Two themes: the legacy of Grandmothers, and looking at old things with fresh eyes, have been on my mind of late. I have written often about my maternal Grandmother, Sylvia, who just passed away. But here and there, you may have also noticed a few mentions of my paternal Grandmother, Hilda, particularly in reference to the vases that I inherited from her.
Grandma Hilda developed alzhemier’s when I was quite young, so I never had a chance to develop as close a relationship with her as I did with Gramma Sylvia. But she is still there: in my eyebrows, in my love of small things, my manual dexterity (traits all passed down to her granddaughter, Solvi)… And in the vases from her vast collection, which I’m coming to love more and more.
When my father sold his house and many of the vases as well, he invited me to select some for my own home. A few were obvious choices, pieces I’d always loved, and these I proudly displayed. Others I felt some connection to, but could never quite identify how they fit in with my life or design scheme. These are the vases that I unearthed today.
I’m so happy I did. Both pieces are my favorite combination of beautiful, but also slightly macabre. The electric green of the Vaseline “vase” (it’s actually a cordial vial) against my pale blue walls is fresh and striking. But its absinthe hue is also a wee bit sinister, especially when paired with Oliver’s bone collection which somehow made its way onto the mantel. And though it’s delicate and lovely, one cannot escape the spectral association of the Victorian tulip vase.
I cannot believe that I was ever in doubt about these stunning vessels. But now I’m quite delighting in them. To me they are a lesson that great design is personal and never fixed. And they are a reminder of a grandmother that I didn’t really know, but whose connection I feel none-the-less.