Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Ryan's Flies, the traditional art of Fly-Tying with vintage French metal thread

As a textile dealer, I am always really thrilled to see pictures that show how people use the various types of antique and vintage textiles that they purchase from me. Ryan Housten is a very talented man, and has been making exquisite fishing flies like these for years now to championship levels, and has been buying vintage french gold and silver metal threads from me to use for his works of art:

'I first caught a fish at Kilkeel Harbour aged 4, a Coalfish or Blockan, and since then, I can't pass any form of water without having a look and wondering what is down there. I started tying flies in 1985 when I was 7 and caught my first 2 trout on flies I tied myself on the river Lagan in Northern Ireland. I haven't looked back, I woul only buy a fly to see how to tie it myself, sometimes I took them apart. I had been taught how to attach the tying silk to the hook, but since then everything else is self-taught, I have never taken a lesson.'

'I entered my first Fly Tying competition in 2007 just to see where I might stand in the list, to know how much I might need to improve. I won the Masters section of the competition and also the Irish Anglers open League. In 2009 I entered the Mustad Scandinavian Open, I placed in the top 10 in 9 out of 10 of the categories and won a gold medal in the Classic Salmon Open Pattern, and I have just won the Essential Fly Masters League.'

These vintage french threads are more often used in embroidery, but I have sold quite a lot in the UK and USA to keen Fly-Tyers, and find it very interesting, it must take a lot of patience and dexterity, but above all, real artistic talent.


  1. So beautiful...I would wear these as brooches, or put them on a hat!
    Stella xx

  2. Very interesting - I once had hundreds of obsolete glass reels (like large old linen reels)all from pre-war operating theatres,for sutures wound stitching, in many different sizes and jewel-like colours which I sold to embroiderers and tapestry workers for their gold and silver threads. I was surprised how many went to men as well and it turned out they were all tie-fly fishermen wanting reels for their special ties, colour coded for easy sorting.

  3. Interesting! Do you have a link to the gold and silver threads that you sell? I use metal threads in my jewelry and would be interested in looking at your website (I didn't see a link on your blog.) Thank you!

  4. Hi 'Edera Jewelry', lovely to hear from you, I am glad you find it interesting! Here is the address of my ebay shop: www.stores.ebay.co.uk/morgaine-le-fay-antique-textiles, it is in the list of 'Favourites' in the sidebar to the left, but a bit lost among all the other interesting sites! There are some thread and reels in my shop, but please contact me if you can't see what you are looking for, I may have something that isn't listed.

  5. Hi Stella, I agree, these glorious creations would look superb dressing a hat or lapel, what a brilliant idea!

  6. Hi Elizabeth, I hope you had a great trip to France. Your glass reels sound fascinting, I love antique and vintage French haberdashery. I think it is excellent that so many types of different people seek out such treasures for so many different purposes, especially the fly-tyers!