Inside a French textile flea market
So I wanted to share these earlier but between a sick little boy who is off school and photographing some of the treasures I found at the weekend - I have delayed posting about my treasure truffling excursion at the weekend - so without further ado. I do apologise in advance for the not so spectacular photographs, there was the most hideous spot lighting that turned everything a weird shade of green that combined with me having my hands full of ribbon and silk bobbins!
I'm often asked where I source my antique textiles and the answer is pretty straightforward. Firstly I am incredibly fortunate to be married to a famous silk family, the Faure family of St. Etienne and over the years I've managed to source within the family several echantillon books. Some of my finds were forgotten in beautiful wooden boxes in nooks under stairs, others stashed away in nondescript dusty old cardboard boxes, I even discovered some 1860s silk samples in a rusty military box under a childrens bed in a cabin in the woods of the family home. A lot of my favourite gems were found scrunched up in bin bags with only the vague glint of fil d'or giving away their potential for greatness.
As my collecting turned to hoarding turned to obsessive desire for everything antique and textile I extended my search to include local vide greniers, the summer brocante fairs and most recently textile flea markets.
At the weekend I drove 3 hours from Lacoste into the heart of the Rhone region, silk and passementerie country in search of ribbons and silks. My logic being, this is silk territory therefore I will find LOTS of silk and trims. I was not at all disappointed but really surprised that only one or two stands had passementerie and a lot of others were focussed on crafts, buttons (non antique), knitting and fabrics (new not old). I was delighted to talk to these women (and a few husbands brought along for the heavy lifting / toilet breaks), fellow textile addicts and makers.
My favourite moment was when I connected with a lovely older lady, and through my not perfect french we laughed over how we both loved the smell of old fabrics as we ironed them out after salvaging them from dirty bin bags. Forty or so years seperated us but we both shared that love for silk and old treasures.
This lady was my favourite seller - she had an amazing eye - that or we both have really similiar tastes. Once she sensed my keen interest (putting it midly) for everything she had chosen that day - she started taking things out from boxes hidden under the stand. She would unfold linens and explain to me their specific use, an incredible square of embroidered and monogrammed linen which was used for covering the pillows (not a pillow case but one to hide your other pillows), or a beautiful embroidered sheet that would be put on the bed of a new mother for when visitors would come to the home to see the new baby. She was so giving of her knowledge - I spent about an hour just admiring everything she had in her stand.