Kathy’s Excellent Artex Adventure

GH Needlework 1976 Artex Adventure

“It’s almost unbelievably easy to do your own thing – beautifully – with Artex Paints.” Yes, we can see that.

This mid-1970s ad features a lady with a little too much time on her hands – and way too many Artex Paints. What hasn’t she left her sinister mark on? Nothing is safe in that house! Her daughter’s jeans – while the poor kid is wearing them, while she’s trying to talk on the phone – Mo-om! What are you doing!

Grandma – who has been relegated to the housework – finds that her tablecloth has also been drawn on. She is trying to look pleased, without much success. Try harder, dear – Kathy will be very upset if you fail to find joy in her Artex magic! And heaven only knows what she’ll attack next, if she gets – upset…

Mr. Kathy, who seems to be a thirtysomething David Cassidy clone, has boldly brought his bicycle into the living room. That is a big no-no, David! You will be punished with a silly design on your denim shirt.

The baby, though – what the hell did the baby do to deserve Artex all over her birth certificate? Or is that weird rag doll under the certificate – the baby? Kathy brought it home and told everyone that was their new sister.

There were a lot of Kathys around 30-odd years ago, apparently – they had “Artex Adventure Groups” (shudder!) and went around, no doubt, wreaking havoc in the form of  Ball Point Painting. On suburban mailboxes. On the ranch houses of noisy, annoying neighbours. Perhaps in stores that failed to stock the right kind of craft supplies…

The pillows at the top are a subtext – see how one points a desperate arrow at the terrible paintings, and the other cries “STOP”? Succinct, yet so, well, obvious. Yes – please, please, STOP.

But look at Kathy – you think she’s going to abandon her excellent Artex Adventure? No way, José!

It’s like a whole new subculture, little-known, seldom talked about – this is evidence, right here in the middle of a Good Housekeeping Needlecraft magazine! Could be there’s a cultural anthropology article in here, somewhere. Somewhere – under all that paint.

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11 thoughts on “Kathy’s Excellent Artex Adventure

  1. That stuff was not all it was cracked up to be. The ball point clogged up alot and the finished result looked rather like someone felt penned their design on the fabric. No sad loss that it isn’t around anymore.

  2. I’m so glad you left me a comment so I could come check out your blog, you are hilarious! The part about Mr. Kathy almost made me spit coffee onto my laptop. Takes a real man to wear a denim shirt with ballpoint pen paint on the lapels. Way to be Metrosexual, Mr. Kathy ;)

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  5. My mother had these paints! These were the days long before Tulip, Scribbles, and other squeeze-bottle type fabric paints came along. I remember they would clog up really easily and the results were nowhere near as vibrant as in the pictures. I still have a couple of small pillows and a jacket that I painted with Artex as a child. :o]

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