Anyone who already follows me on Facebook or knows me personally will tell you that I am a huge fan of Liberty tana lawn fabric. I’m going to tell you about why my love for Liberty goes a little deeper.
When I was growing up in Cheltenham there was a Liberty store on the Promenade. Cheltenham is a georgian spa town, it was a very lovely place to grow up. Everything is very grand and expansive in the posh bits of Cheltenham, columns and stark white facades, high ceilings and marble floors, manicured lawns and trailing hanging baskets. The wide sweep of the Promenade with it’s tree lined pavements and high windowed shops make a lasting impression, especially when you are a small person. I remember Liberty so clearly because, upon walking through the golden doors, I was transported away from the pale, grand uniformity of georgian Cheltenham and into another world entirely.
I felt as if I had been whisked away on a flying carpet into a sultan’s opulent palace. Everywhere, gleaming against the dark polished wood, were splendid displays of colour and texture in wonderful toppling piles. Silk scarves, forbidden for me to touch with my sticky child’s fingers, floating gently in the magical air. Oriental rugs hung from the walls and a smell of spice and exotic perfume. Up a staircase with a golden banister to where great, fat bolts of fabric rested snugly together on the shelves, positively glowing with joyful print and colour combinations.
The overriding memory of being surrounded by this much gloriousness was that I wanted to eat it all! Like my eyes wouldn’t open wide enough to take in all the sumptuous delights so I should cram some in my mouth as well to really get my fill before we had to leave.
Looking back that is a very odd and very vivid memory. My mum has reminded me that I really was quite young when we were going in there, only about six, and also that we only ever went in when there was a sale or if she needed a very small amount of fabric for something special.
I’ve made myself sound like a poor street urchin in a victorian novel, nose pressed up against the brightly lit window, hungry eyes devouring the unattainable riches! I really do remember it like that though. A lot of memories from my childhood are very sensory, often accompanied by a kind of mouthwatering taste that I can’t identify.
Liberty fabrics still evoke that emotion in me now. They make me hungry and I love to mix all the prints and colours up together to a level that is just short of a clash-overload. I made two cushions recently from pre-cut squares of tana lawn that I purchased on Ebay. They are seriously clashtastic and I love them! Next on the list is a quilt made with Betsy and Mitsi prints.
Now for a confession. I’ve never been to Liberty in London. I have stood outside and marvelled at the huge tudor-revival building and admired the incredible window displays (I am a trained visual merchandiser so I was jumping up and down with glee at the sight of them!) but I didn’t walk through the hallowed front doors and explore the wonders within. I was in London for a job interview that day and I was just too nervous to really make the most of the opportunity to go in.
I suspect that when I do finally visit, I’ll probably explode with pleasure. If it’s anything like what I remember from my childhood then it will be a complete sensory delight. I hope no one minds if I only buy a couple of fat quarters though, I think everything else may be a little out of my league!
Love Susie xxx