Easter Table Linen from Poland

Celebrating the Christian tradition of Easter includes a meaningful new decoration at our house this week.  Our friend, Lena, who has ancestors from Ukraine and Poland, gifted our family with a mint-condition, vintage, European textile.

The linen table runner features a lovely woven basket full of Easter eggs, tulip and daffodils representing new life in Christ.  The linen is bordered in decorative pussy willow branches, which Eastern European Christians have traditionally carried on Palm Sunday instead of palm branches.
The textile is woven from linen, the material that comes from flax straw.  The label denotes that the table covering was made by a company in Zyrardow, Poland.  Lena's late father brought it back from a trip to Eastern Europe in the mid-1990s.  The packaging, printed entirely in Polish, indicates that the company has been around for 160 years.  This ties it into the history of Zyrardow, the little factory town named for Frenchman Philippe de Girard, who invented the mechanical linen spinning mill. 

The 95 cm by 48 cm table runner is constructed of a medium-weight weave, with neatly sewn finished edges.  The design is mostly woven into the fabric, with some dark brown accents apparently stamped on the surface of the cloth.  The label features a pretty field of flowering flax plants, a nod to the top quality material used in the weaving process.

You can read a detailed account of how the textile industry created the town of Zyrardow at Donna Pointkouski's site, What's Past is Prologue.  Here's an accurate You Tube video by a museum interpreter who explains how to turn flax straw into linen.

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