Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Wanted: an array of Vera napkins.

My dear friend Sarah is getting married in September, and she is graciously letting me help her plan some of the wedding details. Which is fabulous, because I love Sarah and I love planning weddings. It means two of my favorite things wrapped into one.

So, not to spoil too many of her surprises, but she is planning a late summer/early fall wedding... in VERMONT! She and her fiance Aaron plan to host the event at his mother's farm, and the whole affair is to be casual and easy going and totally perfect. I believe there will be lawn games (bocce ball anyone?). Of course there will be delicious food (although I understand no meatballs). Her colors palate is pretty loose, and since the bride and groom are easygoing folk, I know the wedding will be so much fun. They are planning to get the freshest flowers from a local farm the day of the wedding, whatever is the best in bloom, and we will arrange them ourselves.

The other amazing details is she plans to use all sorts of mismatched and colorful vintage napkins as part of the decor. And even better, she has put me in charge of securing them all. This is a dream come true, as I am an avid fan of the vintage Vera Neumann linens and textiles I often stumble across on eBay and etsy. For those of you not familiar, Vera Neumann was an American artist and entrepreneur. She is best known for her bold colored patterns on her linens and scarves, signed with her script "Vera" and a ladybug. With her husband, the two began to merge art and textiles in their home apartment. She was of the belief that fine art should not just be for the wealthy. It should be available to all and it should be incorporated in everyone’s every day routine through clothing, scarves and accessories, and linens. Vera had the philosophy that you should change the art around you every once in a while because you soon stop seeing it.

As you can see, Vera Neumann's designs are simultaneously modern AND organic, graphic AND natural, and just all over lovely. I have been scouring eBay and vintage sites trying to score deals on napkins. So far I have collected 32 napkins, featured here, and Sarah has purchased 29. So we need at least 89 more lovely Vera beauties (or Vera-like beauties) to complete the look.

So, two important questions for the blog-o-sphere our there.
1) Do you have a collection of mismatched or complete Vera napkins that you would like to donate or sell to the cause? Email me with photos and descriptions and we can work out a deal.
2) Do you have any creative ideas about how to integrate these napkins into an overall decor?

I eagerly await your feedback.

p.s. This Design Sponge blog article really showcased Vera Neumann's work and process, and my favorite overpriced but lovely store, Anthropologie, is resurrecting and paying homage to the designer with a special line sold in their stores (Check out the New York, New York dress. If I was tiny, I would buy it and wear it everyday).


Jen said...

I don't own any of these wonderful napkins, but I will keep my eyes out for them when I go thrifting and/or antiquing. Do you have a price range?

Myra said...

If you are ok with making napkins, I saw a line of quilting cotton SOMEWHERE on the web, maybe Fabric.com???

Kate said...

Jkubenka - We are hoping to keep the price tag at $2 per napkin or less, which is proving challenging for the Vera brand. So far I have been able to pay less for some and more for others, rounding out the price to keep things in budget. The most expensive part is shipping what I buy online, as that feels like a "wasted" expense.

Myra - We are trying to avoid making our own napkins, unless of course we stumbled on a perfect Vera Neumann print. When running the numbers, it proved nearly as expensive to make all the napkins as buy a lot of them thrifted. Unless of course you know of a VERY affordable seamstress, in which case, send me her name.

Sarah said...

I love your style. I really think you would be a successful planner entrepeneur. Maybe someday I can hire you for your great party ideas!!

Anonymous said...


Wanted: some posts on sewing.
You know, marvelous vintage dresses... Drapey skirts... Cute tops...that sorta thing