When it comes to opening Christmas presents, some people would say I am the ultimate Scrooge. I have a system. Everyone who opens Christmas presents with me is issued with a pair of scissors; this is so they can carefully cut the cellotape without ripping the paper. I am there to collect all the used paper, smooth it out and then save it for use the following year. I can’t help it; I have been like it for most of my adult life. I can’t stand to see all that paper wasted and I see the potential for saving money, the following year, on buying wrapping paper; it means that I have more money to spend on presents. This weird habit of mine springs to mind when I look at this tea towel. Why? I remember buying some wrapping paper from the RSPB catalogue, which was very similar to this tea towel, the same pale blue background, the same sort of well drawn animals and conjuring up the same feeling that Christmas had arrived. This was about 20 years ago and it was only two years ago that I used the last of that recycled/reused paper. It was sad when I had no more paper left.
When I saw this tea towel in Holt, Norfolk, I knew I had to buy it because it would always remind me of my favourite Christmas wrapping paper. The fact is that if you see an Emma Bridgewater tea towel at a distance you would always be able to name the artist. Emma Bridgewater has such a distinctive style – bright, vibrant, full of movement with excellent drawings, not cartoons but detailed craftsmanship. Look at her penguins, they not only capture the stance but also the colouring with that pale shading of yellow around the edges of the brilliant white chests. I like the fact that the ‘canvas’ is full; certainly not minimalist. I can find minimalist difficult sometimes. I love her use of the pale blue background with white snow spots; it reminds me of those bright, snowy, December, winter days. The sort of days that you only associate with Christmas time.
I don’t think that the wrapping paper I bought from RSPB, all those years ago, was designed by Emma Bridgewater (although I might be wrong) but this tea towel does so remind me of it and the joy I had using it, and only giving it to people who were going to unwrap their presents in front of me so I could recycle/reuse the paper! How mean can you get? But I do love those memories. You don’t get wrapping paper (or tea towels) like that these days!
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