Monday, 14 October 2013


  I have always had a special liking for hemp ever since I discovered the handsome working shirt/smocks of the peasants in France and the quilted backings of valuable toile pelmets and bed hangings.  I not only like the very varied textures of hand-weaving, but also the pale natural shades of the cloth that are never duplicated.  I have learned that hemp was the most favoured crop for poor families because it grew like a weed and needed no chemicals or fertilisers to grow well - very different from linen and especially, cotton, which suffers many pollutants in the growing and preparation of the threads.  I have always recommended hemp for curtains as it is softer than linen and hangs in very beautiful folds, it is sturdy enough for valances and for soft furnishing chairs or sofas, provided a firm and closely woven piece is used.  Normally the hemp is found in the old 19c. handwoven sheets and I have sold many hundreds to decorators and private buyers.  Having always insisted on the whitest of white linen, the American decorators finally grasped the beauty of rustic and coarse weaves in 'stone' shades a few years ago,  and with this extra demand the market has almost run dry.
   However it is very good to know that at last the fashion houses have realised the charm of hemp, now often mixed with cotton, or occasionally linen, and I show two examples that came as 'junk mail' to me from  poetry   and they remind me very much of the fine handwork on the old French work-shirts.  It is considered extremely healthy for babies and bed-ridden people as any moisture in the bedding is 'wicked away' to the centre of the fibres and the sleeper stays dry.    Maybe it will be for the sportswear of the future? Scroll sideways for the .full view.  I have no connection with the fashion house Poetry but rather like their stuff!

No comments:

Post a Comment