Afew years ago I ran across an amazing guy called Harold Tichenor. He’s a woodsy guy, makes films, likes to live off the grid. Smart. Unassuming. And he has a wicked fetish for Point blankets.
There are few objects more quintessentially Canadian. Point blankets are found in the “blanket box” at the foot of the bed in every cottage, cabin, fishing lodge, Bed & Breakfast and resort in the country. They have been the warmest, coziest and coolest bedding accessory in Canada for over 300 years.
“It’s even whispered, up Canada way, that ancient trappers, long since retired into town, can still hear the horned owl hoot, the woodpecker hammer its way to a grub, and the white-throat’s silver singing, when they pull a Point blanket closer around their ears on a winter’s night.” – from The Beaver magazine, June 1941.
After finishing his first book for the HBC – The Blanket: an Illustrated History of the Hudson’s Bay Point Blanket, Harold asked me to design his self-published, definitive work – The Collector’s Guide to Point Blankets of the Hudson’s Bay Company and Other Companies Trading in North America. Yes, the title is a bit of a mouthful, but it has become a standard reference for antique dealers, curators and textile lovers all over the world. Harold tells me the book is still selling steadily and you can order a copy directly from Harold’s site.
This isn’t Martha Stewart. It’s a thoughtful and colourful presentation of research into the dating and valuation of these blankets, and a discussion of their history, manufacture and care. There is an extensive label identification section, as well as a lively discussion of the cultural role that Point blankets played in both Canadian life, and that of the peoples of the First Nations of North America.