Cultural Diversity: How Big Is Your World?

Life Lesson #11: We learn about Life when we look beyond ourselves


Besides being familiar with the inevitable “bandana print,” this Texas native’s earliest exposure to now-vintage linens was in the form of embroidered pillowcases and (usually) pineapple-patterned crocheted doilies.  Thank you, Grandmother.

American linens

More about my family linens HERE


Occasionally, I was influenced by our neighbor to the south…





…or my next-door neighbor. I was only 4 years old when I moved away from Mr. and Mrs. Manny, but I still have vague memories of the tapestry-lined walls in their home.


Belgian tapestry



My first trip abroad was to England where I discovered a huge duffle bag charity shop after charity shop full of gorgeous linens–and where my love affair with the delicate arts of yesteryear began.


English whitework

English whitework linens


Italian embroidery

Italian embroidery linens


Norwegian Hardanger lace

Hardanger1 copy - Version 2


Swedish embroidery



Irish crochet



Chinese embroidery and applique



Indian block printing



A few years ago I was exposed to the fabric of yet another country. Thank you, Kay.





And, of course, I have some beautiful handpainted textiles from…




See this beauty in a tablescape HERE


But the crème de la crème of handworked textiles come from…


Madeira, Portugal

Madeira linens


I’ve spent hours learning about many different styles and techniques through the linens of various countries. I’ve expanded my horizons and broadened my appreciation for cultures other than my own, but I’ll admit: I’m a lot more comfortable with culturally diverse linens than I am in a room where I don’t speak the language–or recognize the food.


How about you?


  1. What fun to see examples from your collection, Susan! Gorgeous! The Swedish embroidery reminded me that when my mother was my Brownie leader, she taught us that technique and we all made hand towels. Can’t you just see a group of eight year olds bent over their needlework?

  2. Susan, I love all of it. In love the different looks, styles and textures, and I think about the hands that created such incredible art.

  3. I love the angle you took here! It’s so interesting to see how different cultures express themselves with their linens!