Monday, 16 January 2012
WITHIN THE FRINGE
Passementerie is one of the glories of French vintage decoration, whether it is the finishing touch on a cushion, the leading edge of fine curtains, the final trim on silken lampshades or round the hem of the easy chairs known as 'crapauds'. The variety seems unending, the colour range immense and the ingenuity and skill of the workers making these intricate designs is amazing! Once upon a time you could buy them, so much per card, in long lengths, left-overs from decorating jobs done by the seamstresses and sold by the boxful,- now, you sometimes find the odd length all priced per yard and not much discount for the whole card! so it has all become very expensive. Similarly the tie-backs for curtains with their plaited silk cords, tassels and fringes, rare and rich, go for over £80 each and if you have 3 windows in your best room, this is quite an addition to all the other costs of dressing a big window in vintage style. Most of this work is still done in France, Spain and Italy, but there are a couple of English firms that can copy and and supply these quality decorations. I was surprised to see that one of them of long standing, Brian Turner, is based in Sawbridgeworth, nr. Bishops Stortford, where I used to live a long time ago when I had not discovered the fascinating world of old textiles. I could have been a nuisance and watched them make this highly skilled and intricate stuff!