Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Fan


Elegant Spanish Beauty by Bagnold Burgess (1830-1897)



18th century fans

In hot weather, I noticed that people who visit me will pick up a magazine or a piece of paper to fan themselves. We have an electric fan, which gives wonderfully cool air, but somehow, it is never close enough to a person's face. I was thinking how nice it would be if the personal fan was back in fashion. I have seen the little battery operated fans that attach to people's hats, and I've seen all kinds of other contraptions for personalized use, but none are as quiet or as pretty as the old fashioned paper fan.


The fan of the past had a great many other functions besides keeping a person cool. They were created as trade cards in the early 20th century. There were references to the fan in the Bible, in plays and dramas, and in books. I listened to an elderly man tell how he used to try to sit in church and get as close to the women with fans as he could, and if possible, sit between his mother and sister and all their friends. They would wave their fans and he got the benefit of the cool breeze in the hot room. It is too bad we don't have memories like that anymore.
If you have a luncheon planned or some kind of event for ladies, this craft might suit the occasion, even in winter months when crowded rooms can get a little warm. This is also a very easy children's craft and provides an opportunity to use up old papers and stickers.


This is a fan made on poster paper and covered with a left-over piece of old scrapbook paper. Odd pieces of wall paper would work, as well. It is trimmed with a piece of vintage gold ribbon that was used in gift-wrapping, and then finished off with a paper rose.





This one is made with a piece of pink poster board (cardstock will suffice), covered with half a paper doily and embellished with stickers. A hole puncher provides a place to thread a ribbon. Both these fans really do fan a nice breeze.



This one is a card, but it also "fans" quite nicely. It is made with stickers and glitter glue, on a parchment-look card stock.


Here is the inside, with a rubber stamped greeting.






This is a template pattern you can print yourself. I can see I need to learn to draw darker lines, but I think it will print out clearly enough. Just print it out on cardstock. If you use regular paper, glue the entire piece onto cardstock or poster paper for your templates. Cut them out and trace around them onto your favorite colored cardstock. Right-click to save to your pictures or documents, and then later click "print" and you should get the patterns without any problem.





The one below is a larger fan, but the smaller ones are every bit as effective when you need to fan yourself.

This is the card pattern. I hope it prints out okay.




You could print scriptures on them or write sayings. They might even be good to give to guests at a wedding.

32 comments:

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

When I was a child, I would sometimes attend the Methodist church in my small town with a friend and her family.

One of my fondest memories is the individual fans that were available at the church back then. Often with a sweet child or some pretty scenery on one side and (for some reason) a funeral home advertisement on the back?

I've seen such fans at antique stores from time to time, which makes me really feel old.

I love the idea of beautiful, feminine fans, too. :)

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

The doily fan is made to fit the paper doilies from Dollar Tree.

Cherish the Home said...

We recently attended an outdoor wedding and in place of a plain old program, they put all of the information onto 3 strips of paper and fastened it with a brad to form a fan. It was hot that evening so I was *very* thankful. (o:

Sabine said...

How sweet! I would like to see the fans other make from your patterns (with your lovely penmanship!). I'm thinking of making a fan or a greeting card. If I do, I'll take a picture and send you the link.

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

Sabine, please do. If I have time, I'll take pictures of other fans. I like this pattern because it requires no attaching of handles or folding of paper or threading anything through slats. I have made more complicated fans but these are very quick and easy. If you lack card paper, you can alway use cereal boxes, or any box, and cover it in paper.

jill said...

Lady Lydia,

This article on fans and their use in church brings to mind an article I would love to see you write! It is Saturday night as I am writing to you and I have just filled the crockpot with tomorrows after-church lunch, tidied the house, packed "the bag" we tote to church with diapers, snacks, hymnals, Bibles and fans! etc. ...Well, you get the idea and (I'm sure) you know the drill!

As a young mother (and even as a young wife without children) I really had no clue how to "prepare" for a smooth Sunday morning to get us off to church in a clean car with clean clothes, on time and with something prepared to eat when we came home! It can take a LOT of time to have a restful Sabbath!

