I'm not sure why it takes me so long to share some things on this blog, goodness. It's been about six months since I found this amazing piece in Amsterdam at the Noordermarkt, a local flea market there. It was definitely one of those double-takes... but instead of it being a handsome man spotted across a crowded room, it was a large (around 46 inches wide), vintage, incredibly unique emboidery just bursting with handmade love. Definitely love at first sight.
I knew it when I saw it that A) it's too good to be true, so it must cost too much and B) Ethan's never going to let me bring that giant thing home with us on the plane (it was stretched around a wooden frame), not to mention we had more traveling to do (to Belgium) and we'd have to lug it around with us on trains, etc.
So I snapped a few pics and met back up with Ethan, but I couldn't get it out of my head.
I told Ethan about it and said I wanted to go see how much it was, and I brought him with me so that he could see it. When I asked the seller how much, I clenched up waiting for the inevitably outrageous price and heard "$20". A look must have come across my face that made him think I thought that was too high (which I didn't, obviously!), so he quickly said, "ok, $15."
Trying to keep my game-face on (and not doing a very good job, I'm sure.. never take me with you to buy a car), I walked quickly over to Ethan and told him. He gave it a look-over and I knew he was thinking "this thing is too big, and it's wrapped around a wooden frame, so it can't be folded down... and..."
I told the seller we had traveled from the States and was worried about transporting it back and he was like "well, you could always take it off the frame.."
BINGO. I was all over that. Before I knew it, I was the proud owner of this lovely thing and I convinced Ethan it would be no biggie to get it off that frame. He being the good husband he is, went along with it with no complaints and even tracked down the tools we needed to pry the piece from the frame. It came off easily and I was able to fold it up and easily take it home with me.
I have no idea if this is an original piece or if it was made from a mass-produced pattern, BUT, my guess is that it's an original piece. It seems too freeform and unique and LARGE. I can't imagine this came as part of a craft kit of something. It's definitely European, so maybe my European readers might have an idea?
I absolutely love the mix of appliquéd fabrics, patterns and felt, and the sketch-like handstitching. Most of all, I adore the very expressive looks on the children's faces.
It really needs to be cleaned, but I just don't know how to go about doing that. Part of me doesn't want to mess with it, and I wouldn't clean it myself. I was going to iron it, but don't want to set any of the dirt. All in all, the condition doesn't bother me, I'm just so glad it was salvaged. I have no idea how old it is. Can anyone take a guess? I'm going to stretch it around either a pre-made canvas, or buy some stretcher bars and put it together myself. We have an amazing art supply store in Atlanta that sells many different sizes and shapes of premade canvases, so I'm going to bring it with me to see if it fits any. Then I need to find the perfect place to hang it.
Do you have any experience with cleaning vintage embroideries/canvas? Any tips?
Have you ever found something so unique and amazing while traveling that you just couldn't resist bringing it home?