When wallpaper was the stuff people pasted and hung on walls, rather than the screen saver of a mobile phone or computer, I worked for a wallpaper company. We used the term ‘distressed textures’ to classify designs that did the role of a plain paper, but were more broken up and patchy. Some mimicked flaking plaster, rusted metal or grungy wood, others were abstract.
Designers took inspiration from all walks of life, and mood boards of patterned objects decorated the studio: inspiration for themed collections with titles such as Cairo and Great Plains.
I was reminded of those mood boards last month at the Ag Museum in Jackson, MS, where visual treats were everywhere, hidden in plain sight. Inspiration for Agricola, I imagined: a contemporary homage to farm implements.
You might imagine old agricultural items would be utilitarian colours, but if that’s how these started out, time has evidently mellowed and played tricks with them. If you took the time to search out colour on painted metal or wood, it was sweet: red-pink and turquoise, with patches of green, sand and lilac. And rust.
Some of the patterns and combinations were baffling. What could have made the wiggly pink lines in the image above? (I’ve been advised that what I call ‘pink’ should more properly be termed ‘barn red’. I don’t suppose the distinction much matters, unless you’re a farmer who doesn’t fancy having a pink tractor.)
When my eyes linger, I’m struck by the subtle variety of colours – there’s a whole array in just the pedals. Here are a few more examples:
After a while, you start to find glimpses of colour even in plain old rust:
I did not expect to leave an Agriculture Museum celebrating textures, or at least, not in such vibrant colours as these.
All images were taken at the Mississippi Agricultural & Forestry Museum, 1150 Lakeland Dr, Jackson, MS 39216-4728.
If you’re planning to visit, check out the Doctor’s Herb Garden. It’s looking good!
48 Replies to “Finding Distressed Textures at an Agriculture Museum”
Great abstractions and colors.
I’m glad you liked them.
Fabulous. Love these
How wonderful are these? And what an interesting life you appear to have had. Many thanks for sharing.
Ooh, it’s been thrilling. I just need some way to fill the 7.30 to 8 Friday night gap now Corrie has gone back half an hour.
Only kidding. Can’t complain!
Love all the textures and colours, but Barn Red? Who’s kidding who? That’s definitely pink! And the patterns look like the scribbly gums in Australia – the zig-zag tracks or ‘scribbles’ are made by the moth grub. I suspect not the reason for your trails.
The scribbles are a mystery. It vaguely reminded me of Dutch Elm disease. I can’t imagine anything eating metal, but that probably means my imagination needs beefing up.
That’s a fantastic series of photos! I love all those textures. They’re really beautiful.
Thanks, Amy. I was happy to find them.
“Barn red”? I don’t think so. That aside: what a glorious collection. I will say I’ve never seen colors like these in decaying farm equipment, and I can’t help wondering if environmental conditions might help to create them. It would be interesting to compare levels and sorts of oxidation on different equipment brands, too. The base metals might make a difference.
I was quite struck by the design on the seventh photo down. It recalled something I photographed on a local crepe myrtle tree some time ago. Art imitates life, and all that.
I see what you mean – it looks just the same, although it clearly isn’t. I did search the colours out, although textures were all around.
The textures and colours here are delightful and would look great in mixed-media art. I haven’t come across ‘barn red’ before, but then I’m in the UK – it’s all pink to me, hehe!
I dare say there are lots of British fairy princesses wearing barn red dresses, unbeknown to them.
I so appreciate seeing these through your eyes; I have the hunch I wouldn’t have noticed any of these patterns and textures.
I could easily have missed them if I’d not been there for some time.
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