A book that was quite helpful to me was written by Karen Burton Mains called Making Sunday Special. She actually re-made her calendar so that the week all went uphill toward Sunday! That way, she could visually think of Sunday as the pinnacle of the week and her whole week was geared toward preparing for worship on Sunday!

I found that when I began thinking about Sunday many days beforehand I stopped hating all of the exhausting last minute struggle to get out the door. With a large family even one lost shoe can still slow the entire process down even if it has been organized before hand but at least everything else is done!

Sorry for the length of this but it is Saturday night and I am remembering a younger me who simply had no idea how much time and commitment it could take to have a relaxing, enjoyable day of rest full of feasting and joy and relaxation!

Jill F.

Debbie said...

Hi Lydia,

Thank you for dropping by my blog and sharing your "recycled pet" story.

Your fans are sooo pretty....I am going to make a few for gifts using your instructions...thanks!

Best regards,
Debbie

Cindy said...

What a lovely idea! Thank you!! :)

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

Brenda: Yes! The fans had wooden sticks glued on to them, the same as large popsicle sticks, and they were in songbook racks in front of the seats, at church. The pictures were very very sweet, nostalgic pictures of children playing with a stick and ball, a swing, or pets, or Bible scenes of things like Ruth and Boaz. Both sides of the fan had something printed on them. I forgot to mention that in regard to my fans. You can use the other side and rubber stamp a saying or verse on it, or decorate it with a scene. There are some online clipart sites that have free pictures you can get. I think you just type in free Victorian clip art or free vintage clip art.

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

Brenda...the funeral home ad was there because they were the ones that usually provided the fans for the churches. I find that even in today's air conditioned buildings, women still need these individual fans! Air conditioning is nice, but it is expensive, and it doesn't really fan your face if you get over heated.

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

Please post your pictures if you do any fans. I think there are some great possibilities and probably you could do a much more elegant job .....

Jill....since it was Saturday, I almost posted something about "getting ready for church." You are right: most people make a mad scramble to get ready and end up not enjoying it. Monday is the best time to begin preparations. I start thinking about everyone's clothes on Monday, and get them all washed and ironed throughout the week. I start thinking about Sunday's meal on Monday and throughout the week get the shopping and prep. done. There are always those days when I've been not feeling well at the last minute so I am glad things are set up for a smooth Sunday. I will post about it at a later time but if you have a blog maybe you could write about it and I could link to it, for now. I always wondered how our mothers managed to take 7 kids in their best clothes, to church on Sunday and still have a roast in the oven for company...they just didn't have a lot of running around to do all week long, and they had a simpler life.

Anonymous said...

What lovely fans! Thank you for the templates.

Sue said...

Here in Japan they have never gone out of style. In summer you can see people everywhere fanning away. Women usually have the beautiful fold out type, and men use the type on a stick. You can also see women with parasols everywhere, along with wide brimmed hats, and long gloves to keep the arms and hands from getting too much sun! These are all lovely and practical at the same time.

Yesterday in church, though, I was fan-less and left using the church bulletin. I must remeber to keep a fan in my bag!

Kalianne@BygoneBeauty said...

Dear Lady Lydia,
Thank you for the fan patterns - I hadn't thought of making them before. We live in a hot climate and it's not unusual to see ladies at church using fans. My husband sits extra close to get the breeze from my fan on hot days ;).
~Lady Kalianne

Aelwyn said...

These are really beautiful! Thanks for posting them. It would be a great project for a girls' party or get together.

When I was a little girl, my mother had an ivory folding fan that my father had brought back from his business travels. It was a joy when she would allow me to take it out and carefully use it for a minute.

Aelwyn said...

Oh, and thanks for stopping by my blog and giving me some more rhubarb ideas!

Mrs. Anna T said...

Oh, I do love fans. I brought one for my grandmother, from Spain. She just loved it.

Becky said...

Hello lady Lydia,
Yes, it's ok to put my blog under international, please just mention Western Europe.THANKS !!!
Love your fans, by the way.

Becky

Barbra said...

