(From Martha Stewart Living, photograph by Gilles De Chabaneix)
I have always loved tea towels. My grandmother in her big farmhouse kitchen in England had a long row of cupboards and on each of the doors she had tacked up her favourite tea towels. One in particular was a striking fox sitting with a fox glove. Maybe it was these early memories of her kitchen that infused this passion for tea towels but I've been hooked on them for most of my adult life.
I love their colours, designs and whimsical themes. They give kitchens a boost of colour and a little personality.
Here are some examples of tea towels from the '60's showing off the fascination with psychedelic designs.
I use tea towels regularly in my kitchen. They are much better at cleaning up spills, polishing or even mopping up floors. They are are hardy, can take a lot of abuse and do a much better job in general than paper towels. Plus, then they just have to be washed and dried and then they are ready for action once again. Not all of them work for me however - some are kept pristine in the hot press but it's time I did get them out so their great designs can be seen and enjoyed.
(the four images above are from Martha Stewart Living, photographed by Amy Neunsinger)
Many were printed with maps and sold to tourists passing through. They are really quite a charming memento of a place albeit a bit tacky but that actually adds to their allure.
Here are some examples from my own collection. Many were bought on EBay but I also had great luck finding some in New York flea markets.