An Old Fashioned Skill

A few weeks ago we went to stay with some good friends who have a lovely little house in Hastings old town. We had never visited Hastings before and we arrived late on the Friday night. It didn’t take me very long at all to decide that I actually want to live there and at some point in my life I fully intend to.

On the Saturday we went to a fantastic eclectic vintage haberdashers shop where I could have happily spent the remainder of the day.

I bought a selection of original French designs probably for silk brocade or jacquard weaves. Each design had been painstakingly painted with gouache onto graph paper and each one is in perfect repeat. The backs of them have the most beautiful hand written notes.

When I was studying textile design at college, we used to hand paint everything like this. It was painstaking work and skilled. If you wanted to see a colourway you had to paint a section of it all over again. If you had mixed a colour and ran out of it you had to mix it exactly again. Now I can put a design into repeat with the few click of my mouse and I can knock up a selection of colourways with even fewer clicks. Progress, I suppose, but it never makes me feel as good as when I used to paint a beautiful paisley or a big fat cabbage rose by hand. That’s why I’ve started to paint furniture again, so that I can mix paint and hold a paint brush in my hand.

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