Tea Cosy, T93.0144
Our Object of the Week is a tea cosy that was given to Gladys (Porter Clark) and Clayton Hyde Forsey on the occasion of their wedding in September of 1933, 84 years ago.
This simple household object is made special through the use of silk, hand-sewing and the embroidery of oranges and orange blossoms on both sides.
The cosy is stuffed with kapok: fine, silky fibres from the fruit walls of capsules from the kapok tree. Kapok is often referred to as ‘silk cotton’ and is extremely light, insulative and repels moisture. It was popular as a filler for things like pillows, stuffed toys and life jackets (low density, good buoyancy!) until synthetic materials replaced it. Kapok has had a resurgence in recent years as it is a recyclable, biodegradable and nonallergenic fibre but the short, brittle fibres are difficult to spin unless blended with cotton and is highly flammable so its uses are limited.