THEY WANT MY S..S……SALAD!!
No lie, I was making a salad and turned around to see that! They weren’t there to steal my soul, but to steal my salad! Strange meal to celebrate National Cat Day, I think. There are so many in this small space at the end of October it’s hard to keep track of them all. From the left it’s Basil (looking out the window), Mr. Sunshine, Giuseppe, Jelly Bean in the back, Mewsette, Hamlet. Yes, the two ninjas in training have joined the main ninjas. Well, Basil is also a full ninja now and has been working on Hamlet, but sometimes he’s so silly, well, maybe some of his training isn’t done yet.
I gave everyone a treat after this photo. They are such amazing cats. From Sunday.
Below, from Friday…
Daily thermonuclear treatments are essential for feline beauty.
Mimi stretches on the arm of the rocker while I work on some proofreading, and we both enjoy a bit of a nice warm afternoon. She goes back and forth with how she feels, mostly okay, and she’s eating well and going well, but still not quite there. We have an appointment at the end of this week.
And later that day, what happens when you let the kids unpack the boxes. Basil and Bella were so excited about this last night they left dinner and spread the boxes and shredded the packing all over the room. The rest of the mess is mine, though. We love getting ready for a show—and that would be my upcoming poetry reading and art and photo show, “Walking Around”. Since the weather has gotten cold I’ve had very little supurrvision because all my fine felines are piling up in heaps in front of furnace vents, not that it comes on all that often.
All the above photos were first shared on Instagram.
Last week, not only was I beginning preparations for my show this week, but I also had two big regular design jobs in house. I usually try to keep these two jobs apart because working on them both in one week takes all my time. The took me longer because I was keeping a close eye on Mimi, who usually stays with me wherever I am but instead settled in the kitchen, so I had to go to visit her to see how she was feeling and give her medicines and treatments and meals between meals, and just a little time outdoors. I hate missing a whole week of blogging, but there was no way I could stay up any later to post. I’ll be a little scarce this week, and probably late with things…this was Sunday’s photo post. One positive thing is that I managed to fix the spamming that was filling my comments on my dashboard, and I hope I cam find everyone’s comments. I am determined to keep in touch.
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Cardboard Interpretations, a Four-year Retrospective
Mewsette’s Debut, Interpretive Cardboard Artist
It is four years since my quiet and introspective philosopher made her debut as an Interpretive Cardboard Artist, listening closely to the cardboard and allowing it to intuitively suggest its inner intentions to her, resulting in unique works of art done by her alone—with no assistance from her human.
Mewsette quietly sits by her latest cardboard creation, briefly demonstrating her technique. If I translate correctly I believe she calls it “Transformation”.
She wants you to know it is not because the box has been transformed from one thing to another by her actions, but that her intervention has allowed the box to lead her in its own transformation. She had long communication sessions with the box about its aspirations, then intuitively used her teeth as her primary tool along the box’s edge to release its inner essence.
Mewsette is very proud.
So am I. Mimi the performance artist, Giuseppe the opera singer and vocalist, Mr. Sunshine the recycled materials sculptor, Jelly Bean the comedian, how did I manage to share my life with this wonderful family of felines?
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And Now, a Retrospective, Beginning Four Years Ago…It’s Mewsette’s “Happening”
It’s a long one, but it’s a four-year retrospective of a very busy Creative Cat!
New Feline Playground
Mewsette, interpretive cardboard artist, poses with her latest cardboard statement on the new feline cardboard playground. Each playground area has to have room for creative expression, such as Mewsette’s 3-D experimental cardboard installations and Giuseppe’s practice of his operatic arias. Mr. Sunshine needs some things to take apart and Jelly Bean needs a place to nap. Mimi only needs an enclosed place to sit for a while in order to experience the space from a different perspective.
Below, Mewsette’s newest work from just this morning, “Rectangular Impermanence”, expressing her thoughts on how we need to see past the looming objects that only seem to block the light which we need to let into our lives, rejecting the apparent strength and permanence of solid rectangular shapes which can be so easily modified into a lacy frill with just a little dental treatment. She is particularly pleased with how the morning sun shines through the openings and outlines the now-irregular shape of the box flap. “Nice photographic interpretation of my work. Good job, Mama Bernadette,” she tells me.
