Sunday, November 15, 2015

A French Textile I Love

Since Friday night, November 13, 2015, I have been glued to CNN News on television, trying to learn more about Paris under siege. The Pope called recent violent incidents a "Piecemeal Third World War." The killing of innocent citizens going about their own business of enjoying themselves on a night after a long week of work is appalling and an insult to humanity.

As a result of the latest happenings in which 129 are now deceased and 352 are injured, 99 critically hurt, I began thinking about our previous alliances with France. In a speech that followed the outbreak of violence (attributed to ISIS), President Obama mentioned that France is our oldest ally. She gave the Statue of Liberty to the United States, a statue commemorated on a silk ribbon that I once saw on a Crazy Quilt.

The textile I love the best in my entire collection of military pillow covers is a hand-painted, silk pillow with silk embroidery. Featured is the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. World War I pillow covers of this kind always had the most exquisite lace sewn onto the edges and were much larger than subsequent (rayon) pillow covers of World War II. The making of these pillow covers was a cottage industry in France and they were intended as souvenirs. Right on the surface is embroidered "Souvenir de France." My book, Sweetheart & Mother Pillows: 1917-1945, (Schiffer Publishing, 2011) shows other WWI silk pillow covers, some of great historic importance to France.

This pillow cover is posted here in support of the French people. Somehow, it seems very ironic that such a multi-ethnic city should be targeted, one that is full of the arts, music, and culture. Undaunted, on Saturday morning, one pianist was heard playing John Lennon's song "Imagine" on the streets of Paris near where the incidents occurred, an apt response.

We pray for the healing of this great city and for much courage in the difficult days ahead for those who personally suffered through the attacks. May both peace and caution prevail. The world is on alert.
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