Tuesday, October 31, 2006

hats and homes

I often wear hats. The other day, I put on a beret with the bit of nub at the top. C looked at me and said "Mom, you like an acorn." The girls always find some simile when I wear hats, I have one hat they call my baker hat (another beret but white and with pineapple crochet around the band).

A long but rather interesting quote from a book I am reading called 'Home' by Witold Rybczynski
"That most nineteenth-century revivals were creative instead of historical greatly facilitated innovation. Since form was not expected to follow function - only tradition, and that loosely - it was not difficult to introduce devices such as gasoliers or electric lamps into the home. Either they were fitted into familiar shapes - hence the gas or electric chandelier - or, if this was not possible, they were treated in a "traditional" manner. As it was not necessary to adhere strictly to historical precedents, this was not difficult. A bit of swag here, some encrusted flowers there, and the ventilating tube or the bathtub was readily incorporated into the overall decor of the room. It is easy to scoff at the way that the Victorians made new devices conform to old, nonmechanical tastes - that criticism is the staple of many books on industrial design. But it was precisely the absence of any perceived contradiction between tradition and innovation that accounted for the rapidity of change during this period. The ornate kerosene lamps, chandelier style gasoliers, and richly decorated ceiling fans that collectors prize so highly today are a reminder of how effortlessly - and frequently how gracefully - the new was combined with the old. Whatever new invention came along, however innovative it might be, the Victorians felt comfortably at home with it."

I think that perhaps today, an effort to do the reverse needs to be made. Today, too many people shed lifestyles and homes like snakes shedding their skins today. We need to change, there is no doubt however, so many have shed so much that their connection with the past is lost. We need to learn to effortlessly and gracefully combine the old with the new again - not necessarily because we need to practice accepting the new but in an effort to embrace the past and where we come from.


  1. Anonymous6:32 AM

    I am in absolute and full agreement on this one!

  2. Love the quote and now will be on the look out for the book. I agree so much that our society has become a disposable one. These mega-subdivisions with characterless home in which people drive into their garages, close the doors, never to see the souls who live just steps away...sad.

  3. Yes our homes should be places of beauty, a place of refuge, a place for family to love and be together. All too often today our homes are just bland fashion statements, or a display of wealth or just a pit stop on the rat race.

  4. Anonymous1:39 PM

    mrs blythe,

    I agree too often they are bland fashion statements or a display of wealth - sometimes mine veers into the lane of pit stop... ;(