The Washerwoman

Monday, 1 February 2010

The Shape of things to come in the world of textiles....

I have always had an affinity with textiles, interiors, and antiques. It started when I was a teenager and I helped my  mum on her stall in the Satruday Antiques market in Walcot Street in Bath. Having done a course in Interior Design in London in the 1980's, we then moved back to Bath where I had a number of jobs in various shops. Above is Atrium Interiors. You can see that the style has changed somewhat, it was the era of frills and bows!

Another shop I worked in was Josophine in Walcot Street, Bath. This was the first time I had come across the "shabby chic" style, and as you can see from the pictures, this look has not really changed much since 1990 when I took these photos. A bit scary to think that 20 years have zipped by!

The third shop where I worked was very different again, beautiful textiles and wallpapers from Zoffany, Cole and Son and Colefax and Fowler were the order of the day in this establishment.

Then my life changed and soon I was trading at Bath Market every Saturday. Mr W and I shared a stall (and the childcare) I cannot find any photos of those early happy (but often freezing cold) days in the Old Tramshed, but we were there from 1991 to when it closed in 2000.

These two photos are from the later years when I shared with Jill and sometimes Bronia.
As you can see there are a lot of textiles creeping into my stock!

In 1999 we took the big step to have a stand at Shepton Mallet Antiques fair at the Bath and West showground. Below is a piccie of our very first stall, it looks a bit bonkers as we were sharing the space, and the stock is a right old strange selection. If Sue peers closely at this picture, she might recognise something...

Now we have a photo of my very first totally textile and vintage clothing stall. This was taken at an event run by Sheila Hyson at Newton Abbot race course of all places. This was in the summer of 2000. With the end of Bath market I was casting around for other events. At Newton Abbot I met the jolly crowd of textile ladies, who have since become friends. I will never forget how friendly and fun they all were that day, Linda, I think you were there?

Then came a regular event in my home and garden... here is a view of one of the many "shed sales" - I think this one was in June 2001.
I love this photo of my very first "Shopping Arcade" at Shepton Mallet Antiques Fair, so began my love/hate relationship with these draughty tents. I think Niki would have been a regular customer around this time?

Below is an Ardingly Shopping Arcade in 2004. I was a tough cookie to do this fair as its a long way from home, and I did it alone. The weather could be fairly inclement and I have experienced thick snow and lashing  rain there on many an occasion. However , when the sun shines it is one of the best fairs in the country.

A fortuitous purchase of some fabulous 40's dresses in Spring 2005 heralded the start of doing the London Vintage fairs. More tough times, lots of driving and not always great takings. However the plus side was that I was able to stay with one of my school friends on a regular basis, thank you Aline for putting up with me on so many evenings prior to London fairs.

Luckily in 2005 I met Edwin who was planning to start some vintage fairs in the West Country. Hooray for Blind Lemon Vintage and no more 4 am drives up to London! Here is the flyer from the very first event that took place in Bristol on 26th February 2006.

 The next few years have been busy times with regular textile events in Honiton, Ilminster, Poundbury and; Stroud. Vintage fashion fairs have sprung up in Cardiff, Cheltenham, Stroud and Bath.... and then in 2008 a new type of fair was  Michele and Jayne called the Vintage and Handmade fair. A fabulous idea that pulled together a lot of ideas incorporating handmade items, textiles, jewellery, Antique toys and so much more. Their fairs have gone from strength to strength, and this summer they are planning another exciting event, so do watch this space!

The Summer of 2009 was when I took over a space at the Dairy House and soon afterwards I was assisting Sue in her idea of holding a textile event. As regular bloggers will know the special day at the Dairy House takes place on Sunday April 11th 2010.
Now, if that wasn't enough to keep me out of trouble, I have recently been persuaded to run an event this coming year in the pretty Somerset town of Frome. Clare and I have put our heads together and come up with the idea of an event which combines vintage fashion and decorative items for the home.... the date for your diaries is Saturday October 30th at the Cheese and Grain in Frome. Further details to follow soon....and there is a new blog to keep everyone informed


elegancemaison said...

Oh Lizzie what a wonderful post. Respect!

I am honoured to be asked to take part in your new Frome Vintage Bazaar. You have also inspired me to tell the story of my textile 'past', but worry about the News of the World getting wind(LOL!)

A Bun Can Dance said...