Here is the entire construction, at least as it appeared last night and today, at least until I take the boxes to the shelves at the bottom of the stairs and then begin building a new feline cardboard playground somewhere else in the house. They may not have the trendiest toys, but they have no complaint about me keeping things interesting for them.
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A New Box, and a “Happening”
You mean…I’m going to have a “Happening”?
Mewsette isn’t sure she’s ready for her artistic debut, but we all felt like that the first time we put out our stuff for everyone to see. You might call it an “exhibit”. But for those of you who aren’t familiar with the world of art and artists, a “happening” is something well beyond a boring old “exhibit”. It’s a multi-media work in progress where the guests are typically part of the event. We may call Mewsette a “Conceptual Artist” and the “Happening” an “Installation”.
Once Mr. Sunshine got His Lordship out of the new box yesterday, Mewsette had a chance to listen to it and was so completely inspired that she chipped all along the edge, vehemently biting large pieces off and tossing them to the floor below. I don’t like to pressure my Creative Cats where their inspirations are concerned, but I do think it’s time for Mewsette to share her work. I mentioned this to her and explained about the “happening”, and above was her reaction.
But soon an idea began to take form as she crouched inside the box—those are the best, she says, you can really feel what they have to say when you can sit all the way inside them—and thought about how it was to interpret what cardboard boxes had to say to the world, she decided she was more than ready to share her inspirations, especially what she was planning to do with that corner.
After a few test bites on that corner she paused for a bit more and put her projects into perspective, in her mind, in her family, in this house. Yes, she was ready. Mewsette is truly looking forward to hosting her “Happening”, and all of you will be invited.
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It’s My Box, Brother!
I don’t care what you think, Brother Sunshine, it’s my box! I find it very inspiring and I’m waiting for it to speak to me.
Mewsette, boxes don’t talk. Unless there’s something wrong with your head.
The only think wrong here is that you have no appreciation for art, just like the other day when you were critiquing Mama Bernadette’s painting. You looked like a total fool. Now keep your distance, Brother, or you’ll regret it.
No, I think I have every right to sit here. I’m not touching your stupid box.
I need my creative space! GO A-W-A-Y!
Geez, you artist types are so sensitive!
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How it Worked Out
Brother and sister can’t stay mad for long. After last weekend’s little tiff about creative space all is well—Mewsette got to communicate with the cardboard and get a start on her latest work, and then Mr. Sunshine apologized with a brotherly bath and they cuddled in the box. All is well.
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Reaching, Clinging, a New Cardboard Interpretation
Mewsette pauses in her work and listens to the cardboard. She is truly a Creative Cat.
I believe this one is called “Reaching, Clinging” for that frilly edge. Mewsette had begun with a few general large bites as you see on the left, then inspiration really struck her and she couldn’t bite the cardboard fast enough. Forming those cardboard stalagmites is not easy when all you have are teeth and an idea. She had to pause a few times before she finished the entire edge.
She’s been enjoying working in my studio while I’m working as well. The creative space suits us both. As long as she doesn’t hear one of my art prints speaking.
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Celebrating Boxing Day With Mewsette
This is how Mewsette celebrates Boxing Day, but that’s every day! Today was special, though, and she really put all her effort into her latest creation. Afterward she settled into the box to contemplate if it had any more concepts to be interpreted. Apparently that was all the box had to say at that moment. I am left to admire “Unravelled”. She specified it be spelled with two “l”s.
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Celebrating International Box Day With Renowned Feline Cardboard Interpretation Artist, Mewsette
Never sure when the muse will touch her and cardboard will speak to her, Mewsette waits quietly in deep perceptive meditation for a transmission from the cardboard.
We would be remiss at The Creative Cat if we did not celebrate International Box Day with an exhibit of technique by the renowned feline cardboard interpretation artist, Mewsette, who has a special type of communication with cardboard whereby she can hear what the box feels about its inner self. Mewsette’s aesthetic goal is to determine what the cardboard has to say and to interpret that message using the cardboard itself using no other tools than her teeth and claws.
Patience pays for the focused creative mind as Mewsette begins to feel a tingle in her whiskers.
Then she feels it fully in the brilliant light on her face and ears, the statement from the cardboard! And how fitting—she had begun this piece already and we’d named it “Sunbox” because it holds the sun coming in the window—expressing the box’s inner self—and so Mewsette has pulled along the edge of the box to create rays of cardboard like rays around the sun.
