Friday, July 25, 2008

Mad About Tea Towels

For the past 10 years I have been mad about tea towels. Recently, I have noticed that tea towels aren't just for your old granny anymore. They have evolved into an art form for the kitchen, into eye candy for your home. Young artists have reinvented the humble linen tea towel and are using it as a canvas to display their clean graphic artwork in an affordable and utilitarian way.

Nicholas Gallery in Cincinnati is currently displaying towels contributed by contemporary artists the world over.


Etsy shop ower MrPS named this screen printed towel Ice Cream Lollies. MrPS is a resident of the UK and has many other designs for sale in his/her ? Etsy shop.

Heather of Skinny LaMinx is an artist who lives in Capetown, South Africa whose tea towel designs I have long admired. She just announced she has sold 1000 towels in her Etsy store. Heather used her love of 60s era coffee mugs to design this towel. If forced to choose, I would say that this is my favorite of her designs. Her wildflower designs are very beautiful too.

Heather's website features the vintage work of Pat Albeck, who she calls the "Queen of the Tea Towel." Albeck's website features her work from the 50s right up to today. Be sure to check her out if you love the genre.

Remember those hand stitched towels that our mothers used. Well, embroidery is making a come back and many vintage patterns like your mother sewed can be found at Sublime Stitching. My mother had the bee's of the week...a little bee performed some type of domestic chore for each day of the week. Mom cross stitched these on towels and put them away in her hope chest to await her first home.

A wide variety of charming towels printed on beautiful fabrics can always be found at Anthropologie. I have been known to haunt their sales looking for bargains on tea towels. The colorful way they put fabrics together inspired the design of the aprons I recently made for my granddaughters.

Alicia Paulson of Posy Gets Cosy has redesigned traditional days of the week embroidery patterns by bringing the design up to date for the modern home. She offers her patterns as a free download here.

Whole Flickr Groups are devoted to tea towel love. Check them out here.

So if you are mad about tea towels like me, then please explore all of these options and enjoy!

38 comments:

  1. I adore vintage tea towels! I always keep my eye out for old "dry me dry" brand that are still in good condition. They have such fun colors and retro designs. And yes, Anthropologie has some of the greatest new ones. Fun, fun post!

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  2. I used to collect linen tea towels when I went on holidays - English mainly, but some Scots and Irish - and pick up the odd unique one with recipes etc. I have one with vikings on it that is really cool - not your typical vikings with the big ship, but large viking bodies in golds and greens. I wonder where that is? I'm going to have to have a rummage tomorrow, and go on a hunt at my favourite thrift stores.

    Great post, Steviewren!

    Kat

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  3. The Anthropologie ones are my favorites! I can't go in there without buying one, it seems. I also love the ones at the Victoria and Albert museum in London!

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  4. I am a big fan of tea towels. In my house they can be used for a placemat or even a napkin. Some are just way to pretty to be used to dry a dish!
    denise

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  5. it warms my heart the way that vintage design tea towels and aprons have had a resurgence. the collection you are showing is just wonderful!

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  6. What a unique and interesting topic. Some of these tea towels look suitable for framing.

    The great thing about tea towels is that you always need more, as they wear out/suffer burns/unremovable stains.

    A new tea towel hanging from my oven handle really spruces up the kitchen.

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  7. These were all great tea towels and sources, Stevie! I try to buy a tea towel as a souvenir when I travel, and William Sonoma always had nice ones for every holiday that I try to by on sale after the holiday.

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  8. OOH!! Thank you for the suggestions... It's so much fun to shop for vintage tea towels and new ones too! I need to get to Anthropologie! Home Goods has some fun ones as well...

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  9. Hi, I administer the Vintage Screened Tea Towel Group on flickr. We would love to to see more vintage towels and encourage your readers to look at what we have gathered together so far. We sincerely apreciate any comments or additional information. Thanks for the grate post lil'bird.

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