Thursday, May 26, 2016

French Women Love Fans

French Women Secret #9
                                                                                              (photo by Richard Avedon)

Last week, I was so thrilled to attend a presentation on the history of decorative hand fans at the Kinderhook Memorial Library.  Fan expert , Dr. Abbey Block Cash showed us a small selection of her many beautiful fans.  She actually has thousands of fans and explained that she's been collecting them for many years--beginning when when she was three years old, and her mother bought her a little twenty-five cent paper fan.  (Mothers, take note--when you give your daughter a gift, no matter how small and seemingly insignificant, it can lead to a life-long passion!)

After the talk, all the ladies where invited to browse the library and look at the beautiful fans.  And since they are quite old (beginning in the 1700's) and therefore quite fragile, there was no touching allowed!

This pink fan is from 1910, made from silk gauze with heavy gold threading, and carved amber sticks.  It's Art Nouveau and it's French!  Ooh La La!

I fell in love with this black silk spangled fan from the 1920's.  It's also French, but I think it spoke to be on a deep level because it reminds me of my French grandmother who was a dancer in Vaudeville.  

My grandmere never made it to the Ziegfield Folies, but she certainly had the talent and the beauty!

Don't you agree--she's spectacular?!  

This brings me back to my first thought about mothers and daughters, and grandmothers and granddaughters.  Little gifts--a paper fan or a story about the "olden days" can make quite an impression.  We inspire our children every day--by little things and big things.  I guess I am so very aware of this now that I am a new grandmother, and it's my turn to create memories!

I wonder if you ever think about these things, mes amis.  And if you have a decorative hand fan that you love?  Do you bring it out during the warm weather?  I hope so!  I think we should create a new movement and return to the beauty and elegance of hand fans!  (Oh, and just think--they're also very environmentally savvy!)  No a/c required!

Please tell me about your your hand fans!  I'd love to see photos too!

Merci beaucoup!


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