There’s always that weird moment in the communication, but it feels good…
Mewsette is ready to get to work.
“She always was an odd child, going off on her little explorations and playing by herself now and then instead of wrestling with her brothers, but I guess I just don’t truly understand a creative mind,” says the totally practical mom cat Mimi. “She must have gotten it from one of those fathers…and Giuseppe, well, they certainly don’t get it from me.”
But Mewsette and I get along just fine. Mimi will have to learn to understand.
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The Artist at Work
It took a full day, but the shoebox finally spoke its desire to Mewsette. This subject isn’t quite so clear as the others, though, and Mewsette must make frequent stops in her work to listen again, as she does here. We’re not sure what to call this one, either, so it seems she still has some work to do before it’s entirely done. Such a dedicated artist.
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Mewsette, famous cardboard interpretation artist, bites her way along the edge of a new cardboard box, searching for the hidden meanings within the her chosen medium.
There are days I feel like biting a cardboard box to find inspiration too, but fortunately not lately. Mewsette and I have been finding inspiration in plenty of things. Spring awakens such things.
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“I like the idea of taking the edges off these dull rectangular boxes,” says Mewsette, famous feline cardboard interpretation artist as she dexterously adds a few early-morning touches to her latest endeavor at finding the statement hidden within the cardboard. “It’s a metaphor for life.”
Mewsette’s newest work is called “Unexpected Frills”, and true to her word she is taking the edges from a very dull rectangular cardboard box. But not all the edges—Mewsette does like her statements in contrast and has chosen just one section of the box to skillfully peel the layers of paper that make the corrugated surface and pulling them up in strips so they can curl, and it looks as if the box is either losing its stuffing or some organic matter is growing from a spot about two-fifths down from the top of the box, only on one edge.
“This is what is ‘unexpected’,” Mewsette adds, “you don’t expect to see extemporaneous frilly things as part of a rectangular cardboard box.
“The box does not want to be rectangular. And it’s another statement in my series of works describing impermanence, much like our human talks about those buildings that start sprouting trees from the roof, nature always reclaims what is hers. I am helping this cardboard box in reclaiming its true nature.”
Wherever did Mewsette get that idea? But it is a lovely work. I’m going to have to be very careful when I need to open this carton to use the Priority Mail shipping boxes inside.
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Another Day, Another Box
“This box won’t give up its secrets so easily,” Mewsette comments on her latest work.
Mewsette has put some time into pondering this box and made a few experimental tastings. She has found the box to be rather rigid and uncommunicative.
Now it’s time for Mewsette to rest and ponder her discoveries and visualizations. A sunny spot is most amenable to like activities. Such is the life of the famous feline cardboard interpretation artist in her work. The human must not move the box as Mewsette ponders its message.
This pattern she calls “Wandering” because it describes her wandering thoughts as she impressed it on the box.
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Actually, I’m sure she didn’t expect the box to taste like pineapple, but Mewsette certainly did expect it to hold together through the finishing of her newest project. After she and Giuseppe had napped in it off and on and she’d done a bit of work between naps, the sides began collapsing.
I asked Mewsette if she thought this might not actually also be something the cardboard might want to express to the world. So though Mewsette was disappointed, she agreed to continue this important work in discovering the voice of the cardboard, and she also asked me to leave the carefully placed scraps where they were on the table. They were part of the work.
Unfortunately, the box completely collapsed after another series of naps, but Mewsette still said that was also what the cardboard had to say and considered it a progressive installation. Also, there was a bit of tabletop hockey with the scraps, but it was, after all, an interactive installation. I admire her flexibility.
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Art Papers, Cat Papers, Cardboards and Decoys
March 3 several years ago, Mewsette looked a little chastened after I explained that certain papers were not really meant for kitties to sit on. The next March 3 we had a similar discussion of cardboard, and I gave the group something to do while I framed a few fragile images. It always reminds me that kitties can’t tell what is a toy and what is not if we have items that can be easily confused, and I certainly do! Mewsette explains…
I did not know those were “art papers”. I thought they were cat papers. I thought all papers were cat papers. But Mama Bernadette got very excited and made some very strange noises when I sat in the middle of a nice large piece of paper, big enough for me to stretch out and have a really good bath. She gets excited and makes very strange noises about other things we do, but these were not those noises.
