Sunday, November 05, 2006

Hidden treasure

The studio is almost unpacked (although much remains on the ping pong table, waiting for me to choose its final resting place). I decided to see if I could consolidate the contents of two battered boxes into a single newer one, and look what I discovered at the bottom of one of those boxes.

These are all silk. I've been looking for the center blue one since the last time I moved six years ago. I'd bought it when my mother-in-law took me to the Gunne Sax outlet in San Francisco 15 years or more ago. It was destined to become a dress, but obviously that never happened. Instead, I found myself contemplating using it for jacket lining as I purchased some screen-printed panels and black silk in a booth at an AQS show in 2001. But do you think I could find it once I got home? I knew exactly which box it was in, yet it wasn't there. I tried other boxes, a footlocker; I'd given it up for lost, sure I'd exhausted all the possible hiding places for it. Apparently, I did not look in this particular box, or if I did, didn't dig deep enough. Labeled "Handkerchiefs/old clothes" I can see why I might not have bothered. I must have done some re-organizing prior to that move and failed to relabel the boxes, thus out-smarting myself.

The other silks are leftovers from yardage that did make it into clothing, with enough to spare for something else. Didn't get far on that either, did I? But the fact that I had other plans for them explains why they were squirreled away separately from the smaller silk leftovers I've kept more available.

At the very bottom of the pile was this bag. Mmm, what could be in here?

Well, obviously fabric I planned to make into a blouse. Neatly wrapped no less.

And here it is - not one, but two pieces of silk! It is vaguely coming back to me now (which tells you how long I've had these if the memory is only vague). Gala Fabrics is a store I discovered in Victoria, B.C. in the late 1980's. It was run by an older Chinese gentleman who was a tailor in Hong Kong before immigrating to Victoria. He carried more silk than I'd ever seen in one place, and was very helpful as I tried to decide what to buy and how much to get. I remember being surprised that he mostly carried Italian silks, not Chinese silks. On subsequent visits to Victoria, I always stopped in to pick up a piece or two. These, I'm sure, are from my last visit - probably in 1992. I couldn't resist checking to see if the store is still there and sure enough it is. And wouldn't you know, they're now carrying cottons "suitable for quilting and crafting" as well as their signature silks. Go here to learn the history and current status of this family business now in its third generation of operation.

So does any of this old silk qualify as vintage yet? And what shall I do with it now?

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