Thanks for sharing this Lady Lydia. Yesterday we held our Sunday service in the compound and the sun was very hot, I wished I heard one of those fans. Thanks for the sketches, i now have no reason to wish...I can now go and make my own.

Thanks and God bless
Barbra

Anonymous said...

Dearest lady Lydia,

Though i've still to replace it, a couple of years ago, i purchased a beautiful wooden folding fan at a kitchen shop of all places, run by a Korean couple. They were selling these at the counter. entirely made of timber pannels very fine, decorated with filigree pattern and scented with sandalwood fragrance, this was beautiful! I think you'll be able to find such as these or paper fans in 'two dollar' shops, odds and ends shops in Asian districts or even oldie-worldie shops or candle/inscence/etc shops in your area. They're lovely. In one particular shop, cloth hand-fans were sold but these did not collapse easily. Also, if you have shops supplying the needs of the Japanese comunity, they'll have them - and nice cloth versions also; not so bulky, wiill fold easily.

Enjoy, \\Keep on fanning!!

Mrs. E.
Australia.

my house by the river said...

Dear Lady Lydia;

The fan is certainly a nice addition to your wardrobe in hot weather. Especially if you get hot and cold at odd times. My Mother in Law uses fans that she had made in Puerto Rico...the drawings are so pretty.

Thank you for sharing the pattern.

Many blessings,

mari

Elizabeth said...

Great idea!

Beth said...

It just means "whoever controls the training of the children, will control the world." Even those who do not believe this, were trained and taught attitudes by someone. Their current opinions may also be a reflection of something they learned while growing up. Feminism is a belief system that is taught from childhood in classrooms...so the expression is applicable.

Anonymous said...

My dear Grandmother, who lived in Florida, always had a fan in her pocketbook. I thought it such a lovely idea that I have also kept one in my bag every summer. My dear daughter is starting to carry one too. I think they are lovely. Gill.

abigailrose said...

Hello! I left a comment here earlier, but Blogger had an error, and I'm not sure if it went through or not. So if you get two similar comments from me, that's why! :)

I'm Abigail from Abigail Rose, by the way. I wanted to thank you for your lovely comments and to say that I would be honored if you would use one of my pictures in an article! :)

I hope you will share the link when it's published! I visit LAF every so often, but I want to make sure I don't miss it. ;)

-Abigail

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

Abigail Rose, your link doesn't work. Can you please email me ladylydiaspeaks@comcast.net. I already sent the modesty article in to laf but there will be time to add one of your outfits for the sewing sample of the article.

ladiestea.wordpress.com said...

What a welcome to read your fan post. I went online looking for fans and there are some out there to buy too. If I have a tea this summer, then I'll have to make or buy some fans to pass out. Ladies sipping tea and using a hand fan while wearing a new dress! What a nice thought.
Elizabeth

Donna said...

Thank you so much for the templates. I've been looking for such a solution to keeping cool with lady-like style.

Katrinka said...

These fans are beautiful and are so useful. Since I became 'of a certain age' it doesn't matter how cool the air is, if I'm having a warm moment, I MUST have air movement on my face to keep from feeling like I will pass out. I have a beautiful fold-out fan in my purse most of the time.

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

Katrinka, I agree: air conditioned rooms just do not provide the kind of breeze you need across your face when you get hot. The medium size fan is just right and you could make one for your purse, one for your bedside, and one for the table. I make them sometimes and decorate them for my guests at tea time, as drinking tea can make you hot, even in winter. They get to take them home after tea. You could embellish them with buttons and ribbons or stickers.

Anonymous said...

I have been in "church" for the last 25 years... and remember the times through out the years visiting poorer churches, where air was almost nonexistent... and all the ladies would have fans... and these are really sweet memories, no one complaining, just wanting to be in the house of God worshiping and all dressed up too...

Lisa of Longbourn said...

A thought struck me as I read your post, mentioning that guests pick up a magazine to fan themselves. What if a fan or two decorated coffee tables and end tables alongside the magazines?
That way we can promote the pretty and practical use of fans to our guests.
To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn

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