contact paper – origins of an outsider art collection

February 6, 2008 at 5:53 pm 1 comment

(december 1968)
This photo made people laugh at my mother’s funeral.

My friends had only heard the stories, which had become legend, so when this photo popped up in a tribute to her, first there was a murmur and whispers, then outright laughter as the realization of what significance this photo truly had.

My mom had a thing for contact paper.  For a period of my life, she liked to cover just about everything in the stuff.  The toilet, the wooden table, and the best…the stove and refrigerator.  Please note how it matches the wood grained paneling.  As the electric stove would heat up, it caused the contact paper to contract…leaving the white enameled appliance to show through the split in the seams.  So she logically took a black magic marker and added yet another paneling-matching stripe to her creation.  

There are a few other “tells” of childhood hidden in this photo – please note the bottles on top of the refrigerator (there was a party soon to be had. Always.) – and my particular favorite, the plastic flowers.  Mom loved flowers, but not gardening.  Plastic was just as good, and much, much easier.  And so “planted” in all of the flower pots outside were plastic geraniums.

Growing up, the sounds of spring included the returning birds, and the rattle of spray paint cans, as Mom would be outside “touching up” the faded geraniums from the previous year.  

Maybe this is a clue to why I fee so at home with the artists I meet on the road.  I get to visit a little bit of my mom’s spirit.  Ingenuity, resourcefulness, and not really worrying about the “norm”.  The concern of coloring outside the lines of the box doesn’t matter if you don’t notice the box.


Entry filed under: childhood memories, contact paper, mom, outsider art, queenodesign.

snow…and weather in general The Lasters v. The Tornados

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. steve curtis  |  April 2, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    great story Kelly.


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