Possessing Beauty – The Collection

The Write on Wednesday Spark:  Possessing Beauty
Write about a collection. Write about something you or ,someone you know, collects. Think about the “why” behind the collection – why is it important to collect this particular thing? How does it make the person feel to add another piece to their collection? Is the group of objects there to be seen, to be studied or simply kept together? Write a real life story or a piece of fiction. Wherever the prompt takes you…Keep your post on the short side: up to 500 words OR a 5 minute stream of consciousness exercise. Link your finished piece to the list and begin popping by the other links. Oh, and enjoy!

The linky will be open each week from Monday to Friday. If you are playing the game, try to visit the other linkers, at least three of four would be nice. Encourage, critique and support your fellow writers.

Write on Wednesday is hosted by – inkpaperpen blogspot


My fingers run across the fabric, reading the texture as if it’s Braille. The delicate, fragile appearance hadn’t prepared me for the ridges of hand-cut lace and the stitched thread weaving its way across the plain linen. A cloth that has spread across tables of meals and conversations; protected, adorned and then forgotten. Folded away in a drawer or boxed in a cellar until finally released.

The cloth, with its secrets, its yellowing age spots, is piled with layers of other people’s lives, other families’ stories like the books on the table next to it. And why choose this one and not the one under it or the one that covered it. Often I don’t really know. Perhaps the design of the embroidery, or the texture of the fabric whispers to me in a way the others do not. Maybe it reminds me of a cloth that belonged to one of my grandmothers or my mother. But whatever the reason, this is the one that I need to take home. To carefully launder, clean of the fusty antique shop smell that clings to its fibres.

But it isn’t always old material that I take home to my bower. Fabric shops lure me in with the same siren call. I buy lengths of fabric for the beauty of the design and colour and then wonder what I might do with them.The irony for a lover of textiles, a hunter/gatherer of cloth, is that I’m not a great seamstress. Although I’m always optimistic that my basic ability will flourish into a yet to be revealed talent.

Some pieces I frame, so instead of decorating tables or worn as a scarf, they on my walls. A Japanese handkerchief, traditional Lao embroidered collars, a silk wrap from an Art Gallery. Fabrics too delicate to wear. Fabrics that I want to look at, dream and reminisce with.

I don’t know why I’m so drawn to textiles. Could it be that I hanker for a time of substance, when materials were kept and treasured, not made from disposable fabric with the intention of being used once only. Is it from peering into cupboards as a child and searching out my favourite doilies, tablecloths and linen hand towels to use at my grandmothers’? I don’t really know, other than it’s a way of bringing beauty, colour, and design into my life. Of mixing the old with the contemporary. An expression of my personality and the incredible satisfaction and happiness of finding an object beauty.

9 thoughts on “Possessing Beauty – The Collection

  1. Beautifully written. I could all but feel the fabric myself. I love that the fabric whispers to you and that you take it home to your bower.
    All I want to do now is pull out my grandmother’s cloths I have and have afternoon tea.

  2. Your writing is as textured as the fabrics you describe. Beautiful.

    I have never been one to collect fabrics (not being a sewer) but I know a few people who do and they always have something very unique and special to spruce up their daily wardrobes. You are lucky to have such a wonderful collection. I do like the idea of hanging some of them though (maybe I can collect after all?) x

  3. Interesting piece, Jennifer. I think fabric and textures go way back into a person’s early life, textures and touch. Think of all those little people with “blankeys”. My daughter’s favourite was her “silky”, which started as blanket edging that she held to settle, then a torn up silk nightie of mine, then (cheap and practical), pieces of bright pink (so as not to be lost) lining fabric bought by the metre at Spotlight! For years fabrics were her comfort, now she sleeps on a silk pillowcase as a teen. I wonder if this will be her collecting passion too?

  4. How interesting! I can understand, I really love fabrics too and often wish I could just peruse the many options, but not having any sewing skills myself I never bother. So it’s interesting to me that you say you don’t really have the sewing abilities either yet you collect the fabrics, although I love your idea of hanging them on the walls! hmmm…maybe I should try that out soon myself.

  5. This is lovely – I have some fabrics put away that I want to use in some one one day – every now and then I get them out and just sit and dream 🙂

  6. I read this last week and had trouble commenting but I have been pondering your post (and comment on mine) ever since. This post tells a beautiful story and I loved it. Your textiles and fabrics are so not “just a pile of stuff”. And this is exactly what I was trying to write about, how a collector gives the collection value. You as the collector described a collection of fabrics that are rich in history, memory and beauty. I could tell your fabrics are filled with meaning.

    I guess I do collect books and music and possibly musical instruments, we are no doubt all collectors of something!

    Lovely to have you joining in with WoW, Jennifer. I always enjoy your writing.

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