Vintage Inspiration & Accidental Collections

Vintage tablecloths are, I guess, one of my accidental collections. I first started buying them with the idea of overdyeing or cutting and piecing, and found myself hoarding them instead, unwilling to cut up any but the most tattered and stained.

And now, surely it shouldn't come as a surprise, I have learned  (from a sweet blog called A Charmed Life) that vintage tablecloths are quite collectable and that you can even find catalogs and lists and galleries with names, dates and manufacturers! Oh dear, another web-based fritter awaits me, as I try to track down the provenance of these lovelies. I must have about 50 now, and I still find them at quite affordable prices at thrift stores, flea markets and the like.

What's the attraction?" Some of it is purely visual -- the funky designs and colors, the outrageous tropicals and holiday prints. And some, admittedly, is because I was there then -- in the 50s and 60 when every bridge table had its lovely cloth for parties and tea and holiday open houses.

And, yes, sometimes a cloth finds its way into my work, often on one of my small studio or home wall altars.

Accidental collections are those assortments of things you never really decided to collect, but one day you look around and your home or studio or desktop or garden is full of them. Accidental collections have a kind of natural growth that usually has more to do with liking something than it does with investing in it. And whether you think your accidental collection has anything to do directly with your art or not, it probably has something to do with your strong suits and inclinations in the sensory world.

What are your accidental collections? How do they inspire you?

(Remember, if you comment, you will be entered into my raffle for a free copy of New World Kids, The Parents' Guide to Creative Thinnking)