When Life Gives You Lint - Here's What To Do


Laura Bell of Roscommon, Michigan used lint from her dryer to make a 14' by 4' reproduction of Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper.

The AP reports:

Bell says she needed about 800 hours to do enough laundry to get the lint, and 200 hours to recreate the mural. She bought towels of the colors she wanted and laundered them separately to get the right shades of lint.

The people at Ripley's Believe It Or Not! were so impressed they bought it for their collection. According to their press release, Bell started her masterpiece in 2009 and it took some experimenting to get it just right:

Bell says she spent seven months saving the lint from her own dryer, but the problem was it was usually the same color. She tried laundromat lint, but it was always shades of gray and full of dog hair.

She took on this project to enter into a Grand Rapids art contest called Art Prize. The lure of the grand prize — $250,000 — kept her going through the months. (See my former blog post: The Numbers Are In And Art Prize Wins)

Sadly, she lost, but says she learned a lot about herself in the process of the making this piece. "I learned that I do have great patience," she said. Just on Philip the apostle, she spent 40 to 50 hours and she had to wait a long time to find towels that were just the right color orange.

Bell is not an artist, she's quick to note. She's a home health aid. Her kids, she said, thought she was crazy when she started doing this, but then as the piece started to come together, they became 'believers.'

In my fifteen years as an appraiser on Antiques Roadshow, I saw my fair share of unusual items, but "lint art paintings" were not among them.

But, wait - come to think about it, I believe someone did a portrait of Johnny Carson in belly button lint. Ripley's, if you are wondering, has several other "lint art paintings" - I wonder if that masterpiece is also among them and, if so, any guesses how much it's worth?

Do you have a major treasure on your hands? A historical relic? An antique car? A gown worn by a top celebrity? A baseball thrown by a hall of famer? A sketch by a famous artist? Or maybe just an old, obscure item that feels like it could be really valuable that you would like to see on TV? Reality TV-land beckons! Tell me about your wondrous, unusual, forgotten and famous treasure by emailing me at: info@auctionyourart.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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