As I reach my hand into the bottom drawer of my desk I pull this out:
a few brave men
Paint chips are some of my favorite little objects in the world. I love the matte, powdery feel of the sample. Like just sanded pine. Soft and smooth, their book mark shape fits comfortably in the palm. The one (and I have many) labeled with names such as submarine, swamp fog, and fizzle has maroon crayon marks all over it. I can close my eyes and feel the transition from chalky pigment to waxy, bumpy lines. I can sit for hours running my fingers over these bits of color that please not only my eyes, but my fingers, too.
In this same drawer I have a small wallpaper sample book from 1978. Like the paint chips, the pages are not just food for the eyes. These sheets are rich with texture. The page called Williamsburg Fruit is durable and thick. They even suggest taking a hard brush to the orange and green fruits "It's Scrubbable!"
Some are so heavy and the designs raised so much that they actually feel like linoleum rather than wall paper. Maria is a favorite of mine with big pink and yellow posies that look like they are made of tissue paper on a creamy background. The texture is not of embossed flowers, though, but of raised little goose pimples all over the page. The kind you can''t help but run your fingers over again and again.
Barkley is the absolute best, though. It is a traditional decorative floral pattern that is almost Victorian in its ornate quality. With a milky background the pattern itself is a greenish gold. Every time I touch it, though, I am a little sad. It looks so much like a wallpaper that hung in our hallway when we were children. But the wallpaper of my childhood was velvety to the touch. Remember those funky types of papers? I loved, loved, loved this paper and to me it just felt rich in the way pure cream is rich. Or decadent the way strawberries are in January. Completely too much and out of place, but also very, very right. And fun. I look at Barkley and I want to feel that richness again. I want to run down the hall with my hand trailing the walls behind me.