This blog collects notes from Höfen, a small village in Southern
Germany, where Kathrin from public works was living and working for
Conny and Ernst are running a small lace making factory in the
next village Rattelsdorf.
Hardly anyone knows about it and embroideries and textile industry
is not associated with the area. Their manufacturing business here
is the result of many movements within what has for a long time
been a global textile industry.
Conny's grandparents had an embroidery factory in Plauen, and after
Germany was split in two, her father decided to leave the DDR, and
came to West Germany, then got a good position at an embroidery
factory in Pakistan. Later he started work at a small embroidery in
Breitengüssbach, which is 6 km away, and started his own business
in Rattelsdorf in the 1970ies. The machines are from Plauen, and
they are the embroider's equivalent of the Heidelberger printing
machines - they run for decades, and move on from modernising/dying
factories to countries where it's still profitable to use them.
Conny and Ernst sold one machine to Turkey last year.
Ernst is from an area in Austria that is very well know for its
whitework embroideries, and his family has also been involved in
embroidery for generations.
In Rattelsdorf they keep the machines running and produce mainly
curtains for what Conny calls the "countryhouse-style" niche, and
they're distributing to small shops which can't get small runs from
the wholesalers. And as Conny says, it's their lifeblood that keeps
10 ducks arrived in their new home.
On day three they ventured out of their shed.
They have a lovely piece of the garden - all green with a small
pool and shady trees.
Until late September.
The latest fashionable orange nail varnish enters our lives on
Friday evening, it's a freebee with Harper's Bazar, which DJ
brought back from London. On Saturday evening we all have orange
finger nails, just in time for the annual village "Johannisfeuer" - a
bonfire to mark Saint John's Day, but surely a pagan thing deep
down. Theodor announces: "the soul is orange".
The "Beavertail" tile has been in common use until larger
industrial tiles in a range of other shapes and colours came on the
market. The Beavertail tile can be made from local clay, using just
a simple metal frame and wire. We made some together with Herrn
Back during the
clay workshop last year. We also discussed making the clays for
the chapel refurbishment ourselves as a village, but the costs
would roughly be Eur 3000, and considering that the tiles to be
replaced are only 60 years old, it makes little economic nor
historical sense. Besides the fact that village spirits are still
kind of running low, and group exercises aren't particularily
popular. So the chapel gets brand new tiles from the factory - this
time with two noses. The old one had one "nose", the hook to fix
the tile, and the tilemakers could often be identified by the nose
Tuesday, 21st June at 21.45.
Andi asked me to document the renovation - well , the complete
refurbishment - of the chapel. I'm updated on the building work
schedule, and today they took down the top of the tower, which
needs to be enlarged to host the automated bell system. Living
right in front of the chapel this is a very feasible task and I
wouldn't even have to leave our front room, but it's always good
fun to be standing around in the street for a while.
A few entries ago I was joking about the concrete planter that
has been sitting in front of the chapel for decades and has
recently been removed for the upcoming refurbishment work. I just
found out that it's gone for good, and my response to Andi and
Holger was that they should have considered its potential historic
value. What if it would have still been there in 2080? What a
treasue it would have been - plain no-nonsense concrete design from
the 1970ies. Hard to replace.
Wild strawberries, plenty of them in the woods at the
Rosa is not
ringing the bell anymore.
The clock is stuck on half past three.
The flowers are gone.
Groups of people are seen in front of the chapel gesticulating.
The current chapel has been built 60 years ago, and it's not in
any way modernist or brutalist, it's just the village chapel, but
preservative arguments are running versus tidy-it-all-up mentality.
It's hard to judge whether it's just pragmatism or plain
aesthetics, but things like the front door are going to stay, but
the tiles will be replaced. The outside will be repainted, the
clock tower will get automated, and no-one knows if the nice plain
concrete flower planter in the front will survive. There is a
tendency for more timber and woody looking things in any public
space around here.