Labels. I really love labels.
I love finding interesting labels in things, not on things - quiet, elegant labels that stand the test of time and speak of beautiful quality, attention to detail and sometimes a sense of humour. Showy colourful labels with quirky names and symbols - they are all interesting. I enjoy typography of all kinds, so this love of labels is yet another way to enjoy lettering and mark-making.
Some are classics, like the Harris Tweed label and the CC41 Utility Mark seen on wartime clothing - others are evidence of a disappearing culture of British pride in production - embroidered labels and company names marking quality household goods - cotton sheets from Finlays, Riggs & Willow Royal, pure wool blankets from Otterburn Mill, Melin Tregwynt in Wales and the C.W.S at Littleborough.
Vintage labels mark special occasion clothes and extravagant lifestyles from the past, while other, modern labels speak of 21st century creativity, cultural awareness that mimics the past while embracing the present.
My label collection grows as I recycle unwanted clothing for other projects and hoard beautiful dresses for dancing. A once commonplace way of marking clothes and everyday household products has developed historical significance with the passage of time, and I rejoice with every interesting label I discover. I don't plan on doing anything with them, I just enjoy looking at them every now and then.
This is my hymn to haberdashery .... those glorious piles of useful sewing supplies, the well stocked stall and its many treasures.
I love haberdashery, even saying the word out loud makes me smile, Haberdashery. It conjures up images of those tools and supplies, coveted by me and used by a haberdasher - a dealer in small items used in sewing such as buttons, zips and threads - and pressed into service by the Tailor of Gloucester, one of my all-time favourite stories - 'no more twist'
The quiet beauty of tiny pearl buttons, gleaming circles of glass head pins, flower shaped cards of needles, tomato pin cushions and rows of sewing threads. They transport me back to childhood, I'm 10 years old and trying to decide what to buy with my pocket money at the sewing stall - gloating over bags of ribbons, embroidery silks or even more buttons. A delicious feast for the senses and more valuable than sweets.
Who knows where rummaging in a lovely old button tin will take me - right back to Nana's kitchen table, long ago with my sisters, all counting out treasure into tottering piles or right now, planning my latest clothing makeover with those glorious jet beauties and the bundle of braids.
Revel in those handed down sewing boxes and returning haberdashery counters.
Creativity starts here.