Textiles and Fowl

Among the cleaning tasks I took on this morning was changing some of my winter textiles for the spring and summer. This includes kitchen towels, which nobody but me notices, and a few small pieces that just lighten things up. One of them appeared to be missing, though. Back in the 1990s I worked for the Peace Corps and my boss went to Zimbabwe to see some programs we were doing there. She brought me back what was probably intended as a placemat.  She said it was the only thing she found that actually said “made in Zimbabwe” on it.

Here it is, with its nicely designed Made in Zimbabwe tag.

Here it is, with its nicely designed Made in Zimbabwe tag.

This is a problem travelers come across frequently. In Vienna a few years ago, chocolates aside, some of the few things I found that said made in Austria were at the MAK, an astonishing crafts museum. The gift shop had quite a few brightly painted animal castanets, which I considered buying for my nephews. Being a fairly merciful person by nature, I thought better of this.

Yellow Jacket? Certainly not the Green Hornet.

Yellow Jacket? Certainly not the Green Hornet.

But back to the Zimbabwean textile, I have used it regularly on my “coffee table,” which is in fact the smaller of two Navy trunks my father brought back from the Pacific in 1945. I like the way it looks there. Luckily, while rummaging through the closet where I hang tablecloths and shawls and some scarves, I came across it.

And here it is, blending and contrasting nicely...

And here it is, blending and contrasting nicely…

One of the things I particularly like about it is that the birds at its center look a lot like Guinea fowl, which my uncle kept on my grandparents farm when I was a child. I still love their speckled feathers.

I can almost hear them, Guinea fowl being opinionated...

I can almost hear them, Guinea fowl being opinionated…

So the silk velvet scarf with the Charles Rennie Mackintosh roses on it is going back to a drawer. Sometimes it gets worn, and sometimes it drapes a Navy trunk. Some things are more versatile than others.

The nice thing about this is the way it catches the light. Not to mention the reminder of summer flowers...

The nice thing about this is the way it catches the light. Not to mention the reminder of summer flowers…

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10 Responses to Textiles and Fowl

  1. Ah! See, I do that too! Sometimes a scarf or a pashmina drapes about me and sometimes they drape over a chair or a table – it just depends on the mood and the weather! I love a textile that is flexible! Your Zimbabwean placemat is very colourful and I am very impressed that you use your father’s trunks as coffee tables – what a treasure! I have been feeling the need for my annual pre-winter clean up and rearrangement of furniture, but am determined to wait until I return from seeing all my American friends ……… Just over two weeks before departure! 🙂

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    • arlingwoman says:

      Yeah! It’s nice when the weight or texture of something will work multiple ways. I’m very excited about your trip. I imagine you’re doing a lot of packing in your head at this point. Doing the fall clean-up probably WILL be better when you get back–unless the impending trip is giving you lots of restless energy!

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      • It’s like you just spent the night with me! I hardly slept [it’s so hot at night still] and when I did it was with those ‘I’m not ready yet’ dreams….. I still haven’t packed my bags or picked up my tickets and the plane leaves in 30 minutes – will I make it? My best childhood friend turns up and helps me find my winter coat, because the jacket I’m carrying won’t be enough – but it’s not where it should be and the plane leaves in 10 minutes …..panic, panic, panic! Even while dreaming this I knew it was a dream because I wouldn’t be so silly as to leave anything to the last minute – would I?

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      • arlingwoman says:

        Well, it’s a BIG trip, and I know I would be a wreck at the same time I was excited, so it doesn’t surprise me you’re feeling that way! And if you need to use some of that energy getting ready for fall, well, that will be nice to return to, won’t it?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. KerryCan says:

    Gotta love people who swap out textiles to celebrate the change in seasons! I’m behind on this, this year–maybe because it’s still cold and snowy here. But I do have some pretty things I should be pulling out and ironing. That Zimbabwean piece is pretty cool–is the design made with block prints? Can you tell?

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    • arlingwoman says:

      Yes, you can tell. It’s actually block printed with carved potatoes. I looked the business up and they sell material yet–have about 80 artists. AND there’s material printed entirely with guinea fowl. Or elephants or geometric patterns. I may have to buy some…

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  3. Anne Wheaton says:

    Definitely guinea fowl and how fabulous that it’s block printed with potatoes. I like to swap textiles around between winter and summer, though like you, nobody else notices. I also find it very odd whenever I look at the label of something obviously British, because the Union Jack is all over it, only to see Made in China or wherever.

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  4. arlingwoman says:

    I know. It can be confusing!

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  5. Robin says:

    The Zimbabwe placement is so beautiful. I like the guinea fowl, too. I’d never seen them (in person, or in fowl) until we moved to the Eastern Shore (some folks down the road have a few and there was — it’s closed now — a farm where they raised guinea fowl and peafowl). I just started changing out my textiles, too. Putting on the spring tablecloth and other coverings make it feel more like spring (even when it’s in the 30’s as it is this morning).

    Liked by 1 person

    • arlingwoman says:

      For some reason, I just love the look and quirky bird behavior of the guineas. My home feels freshened by the linen changes–and maybe both of us will be njoying some warm, sunny weather this weekend!

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