Hats off to women in salvage

Posted on | By Sara Morel aka Reclaimed Woman
Oxfordshire, UK - Did I fall in love with salvage because I am a woman? Reading the interviews in the Salvo Hats Off to Women series, celebrating women in salvage at this year's Salvo Fair got me thinking. Do women in particular love salvage and if so, why?

Thornton Kay, senior partner of Salvo described the response from women to reclaimed materials in the seventies. The Daily Telegraph attracted 3 whole sacks full of mail, which were mostly from women after an article on Walcot, one of the first architectural salvage yards.

'They wanted to buy. They liked the story, durability and craftsmanship and preferred it to new soulless stuff. Women didn't like the crazy waste of throwing things away in the first place'.

Perhaps there is an explanation in the innate 'make-do-and-mend attitude, born out of a nurturing tendency to look after things' said Deb Davies-Tutt of Ashwells Reclaimed Timber.

In search of a more sustainable existence to the buy fast, have now, think later mentality, I found salvage. Most of the women interviewed agreed that salvage was not gender specific, but an expression of individuality, a sense of warmth and character that make one feel connected to the past. Possibly the perfect 'Investment Piece' that women particularly are encouraged to seek as the answer to guilt-free shopping.

'I don't think women love salvage or reclaiming anymore than men do. But…society has tended to reward women who express an interest in homemaking (rather than homebuilding). I think women are encouraged to think about relationships and connectedness, and I feel that this plays out in consumer choices', Planet Vintage Girl Laura Gaither.

I will forgive the man in the shoe shop for pushing a pair of shoes as a 'forever piece', as he has helped me answer my question. If anything can solve our search, then surely mid-19th century salvaged doors, once in France, now one of the few pairs that will remain part of my shoe wardrobe forever.

The mid-19thC mauve shoe wardrobe reclaimed doors supplied by UK Architectural Heritage. See the link to follow Style Salvo and more from the journey of her reclaimed renovation.

The 'Hats off to Women' theme for Salvo Fair 2016 celebrates women working with architectural antique and reclaimed materials. Those who buy and sell, design with, write about, and reuse architectural and garden antiques, salvage and reclaimed materials are invited to participate.

We would love all women working at, and visiting the Salvo Fair on Trade Day, Friday 17th June to participate in a massive group photo, which will be a momentum of our celebration of women working in the salvage trade. Plus tea, cake and short impromptu talks. A short talk with your personal experiences and tips for working or designing with salvage would be very welcome. So hat or no hat if you work in or with salvage selling or designing you are cordially invited to join in.

Ashwells Reclaimed Timber Salvo Directory 09 Aug 2005

Planet Vintage Girl Salvo Directory 28 Nov 2012

Reclaimed Woman
Salvo Fair

Story Type: Feature