Tuesday, January 13, 2009

There's Nothing Like a Good Damask

For those of you who subscribe to the zen of ironing, you will understand that I have had quite a meditative morning. I started out at the ironing board with the fabrics my daughter used to wrap her Christmas presents. And I got to keep everyone's wrapping. Yes, that's actual sheen on the fabric, not the flash. I think most of these are from Mali as she spent some time there as a vacation from her Peace Corps post in The Gambia.

This was what was wrapped in one of the fabrics: more fabric! Could I be happier? It's a wise daughter who knows her mother. Isn't it spectacular? The color is really more of a deep brown, which shows better in the detail below.

Here is a close-up. On one selvedge it says, "Guaranteed Real Wax Damask Dadawa"; on the other, "Veritable Wax Bazinrich Dadawa."

Ironing those fabrics and seeing the word "damask" reminded me that it was about time to iron all the cloth napkins awaiting attention. I won't tell you for how long they've been waiting, but they had at least been washed and were clean. As I sorted through them--to bleach, starch and iron--a few more fell by the wayside into the ragbag. I am always sad when they "graduate" because the damask designs are so lovely, and I get a bit nostalgic about the meals they accompanied. I realized that while the napkins I bought nearly forty years ago have all graduated, some of the really old ones are still going strong. One of my favorites has the most wonderful monogram (see above) and is a heavy damask.

I only get as far as ironing my damask napkins, but if you want to see the remarkable things one artist does with them and with other household objects, please take a look at and enjoy my friend Diane Savona's work.

Now, to more ironing . . .er, meditation.

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