Hello Liz
It was great to read through your 'vintage journey' - thank you for sharing! No doubt I would have browsed your stall many a time in the Bath Tramshed - it certainly was a cold draughty place! And I recognise the shop you mentioned in Walcot Street. In my teenage years my favourite haunt was the Antiques Market in Bartlett Street - remember the huge place which used to be on the corner opposite the market which remains in Bartlett Street? I loved that place and could be found there every Saturday morning :-)
When I moved away from Bath then back again I was so sad to see it had gone.... The remaining market is so tidy and 'upmarket' by comparison... and I never did buy myself one of the gramophones I used to admire each week ;-)
So very, very excited about Frome in October - just can't wait!
I'll do a link to this post of yours over on my blog.
Have a lovely week,
D x

Vintage to Victorian at Dairy House Antiques said...

You've not been idle over the years then Liz - bearing in mind occasional visits to the workhouse as well.

Is it the drawers? Although the second one down looks split, which mine isn't. Eyesight not what it was (optician says new specs needed AGAIN), so maybe you meant something else?

I love the way the new fairs have sprung up over the last few years, and am so glad you have been able to help me finally get the Dairy House Day up and running.

Now that I'm going to stop selling at the Shepton Flea I hope I shall be able to do all Michele & Jayne's fairs, Jane & Christine's in Cornwall, the new one you and Clare are organising and also, of course, our own. Who knows, I might even get across to Samantha's in Wales next year!! Long may they continue.

Sue x

Cowboys and Custard said...

The pieces of jigsaw are all slotting in to place now Lizzie.. I am sure we met either in the Saturday market on one of the shops in Bath..which, along with my my other, were favourite haunts of mine... especially the tramshed! It was always so perishingly cold in there.. hence the lady in the fur coat!
What a wonderful history to look back on..and much to look forward to also!
Michele x

Nostalgia at the Stone House said...

What a great post Liz...I'm just off out now, but will digest it this evening when I have more time...I remember the Bath tram shed flea markets...they were the best, years ago...but my babies were very young at that time, so we had very little spare cash to indulge in my passion for vintage lovelies!

Have a great day...I'll be back!
Niki x

Donna said...

Such a lovely post Lizzie and to see how you have evolved. Your experience shows and is the reason why your stalls are the best in any fair you are at. I thought I had died and gone to heaven when I found you at Honiton :-)

tracey @ the vintage bothy said...

Hi Lizzie, what a career!
I am also honoured at the invitation to your new fair, yes please put me on the list, I would like to build up my repertoire of lovely fairs!
Back to the chasing round for stock!

BusyLizzie said...

Thank you so much for your comments on probably the longest post I have ever done! eek , does that mean I am getting old as so much has happened! xx

Lois said...

Brilliant! what a fantastic post, it should be published in Country Living or some such mag, what a wondeful story, with brilliant pics. What a fantastic life you and your family have been able to lead, buying & selling textiles etc for a living is sometimes hard, we mostly spend all our profit on MORE TEXTILES, but ultimately, it is the best area to work in, more like exciting fun most of the time. Thanks for sharing, keep it up, and hope to see you at Ardingly & at Dairy House if I can organise it! xxx

Nostalgia at the Stone House said...

Hi Lizzie,
Well I think your longest ever blog post deserves two comments!
I really enjoyed reading it and seeing all of your archive photos. You have always worked so hard and it's lovely to see how your style has evolved over the years to reach the finely tuned displays that you are now notorious for - I love rummaging through your stock whenever the opportunity arises! - That'll be later this month then!
Niki x

BusyLizzie said...

phew, that was a long post! -and as Niki pointed out, one of my longest! Thank you all for your comments, so sorry I have not yet responded to each. I have been juggling 50 eager stall holders for the Vintage Bazaar, what a response we have had!!!!! xx

Purrfect Haven said...

How lovely your tale is. I grew up in Bath (friends with Denise at Abuncandance) and what a wonderful place to search for vintage things. In fact I dressed like I was out of a vintage set. My mum and dad and brother are still there and so I visit of course. Good luck with all you are doing - wonderful shots. Helen

Tamsyn said...

Was lovely to meet you at Shepton mallet, and what a lovely blog. I was a regular visitor to the Walcot street market during the times you talk about and also had a stall at Green park station selling handpainted T-shirts... seems such a long time ago now :)

Linda said...

Loved your blog on days gone by , yes I was at Newton Abott and I did walcot street I am sure it was your stall I kept going back to ! so many lovely things xx Linda