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Thursday is always a good day, not just because we bring new stuff to our space in
the Hudson Supermarket, but because we eat! There is a cafe right in the back of
the store and Chris, the chef, is incredible.
This time, blue and silver run throughout our space.
And, as always, grain sacks.
The metal shelving unit in the window (mixed with reflections of buildings and
cars) has perfect proportions and patina.
Blue is popular right now. Nice for me, since it has always been my favorite
More perfection, at least to my eye, in the finish on this Philadelphia workbench.
Sometimes, a table in natural wood is ok, especially if the legs are so beautiful !
This is the third blue cupboard with glass doors I have had here this month.
People must like glass doors right now as much as they like blue. Great food
and the blues. I can’t think of anything better…
(Hungry? Check it out at Hudson Supermarket or www.hudsonsupermarket.com).
A customer came here the other day, a set decorator I’ll call D, who I really like
a lot. She was looking for mostly workbenches and industrial pieces for an up-
coming movie she is designing. She brought her friend along, another set designer
from California, who I will call S. After my house, they were continuing on to the
Finger Lakes where they both have family.
As we wandered through the house, on the off-chance that something for the movie
was lurking around inside, S asked “what are all those things you have everywhere?
I love them!”
They were, of course, grain sacks.
But why had she never seen grain sacks before? A set designer! From California!
Well, she just hadn’t! But, now that she had made this miraculous discovery, she
wanted two for some chairs. So, while D and Ken went out to the barns to check
out the big stuff, S and I went to work picking out the two very best sacks in the
This was no easy task given the hundreds of choices and, at some point, S said “I
wish you only had two!” We started with the new-old stock (like the ones above),
which most people who are new to grain sacks prefer for its less well-worn presence.
And, graduated quickly to the old-old sacks. S is a set decorator, from California,
after all, and was thrilled with the old hand-worked repairs, the darnings and
patches that I love.
We tried different ones on the back a chair, made piles on the floor and, in what
felt like no time ’cause I was having such fun, found the perfect two.
Customers always offer to help put the grain sacks back on the shelves and I always
decline. There’s nothing more relaxing than being alone with my grain sacks, folding,
stacking on the correct shelves : wreathes with wreathes, plows with plows. A bonus
that day was finding Mitten, sound asleep and not even pretending to help. I guess I’m
not the only one who relaxes around grain sacks.
Just can’t get enough of those grain sacks !
A few weeks ago, a friend, one who started out as a customer, came to my
house to get some grain sacks. She drove a distance, at least 8 hours one
way, to get here. Before she came, she emailed that she was so excited about
seeing me. My exact feelings went right back to her. I like her so much and,
when we finally saw each other, we smiled and hugged, talked, laughed and
went crazy looking at grain sacks. It was a perfect few hours before she had
to be on her way, each of us making promises to see each other again soon,
expressing wishes that we lived closer to each other.
The really unusual thing, for me, is that we had never met in person till that
day! Our entire relationship was made of air…. words in the air via the
computer and boxes of grain sacks sent through the air from me to her.
Without computers, the internet and google we probably would never have
met. And what a loss that would have been.
Some of my favorite grain sacks state “God Bless Our Crops and Animals”….
A few ask for the blessing of the owner’s handiwork….
I hope that someday, among the piles of my treasured textiles, I will be able to
say that I have a grain sack that expresses my wish : “God Bless My Friends”
I always think of myself as a seller of industrial furnishings, with a little bit of
mercantile, a little bit of painted country, a little bit of European and a lot of funk, just
to keep it interesting.
And, while I’ve been buying and selling grain sacks for 13 years, in the last year it
seems like they have really taken over. They’re everywhere!
They are certainly all over my house. And, I have a large grain sack room where I store
the hundreds of sacks in my stock.
Of course, my spaces in Bournebrook and Hudson Supermarket are brimming with
sacks, as well.
One of my favorite times is when I happen to be in one of my spaces when someone from
Germany comes in and spots the sacks. They are always so pleased to see these items
from home and to think of the names of German towns on furnishings across America.
I fell in love the day I saw my first German grain sacks in a pile of junk in a guy’s attic. I
knew that something good had happened, in fact I felt like I had hit the jackpot! But,
even then, I had no idea that they would fill my space and life in this way.
It started with my friend, Jennifer (www.jenniferlanne.com), procurer of much that
is good. She purchased a banner that practically shouted, because of its 15′ length,
“Elm Tree Farm”. She had the “Farm” part made into a huge pillow for herself and gave
me, pal that she is, the rest of the banner. I picked up her finished pillow from our mutual
friend, Jerry, the upholsterer since I would be seeing her before he would.
While I still had it, Diane, a friend and customer of both Jennifer’s and mine,
from Washington DC, was at my house and took a photo of a bunch of us holding Jennifer’s
pillow. A few days later, Diane showed the photo to yet another friend, a picker (also
named Diane, so we’ll call her Diane #2), who is from Pa. and from whom both Diane (#1)
and I buy. Diane #2 was, with good reason, crazy about the pillow and called me right
away. To make an already-too-confusing story short, I had Jerry make “Tree” into a pillow
for Diane #2 using a plain grain sack for the back. Above is what it looked like on my sofa.
–Lucky me : I have “Elm” tucked away, so there might still be a pillow in my future.
–Too many people? From too many states? Too many Dianes? Too many pillows? Never!
Last week, my good friend, Jennifer Lanne (www.jenniferlanne.com),
and I were were bad influencing each other in a small re-purposed
clothing store in Hudson. We each came out with a pretty pricey bag,
hers concealing a skirt, mine a jacket…because we so richly deserved
a treat after our hard day of breezing through antiques shops and
lunch with friends. That night I had a dream. In it, I asked Jennifer
to get me a grain sack down vest. I did not expect her to bring me this :
the top half of a grain sack wing chair with straps to hold it on. Picture
just the top of this chair…..
Kind of like this….
It was so heavy and I looked ridiculous in it. (Do ya think?) The next
morning, the first thing I did was to write Jennifer an email removing her
from all duties as my stylist! It was just a dream. But, somehow I think
there is an idea here. Maybe if there were armholes in the wings?
Industrial wash tubs, cut down, cleaned and with the edges ground smooth.
The addition of German grain sack cushions completes the picture. read more »
Last week we went to meet one of the factory guys to pick up a load
of the industrial pieces that we love so much. As we pulled into the
lot near the old wooden building, where we had not been before, I
spotted what looked like a grain elevator. This was very exciting to
me as I have been intrigued by these edifices, even though their
invention, in part, spelled the beginning of the end for grain sacks
around the world. See the little building up on the roof ? That’s the
grain elevator !
Like an indoor silo, it stored the grain so that the farmer did not have
to. Inside was a riot of eye candy !
No paper ? No worries ! All plans, calculations and fine art could be
worked out right on the wall.
Mixed among the many treasures that day was a wonderful grain
sack filler/funnel to which a grain sack would be attached and loaded
with grain. Shown on the right in the photo below, my new
filler/funnel sports a great sack from my inventory. I already owned
the filler/funnel on the left. So I guess that means I have a collection!
What a good way to display lavender bags and pillows.
Sometimes, the unexpected pleasures are the best ones of all.