Text by Holly Seng
Before Trish Failla and her daughter, Taylor, launched Vintageblessings, an online source for antique textiles, they were enthusiastic collectors who enjoyed finding pieces to add to their ever-growing collection. The pair began by selling a variety of vintage wares in a booth at their local antiques mall until they discovered eBay in 1998, which proved to be the perfect marketplace and allowed them to start selling worldwide. So, they shifted their business online and narrowed their focus to heirloom quilts and linens.
“Every quilt that I come across, I think about the person who made it and [their] life,” says Trish. “I think that the history is important—and that [collectors] have something that’s one of a kind, not mass-produced.”
Trish’s love for quilts is heavily influenced by her late grandmother, Virginia Hartley, who raised three girls on a farm in Missouri during the Great Depression. Since fabric was too expensive for many people to buy at that time, feed sack companies began printing bags of feed in floral prints, even competing to make the prettiest designs so the bags could be repurposed to make clothing.
“She would send my grandpa to the general store with a scrap of a feed sack in his pocket, and he had to go through all of the bags to find the one with that print,” says Trish. “The very smallest scraps went into the quilt scrap pile, and that’s why during the Depression era, you’re going to see really tiny pieces in the quilts.”
With new acquisitions from auctions, flea markets, and estate sales across the United States, the company’s inventory is constantly evolving, including antique quilts dating from pre-Civil War to the Great Depression in a plethora of patterns. However, Depression-era quilts will always hold special significance for Trish. “[Depression-era quilts] are the most colorful and cheerful quilts that you’ll ever find,” she says. “To me, that says something today: take what you have and be cheerful; be hope-filled.”
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