One year ago today, I started this blog. I had just fulfilled an ages-old wish of having sterling silver and I wanted to connect with others who also found silver, linen, and china interesting. (Please pardon my wrinkled napkin in the photo. A working girl only has so much time for ironing.)
(Grande Renaissance by Reed & Barton)
What I have found most thrilling in this past year are the many personal connections I’ve made in the blogosphere. I am also astounded at how much I’ve learned! A visit to Paris, reading many wonderful blogs and books, and studying designers’ Pinterest boards has so much broadened my understanding of the history of design and the details that deem an item “quality.” The vocabulary alone fascinates me: Rococo, bergére, 925/1000, Irish linen…all terms or concepts that were foreign to me just a short time ago.
One downside of learning about the history of American silver has been coming to the realization that this is a seemingly dying industry. I visited Reed & Barton’s factory in Taunton, MA this year, only to find that much of it was abandoned. As with Gorham, International, Wallace, Towle, and other silver companies, much of the business has moved to Asia. They also seem to be downsizing or being bought out by large companies such as Lifetime Brands. R&B discontinued many of their patterns in 2011, including the one I had just purchased! While I knew on a conceptual level that many of America’s historic industries had moved overseas, this was the first time I had a personal connection to the trend.
So, while all of what I have learned isn’t rosy, I am grateful for this most unexpected journey that is a very separate world from my professional life. Here’s to another year of reading, writing, and learning!