Eh, Better: Wall Swallows


In this installation of “Eh, Better” I take plastic “wood grain” wall art swallows and make them “Eh, Better!”

You may be able to relate to this phenomenon, but I have a gut-reaction to tacky decor from my childhood. The decor that backdrops my earliest early years. Memories from this era are from so far back that really all I remember are shards and fragments of places or events: the smell of a basement den, or the corduroy overalls I was wearing, or a goofy laugh I heard from down the hall. Semi-surrealistic parts of a reality, circa 1979.

The memories are bleary, but I remember this: the decor was bad.

My mom had a cool friend named Peggy. She was sweet and I loved her. But her kitchen was dated and terrible. Glossy tiles mottled with brown and depressed olive-green. Brown macrame plant hangers above the sink. Earthenware plates with explosive pop florals. And owls. Owl wallpaper, owl “art” hung from a dowel rod, ceramic owl figurines, owl terry towels, and one big owl clock. Wow.

Owls have made a funny retro comeback lately, and I just can’t embrace it. To me, owls don’t look clever or cute or quirky. They just look that they somehow made it out of Peggy’s kitchen and I wish would go back in. Back in 1982; seal the vault.

At a garage sale the other day, I came across a trio of swallow “wall art” pieces. They were definitely from a tacky time, when plastic birds with faux bois finish were so cool. But for me, they were acceptable, as they weren’t my early-childhood-awful. Swallows have become too-trendy – just look at etsy – but I don’t mind their over-exposure because they remind me of classic tattoo art (and that’s always good). So these were a cool find for me. (And they were only 25 cents each so, um: yeah.)


Very cool, yes, but the fake-wood finish was not-so-cool. I wanted these wallbirds to give a nod to retro decor, not shout it, so I knew I wanted to update the finish for a more modern look. And because these babies were going into my daughters’ room, I decided on a fresh coat of straight-up white. My daughters and I painted their room a cool lavender-latte color and the white will look very cool, I think.

Trendy-cool white swallow wall art from plastic-crap wallbirds? Eh, better!


Put a Bird On It