Friday, April 30, 2021

Lace and Life...

Before the latest lockdown, I managed to go to the Europuces - a (previously) monthly open-market fleamarket, exhibiting a large amount of antiques, odd curios, old-fangled objects and what is frequently referred to as 'vintage'. As much as I would like to acquire more beautiful things in my life, I have finally come to the realisation that even, or especially, as a maximalist, I just do not have the space and simply cannot justify taking possession of any more 'stuff', however tantalising it may be.
And yet this mass of temptation is often just too much to resist and I always end up telling myself that I need the latest mesmerizing object under scrutiny, to act as a talisman against the ugliness of so many aspects of modern life. As I can't argue against that reasoning, I tend to come away with something small but ultimately 'necessary'. Nevertheless, when the artifact in question later catches my eye in my home space, I rarely regret the decision.
Meandering around the alleys and stands, I came across a stall with an impressive display of old linen and lace. The range and the quality of all the items laid out were amazing, and yet the stallowner was selling these off incredibly cheaply, explaining that the pubic simply refuses to buy unless at give-away prices, and that demand for "that kind of thing" was limited today. Looking at the intricate lace work on offer,and thinking how someone must have toiled over this for many hours, for it to be finally sold off for almost nothing, I felt duty-bound to take a few of the pieces. What a strange time we live in - little is made to last, to be treasured and handed down. What passes for an object of desire today invariably leaves me indifferent, at best, and at worst, feels like an affront to all my aesthetic sensitivities... My eyes!!! So all in all, I was pleased with my purchase of the delicate lace, to fight away twenty-first century unsightliness. After all, when do we ever see lace these days? Here is my grandmother on her wedding day, wearing a lace veil that would have been a much-coveted item back in the 1920s... Probably wouldn't be able to give it away today!


  1. I like the idea of being a maximalist! That is a beautiful piece of lace and I’m sure it will bring you joy every time you look at it. Your grandmother’s veil is very impressive too. I have a similar photograph of my grandparents’ wedding in 1931 and my granny is wearing a lace head band but no veil. And just like in yours the couple look serious. I wonder when smiling for photographs began.

  2. I couldn't be a minimalist, even with the greatest effort!
    I don't know if it's actually true in my grandmother's case, but apparently young people would often be given full tooth extraction and their first set of dentures as a 21st birthday present or wedding gift around the 1920s. Would that have encouraged people to smile or not, I wonder?
    Apparently this was not a happy marriage so maybe the wedding day was a taste of things to come. I only have one memory of the man who was my grandfather - being rightly or wrongly told off for noisy behaviour - whereas I have countless precious memories of time spent with my grandmother. In a way, I feel sad about that because when he died, everything he was (or wasn't) disappeared too and so nothing of him lives on and so he really is dead in every possible sense, having never really invested in his family. I wonder how much of that is a generational issue too...
    Hope you are having fun with that lovely puppy!!! x


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