Friday, 23 January 2015


      Some time ago, I went on a very long, long, journey to Southern France on the trail of some new and exciting stock - my stores were low, but everything seemed rather white, cream and bland and I felt the need to spice it up with the famous reds (rose madder dye) a few blues (indigo) and pretty mixed floral colours on long chateau- type curtains. By travelling to 3 big fairs (I have given up on the little ones which take too much time and diesel to visit) I managed with difficulty to find what I was searching for and in the quantities I needed - but at a price! The Euro makes it difficult to buy anything reasonably and the good stuff is most unreasonable! I was asked 1000 Euros for sets of curtains and didn't think I would have a chance of selling them and making a small profit, so I had to dig deep and accept some things that had small faults. After a lot of preparation, washing ironing, etc., I was  ready to spread my spoils at the the next three fairs.   I joined the  BISLEY VILLAGE HALL nr. Stroud two years ago  and it was an exciting introduction to the amazing colours and weaves and embroideries of the Orient and Africa, shown by the top experts in their respective fields. I have always thought that there was enough history and examples in France for one dealer to cope with, but with new demands by interior designers and decorators for colour and pattern, I feel the need to explore new continents.  Live and learn!   If you look at the top decorating magazines they are full of the exotic East and featuring sumptious decor, and that is what people are buying!   I have no difficulty in refusing the rush of cheap and rather nasty 'bazaar' style stuff, glittery, non-fast dye, shoddy market stuff which is beginning to flood the trade - I knew this would happen many years ago when the import tarrifs were reduced and sure enough it has crept up on us.  It is cheap and plentiful, produced by cheap labour in awful conditions.   Whether it is a good thing to buy, which means that the labour force earns enough to feed their families, is a very difficult thing to decide, but if the result of their labours is something shoddy and gaudy I do not have much trouble in passing it by, and hope the makers upgrade the conditions of labour and standard of workmanship for everyone's benefit..
  The best of the Eastern textiles, the susannis, the 'paisley' patterned magnificent shawls and wall hangings, the colourful striped tent linings, the palampores,  the mezzaras, the cashmeres, the alpaccas. all made from natural fibres and hairs and furs, are a wonderful source of rich beauty and amazing hand craft work and are used by the leading designers and decorators to  provide the colour and interest that their clients demand.   Used in moderation , they provide focal points and exotic interest to any scheme and should be valued and appreciated by us in the West!
A Chinese phoenix bird painted on silk  with modern bamboo frame,curtains repeat the colour mix as does the fairly modern mix on the fabric of the two squab cushion seats

 Famous mezzara design copied in Italy

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