Jay and I got to take in the flea market (sans beasties!) last week. While I was really there scouting around for some pieces for brides (an awesome excuse- shop for you, shop for me too!) I fell quickly and hard for something I rarely even look at: linens.
Green on green? Fern on fern on fern? Butterfly on butterfly too? I felt my eyes glass over. Hello pretty. You are just too darn perfect for me. I am really bad at poker face. I wear my heart on my sleeve. (And have been told all over my face.) "Oh, you know Vera?" I hear from a small man sitting quietly at the end of the table. "Um, no...actually, I don't." I tried to play it cool...it is the flea after all, so despite my excitement over the piece, I want to attempt to get some small form of a deal. "Its a Vera Neumann, isn't it fun?" My new friend then gives me a low-down on Vera.
Vera was born in 1907 to a family that encouraged their children to find a passion and then to follow it. Vera's was drawing. Her father gave her 50 cents for each sketchbook she could fill with her drawings. Her first job was as a fashion illustrator and then a textile designer. She then moved on to design fabric and murals for children's rooms. When she married, she and her husband (who also had a background in textiles) built a small silkscreen printing press to fit on their dining room table. They cured their product (linen placemats- the only thing that would fit on the press & table) in their own oven. While World War II was going on- sales on placemats dwindled and Vera went searching for different alternatives for her product. She came across parachute silk at an army surplus store, and she began making scarves. "Vera scarves" became immediately popular- and had a very famous following for their bright colors and whimsical prints. She continued to produce her scarves, linens, and other textiles until her death in 1993. All of Vera's prints are signed with her name and- a ladybug. (I love her.)
There were six napkins and a very large table cloth (60"x 120" which, by the way is the PERFECT fit for my dining room table.) The table cloth, my new friend told me, was a very unusual size. Very large. I never buy linens. I was just about ready to talk myself out of them when Jamie intervened. "How much?" "I'll give them to you for $40." "She'll take them." ( I look sideways at Jay. Its the small simple times like this that remind me how much I love him. Is that silly?)
And now, I do know Vera.(History, although told to me by my new vendor friend was lifted here in part, from Wikipedia.)