Monday, 4 January 2016


It never occurred to me to me that that vestigial “pepper” dangling off a tomato pincushion had a special purpose—I thought maybe it was just to segregate the pins from the needles, but it’s really pretty keen I think that it’s resonant and gets people talking and maybe appreciating the neglected knitting-basket in the corner.
The Victorian Era design (introduced as seamstresses and tailors became more common and pins less dear—being kept under lock and key in prior ages) invokes a belief that a tomato on the mantle (as was the fashion at the time) of a new home would ward off bad luck. If no tomato was available, the new occupants would improvise with something of that general shape and colour and the sampler work of making a tomato pincushion served a dual purpose—as did the composition of the hassock itself—the tomato being stuffed wool wadding to prevent rust and the little strawberry was filled with sand to sharpen the pins, though superfluous now due to the way pins are manufactured and treated so as not to dull and are considered disposable now. I wonder what other sorts of surprises are lurking in the design everyday, maybe antiquated things.