When I was growing up, I had no idea that the textiles that surrounded me would have the kind of impact that they did. My childhood home was full of pattern and in the nineties Laura Ashley ruled the roost. In fact, the fabrics of the 1990 collection were so evocative that when I rediscovered the old catalogue in a charity shop, I just had to buy it. Here it is, all swags and tails, festoons and frills.
I had the prettiest pink bedroom, and I loved it. Mum let me pick out the materials I liked best and put it all together in a handmade bedroom scheme.
My gran also had some interesting textiles, there was an amazing bright orange eiderdown, with a swirly print on one side and a plain on the other. I remember being off sick from school with scarlet fever and sitting beneath it eating a bowl of ice cream. In my head it was silky soft- I bet it was something synthetic though, I never knew what happened to it in the intervening years but my memory of it is still so strong.
If you’ve ever watched a British film or drama set in the fifties or sixties you will have probably seen a candy striped sheet, especially prevalent in a working class home. Every time I see one I feel a nostalgia for a time when I didn’t even exist. The sheets lived in the airing cupboard of my first childhood residence, a hangover from the past, and became the preferred floor coverings for D.I.Y days. Whenever I recall them, they are well loved and paint splattered but still standing the test of time. Following one fortuitous visit to a local charity shop, I am now the proud owner of a double candy striped sheet, plus another found by my mum with a matching pillow case. I imagine these little pieces of history had been sat in someone else’s airing cupboard until such time came for them to be passed on.
Most recently this floral green beauty turned up in an instagram sale and it instantly stirred up warm but vague memories. I can’t remember if this once lived at home with my folks or at Gran’s but I do remember that the duvet version had a small green fern pattern on the back.
As I’m in the midst of getting ready to welcome my own small person into the world, I wonder whether the textiles I’m so fond of will have an impact on their childhood memories . I wonder if my love for the novelty prints from Cath Kidston, the scraps of vintage prints I collect, or the midcentury colourways of Orla Kiely will influence their future design choices. One thing I do know is, that I’ll not be using them as dust sheets – just incase they become tomorrow’s treasures.