This post is more about Maria’s grand-daughter Manuela who inspired me to do the “Maria Palm Clutch”. I was in Trieste (Italy) at the Wind store trying to understand my lack of internet connectivity (which was because I was living amongst the trees where technology is clearly forbidden) and to finally purchase a sim card as it had been a good 30 days on my “disconnect from society”. The Wind representative didn’t speak fluent English and so a young woman with her hand bandaged happily assisted. I immediately had to ask her what happened to her hand as I am an injury queen. Who knew, from that moment, I would forever hold this person dear to me.
Manuela, not only was suffering some painful hand injuries from a sailing mishap (so adventurous this one), but also the loss of her Grandmother. One evening over wine and appetizers, after we got the preliminaries out of the way like friends, life, travel, men, as new friends have lots to catch up on, I finally asked about her Grandmother.
It was coincidental that Manuela had just been to her house that day, as they are in the process of having to clear her belongings, and she brought home a few characteristic items; lots of small clocks, lots of books showing and tallying every expense…every single one from way way way back, beautiful handmade linens that are still durable after 50+ years, and an assortment of handkerchiefs.
Plus a box of letters. It was almost too unbelievable, so movie-esque, as Manuela and Grandmother both share such interesting pasts, yet Manuela added more depth to hers when she discovered the hidden letters. I will keep her personal life as a well kept secret but you just need to know it is best selling book worthy. I also knew I needed to make a bag specifically for Manuela and Maria.
Trieste has so much history; so much beauty your eyes get tired and so much sadness your heart will weep. Manuela’s knowledge of both is endearing.
So the Maria bag is born. It had to be vintage and it has taken me 7 months to put it all together. I did get the fabric and zippers during my stay in Italy. Plus the icing on the cake had to be the handkerchiefs. Going to vintage markets, which in the Western hemisphere means flea market or garage sale, but in Europe means you probably can’t afford the good stuff. So I went to several in search of handmade handkerchiefs. Which I also discovered, from Manuela and a trip to Venice, that all the Italian embroidering and lace etc is a dying art form. I can’t say for sure if the handkerchiefs in these purses are collectors items but the story alone is a keepsake.