VINTAGE OBSESSION #4: Potato baskets
Posted May 30th, 2013 by iacf
Interiors Journalist (and Vintage Shopping Addict), Ellie Tennant
True vintage addicts are never afraid to go the extra mile to get their fix of antique fodder. When their eye is on the prize, they’ll go to extreme lengths to source, collect and transport their fabulous finds home, often throwing logic, rationality, practicality, safety and sanity, to the wind.
I once spent an entire Sunday journeying from south London to Yorkshire and back again to pick up a rare black Ercol coffee table that was just £9.99 on eBay. Three overland trains, two underground trains, a bus and a taxi in each direction later, it still seemed worth it. While on holiday in Morocco, I transferred all of my clothes into huge zip-up plastic laundry bags in order to pack my suitcase (and my husband’s, much to his chagrin) full of fragile antique tableware. I’ve damaged the car boot by cramming in a gigantic leather trunk picked up at a car boot sale. I’ve staggered through the heaving crowds at La Braderie in Lille weighed down by enormous, bulky-yet-bargainous buys that made my hands bleed and my back ache, and caused a bit of a to-do on the Eurostar – all to feed my habit.
Last time I went on a vintage binge, I ended up lugging a large wire potato basket around for the whole day. Happily, although it was enormous, the handles meant it was comfy to hold and, in fact, it served as a useful container in which to carry all my other smaller purchases. It now sits in the bathroom filled with rolled-up towels, but it could be used as a log basket beside the fire, for storing fruit and veg in the larder, for toys, magazines, or as a laundry bin. Baskets like this were used for ‘the tattie harvest’ back in the day, designed to carry heavy weights and withstand bad weather and hard labour, so they’re incredibly robust. No wonder designer brands such as the achingly-cool trend-setting Danish label Ferm Living are churning out contemporary versions. With geometric wirework and generous proportions, they’re all very lovely – but I still prefer the real deal, in distressed zinc, preferably with a few imperfections or dents and bags (or should that be sacks?) of history.
Old Soul Salvage, Etsy