time (just!) to apply for the invitation which is necessary for the Fair at Bradford and also for the Fair at the American Museum.  Apply by Email to

Church House
Stable and Coach house Exhibition Halls A.M.Museum
AMERICAN MUSEUM, CLAVERTON, BATH, BA2 7BD on Thursday, Sept.1st.  Grand                  opening fair in the new beautiful estate buildings.   As well as our big Fair, (over 35 exhibitors all selling quality textiles), there is the main Museum and the stunning display of Marilyn Munroe's 20 dresses, all free, if you apply to me for invitations.   More info and pictures on later Blog  WILL YOU BE THERE?  

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Old Stuff and Nonsense photo of lustre plates

St. Amand lustre plate traded for rags
  Buying stuff and linens in France was once easy and very cheap, it really was like a wonderful treasure hunt, and we came home laden in our old Volvo (first cousin to Linda Clift's old  trusty steed, Frieda,)with the roof rack and roof box crammed full,  sitting on old sheets, with more round our feet.! After the last war, the farms and large bourgeois houses passed on to the next generation and they no longer wished to use and store the traditional household linens. So the great armoires, sometimes 6 or 7 in a special store room, were sold to antique dealers who converted them into rich panelling  - but the contents of household linens and other stores,  were often burnt as being worthless,  just old grandma's relics of no value or use.Cotton, nylon and polycotton sheets were cheap, like blankets, and much less work, so the old feather beds, which were by then dusty and dirty, were discarded. They were often collected by the Algerians (pied noir) who came to work in the fields and vineyards. They took them to the local re-cycle depots and exchanged them for china and household goods.  This trade had an odd name which I have now forgotten and I have some of the china which was very pretty porcelain, with crescent moon in silver lustre and pretty pink and blue daisy flowers, all marked with the St.Amand factory mark. The feathers were saleable but the covers went to the rag merchants and were sold for cleaning machinery in factories - tough and strong, they were ideal, but oh dear! what a waste of wonderful stuff!  I think I sold about 2000 of the tickings over three years to all the top decorators/designers you have ever heard of - they had never seen such wonderful colour combinations, and they were something new and original to offer their clients and they could charge whatever they liked for them.  You will find many more Blogs about tickings - I still like them so very much! - and I was nick-named Mrs. Ticking by many dealers.

Sunday, 12 June 2011


A patchwork cushion - all tickings

A galaxy of glorious red tickings - my archive of over 130 different colourways
   This patchwork cushion was made about ten years ago by a clever French lady who was keen on tickings - like me!  She was hard pressed for money with two young children and absent father and used to sell the complete pieces to me, but some were so damaged and worn that she saved all the good bits and cut them into small triangles and squares, using the stripes in different directions.  You will notice, if you have ever 'pieced' something similar, that the design is not completely symetrical and is all the more lively for that.  It is entirely machine sewn and many of the small pieces were joined in long strips before being matched up to their neighbours.  To me, this is a charming example of economical, and also very inspired, work, which will add some zing to any room and will wear for ages, always looking good.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011


   I was at our latest TforT Fair at Poundbury, nr. Dorchester, in the Pummery Square Hall, today, this was equipped with a lift and every convenience and good parking, and was a very splendid version of a traditional market hall with open spaces and pillars below and rooms above for large events such as ours.  The whole building was filled with every kind of textile and  from every period.   One of the most interesting stands was Martin Conlan's with a kaliedoscope of Chinese garments adapted to British fashion.  We have seen people queueing up at two previous fairs round his clothes rails, and have persuaded him to bring his large and attractive stock to both the fair here at Bradford and to the American Museum. You will be surprised at the designs, and the incredibly good value of properly tailored ladies wear. 
  While there I met an old friend and we talked at length about Dorset buttons (she is quite an expert) and I was able to tell her that I had recently bought a good quantity of the extremely rare high-top buttons, actually made in Germany by a firm called Adler, printed on the cards.   See my Blog FOR DORSET READ GERMANY.    My friend suggested that these were made in areas that were very skilled in lace-making.
   Then we discussed laundry wheezes for removing stains and agreed that moonshine on a frosty night was even better than sunshine for bleaching linen and removing stains; and then she mentioned Winter Hedges, I'd never heard it before - it was the nickname for the so called Shiela Maid ceiling airers made of metal brackets with wooden slats through them for drying and airing laundry in a kitchen or scullery.  I am so old fashioned I actually have two, one in my laundry passage room and one in the garage - all in frequent use and dripping with French linens;  I don't like tumble dryers, they take a lot of lint out of the clothes, and are not good for linen and hemp.  Known colloquially as 'winteredges' dropping the h, there is a reference to them in an 18th c. inventory of the stately home, Harewood House in Yorkshire.

Thursday, 2 June 2011


A beautiful Welsh  Quilt from Jen Jones who will be exhibiting and selling with us at the Fair at Bradford on Avon, July 1st.2nd. and also at the American Museum on Sept 1st.
You need an invitation card for both these fairs so please apply Email to E.Baer  at     Talent for Textiles, our informal textile fairs organisation, has done its best to cover most of the South West, though Cornwall seems a stitch too far at present.  I have been asked to hold similar textile fairs in a client's old barn near Guildford and I regularly get complaints from the North that there is nothing like ours going on there.   There is nothing to stop anyone getting on with a scheme - ours started 20 years ago with an evening run by three dealers in a room lent for the evening by an antique dealer.   It cost us nothing and the visitors came by invitation and from that simple beginning we have now built up a mailing list of over 1600 names - they are invited every year and all get into our fairs free of charge.  The rents from the stallholders pay for the venue and all of them are still with us for every fair.   The caterers take away a reasonable profit  and I think everyone is rather happy!