To Mark It

My mother doodled when she talked on the phone.  When she talked on the phone, she sat either at the dining room table, the long curly cord swagged to the kitchen wall or on her bed, cross-legged with her Princess Streamline like a teenager.

Provided with an endless supply of scrap paper in the form of unopened bills, she would mark the backs of envelopes with pointy stars embellished with dots, pyramids of spirals that ended up looking like rose bouquets and an odd collection of dots and dashes, seemingly random, that always resulted in different, pleasing patterns.

Rather than covering the paper she would often trace her initial designs again and again until they were as dense and distinct as fresh tattoos.

I was reminded of all this when I spied Temo Callahan's kraft paper lamp shade in House Beautiful.  Decorated for Callahan by a friend with marker, it is infinitely charming, exponentially personal.  Seeing the shade makes me want to know both the owner and the artist.  Every life, every home should have just such a thing.

Image, House Beautiful, March 2012, photography Francesco Lagnese.  This particular issue had to be rescued from Dexter, who chews my books and magazines if I have neglected him too long.  We are both learning.