Yes, there is quite a lot of good that comes out of moving despite how much I have grumpled on recently. Oddly--and this might be surprising--I rarely think on the garden apartment in the rue Truchet. So firmly the page has turned. And it has been delightful to rediscover so many objects that just weren't right for that very specific, very Provençal space. No more so than what I call the treasure chest, la malle aux trésors, which was, by necessity, tucked underneath a swivelling stone staircase where it was promptly ignored. Truth be told it is just a linen chest, one bought years ago as Remi's initials happen to be scribbled in iron across the top. But, oh, the happiness once the lid is lifted. Not only that wonderful waft of cedar, but lots of little packages, tied up tight. These are largely pieces that we brought home from our travels, though not exclusively. Fabrics, like spices, are a wonderful souvenir as they are light to pack and the pleasure they offer both immediate and enduring.
Unfolding a crinkly brown paper takes me back immediately to an incense-filled shop in Samarkand, where we ignored the suzanis in favor of a long wave of finely woven pink and gold silk. One hundred years old. We tested its authenticity by burning a thread. Clean. Just underneath, a blue and white ikat found in a seaside shack in Candidasa. The Balinese woman who greeted us had worn hands that grabbed on to mine and wouldn't let go while she explained the effect the bombings had on her family. The next day, she sent us off with a bunch of gangly bananas from her garden.
And then there are the pieces that have not yet found their use, tucked away on a mini Island of Forgotten Toys. Two bolts of Nina Campbell fabric shipped from England for projects that I can't yet afford to finish but inspire as baroque only can. More ikats from another trip to Bali, not our colors but irresistible nonetheless. So lovely in the hand. Red sarongs bought at the Russian market in Phnom Penh for a photo shoot on the Toum Teav as the Mekong rolled by.
Alas, there is no room in our new apartment for the treasure chest. Emptied of its goods, it sits in the attic, amidst the lanterns for a garden that we will hopefully have again. Once I am more settled, I will look forward to taking down these wonderful fabrics, one by one and trying to find a use for them. I have a feeling that some of these pieces were bought in the past for a future life, as we sometimes do, projecting ourselves to where we want to be. Certainly, something will fit perfectly for where we are right now.
I wrote this little post with someone in mind. If you don't know of Debra, from Acquired Objects, please take a gander as she is one of the most supportive ladies on the blogsphere. For her, these fabrics might have a more specific appeal although they aren't from the 15th century, like her usual fare!