Textiles 01.08.2011

Mourning Silk Art

From Barbara Robbins comes this wonderful piece and an equally wonderful story!

Mourning Silk Art

“There is an interesting story behind this silk picture.  I bought it from my friend, probably about 4 years or so ago.  It was in perfect condition.  it had the reverse painted glass mat that they used to do.  I had to chose between it and an expensive teapot to go in the carry on, and I chose the teapot because i often bring needlework home in my hardside suitcase with no problems.  I put cardboard in front and behind it, and the put it in the clothes.  The Victorian ones make it just fine, but alas, the Georgian glass is just too brittle.  When I opened this one up, I cried as the glass was broken in several pieces. It was hopeless.  I put the picture, with the broken glass, on the floor in the corner, by my buffet where it sat for about two years.  I couldn’t even bear to look at it , remove the glass, and have it matted with a new black mat.  About two years ago, the night before i was to leave for London, the top of my Victorian dressing case suddenly came lose, and fell on my arm and on my pitcher and bowl, which was one of the few family heirlooms I own.  I was just miserable.  It was as though God had decided I couldn’t have that piece, and I knew I would have had a fit if my brother had done that.  I told my friend, who immediately told me she knew someone who could fix it.  After England, I called him, and drove across down with the about 10 pieces of the bowl (only the handle had come off the vase).  I decided to take the Shakespeare mourning piece (which I have sent you), and this one too.  This man is an artist: he restored the pitcher and bowl to where I can’t even tell it.  He said he could not restore the old glass, so I left the Shakespeare one, which is just cracked down the middle, alone for now as I hated to destroy the old glass.  This one, the lady with the harp, was beyond help though, so he had a lady cut a new glass and he painted a new one.  I had enough pieces of the old so that it looks exactly the same.  Now it hangs on my wall, and I know I can bring Victorian glass but not Georgian home in a hardside suitcase.”