Summer Book Project: Clotheslines

Black on Orange: I took this photo on the island of Burano, near Venice, where laundry lines were everywhere, even on the streets next to stores!

In 2011 my husband and I, with two other couples, went to Italy. It was the first time for everyone but my husband, who became our “tour guide.” While everyone else took pictures of historical places and structures, I became intrigued with clotheslines and the garments hanging from balconies as well as lines at eye level or high up. They reminded me of my younger days when life was simpler.

My brother Harry took this photo on his trip to Cuba.I call it “Sunnyside Laundry.”

In 2013, after an article I wrote about clotheslines appeared in Women’s Voices for Change and reprinted in The Philadelphia Inquirer, I had a call from Kathleen Artleth, a small gallery owner in Somers Pt., NJ, about one hour from here. (See her Irish Laundry photo below.) She had read the article in the Inquirer and wanted to do an exhibit of my photos of Italian clotheslines. She called it; Lavenderia: The Art of the Clothesline. (Here’s the original article posted in Women’s Voices for Change and then the Inquirer: WVFC RETRO: ITALIAN THREADS, LAUNDRY MEMORIES. Click on the title and it will take you to WVFC with text and more photos.)

Canal Clothes: Laundry hanging over the canal in Venice. Very risky!

Now, with the help of my friend Krista, I am working on a photo-journal book about clotheslines. Friends and family who travel have also contributed photos, so right now I have pictures from Italy, Cuba, Portugal, Burma, and Lancaster Count and Centre Counties, PA, where the Amish clotheslines are the most visible in the countryside.

This photo was taken by gallery owner Kathleen Arleth on a recent trip to Ireland. I told her I did not have any “Irish Laundry,” so she sent lots of photos. Thanx, Kathleen. Her gallery website is:

So if you don’t see postings twice each week this month and next, you will know that I am busy with laundry!  I also found a website: or .org (both) that I am investigating. In the meantime, here are some samples photos above and below:

Triple Lines Laundry: I took this on a trip back to State College to see my midwife, so this photo is from an area about one hour from State College where there are settlements or homes of Amish and Mennonites.


Tree Line: This is one of my favorites, taken on the way back from The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy. I found this scene much more interesting than a tower that could topple over.

I will let you know when the book is complete and available for sale. I am learning that many people have an affinity for clothes on a line as a way of reminiscing. Who knew?

5 thoughts on “Summer Book Project: Clotheslines

  1. This is awesome. I have that affinity too!!!! Used to have lots of clotheslines in Asia photos but think I have access to them anymore.

  2. Congratulations on your project and the creative
    idea! I remember our backyard clothesline
    and how wonderful it was to smell the dry
    clothes coming into the house. I have a cousin
    who refused to buy a dryer, because she wanted air-dried clothes.

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