She made me leave the paper and I thought she was going to move it, but then she did not and I got back on it and began to bathe again. She picked me up and put me on the other table, and every time I went to step up on the table she pointed her finger at me and said my name in a way that was not so nice.
Humans have many rules, and some of them are not fair. And I still cannot tell the difference between cat papers and art papers.
Cardboards, and more, 2013
We all know that Mewsette is a very talented cardboard interpretation artist, and aside from her creative endeavors she always enjoys the feeling of cardboard between her toes and under her claws. I encourage this, and of course the sitting on papers is a famous feline habituation, but like the papers last year, it creates some confusion for kitties. When I’m working in my studio, I am careful to not only move all plastic items out of Mr. Sunshine’s chewing reach, but I also wrap up all cardboards that contain items I want to keep, and all mat boards that I use in framing, which was the subject today. And much as it was always fun, I never tickle their noses with my paintbrushes unless I want a well-chewed paintbrush at my table, and a pile of something nasty on the floor with polyester fibers mixed in. Likewise pencils, pastels, and little bits of hardware.
So preparing for framing is truly fun and games! But with small hardwares and big pieces of glass, it can be dangerous. I lay out a few things and let them walk around, then set out a few things as a decoy. Like a ping pong ball in the tub.
And their very own piece of cardboard.
Mewsette was struck by the muse in a big way once she’d introduced herself to this fun toy, and in no time had a new piece going as I worked in my studio. I’m beginning to see a correlation between my work times and Mewsette’s inspirational moments.
The party’s over. After a vigorous play session, they all settled down for naps. I finished a few hours of framing without interruption or feline assistance—and no black cat hairs under the glass in my frames! And, of course, I cleaned up the mess. But that’s only an extension of my own mess.
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Mimi has a nice quiet nap in the Sunbox, which is what we’ve come to call Mewsette’s recent creation that rests at the top of the stairs. Not only does it catch the sun as it flows in the window to create a sunpuddle, but Mewsette found the cardboard wanted to express the rays of the sun along its edges, so she interpreted that idea along the edge, added many different textures along all the edges. Mimi looks very pleased with her daughter’s creation.
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I guess if I can have a creative and productive day, my felines can too. My feline cardboard interpretation artist was inspired by the box I’d intended to use for sorting orders.
“Get to work so we can get to our nap.”
Large Model Cat Sorter, avg. capacity three adult house panthers, suitable as a supervision platform or temporary nap area (product will deteriorate when overfilled with reclining models), purr-fect for those busy days when you plan to make a mess of your own without the participation of creative paws. I put this box lid on the table to sort things into, left the room and came back to find that its purpose had been modified.
A misguided decision on my part. Glad my felines could set me straight on that point.
But it didn’t take Mewsette very long to feel the cardboard had something to say and then interpret it in her unique method. The cardboard flew as she bit into the edge and tossed the bitten bits off onto the table top. Soon, one of our familiar Western Pennsylvania hilltops appeared in green, in silhouette. She was creating a landscape. Reading my mind purrhaps?
Really great work requires a resting period, and contemplation. Mewsette settled in to hear if the cardboard had any more to say. Apparently it did not.
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Package Inspection and Approval
I have a house full of working cats who are happy to wake from their naps to help me with my daily tasks and offer their opinions in no uncertain terms. Mimi supervises the scoring and folding of greeting cards, above, and below she inspects the interior of a box prior to packing it with a customer’s order.
And no box is ready to be sealed shut and sent on its way without the “stamp” of approval from Mewsette, my feline cardboard interpretation artist, who daylights as a parcel approval manager.
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Mewsette has been exploring a medium closely-related to cardboard: fome-core. It’s stiff styrofoam coated on both sides by two-ply paper that I use to back my artwork when framing, so there’s quite a bit of the stuff around. Of course, the talented and inquisitive Mewsette would find a piece and ponder what it has to say as she initially did with her cardboard interpretations.
This medium doesn’t give up its secrets so easily Mewsette finds as she gives a few test bites along the edge. Thicker, she can’t pull the material off but can use her teeth to make interesting punctured patterns.
Note the clever arcing pattern of dots make by dragging a tooth over the top surface. She has only just met the medium and already Mewsette is experimenting with new techniques and creating successful works.
Mewsette calls this one “Distant Thoughts” as the arcs remind her of purple hills at the end of an expanse of dark blue desert under a pink sky which she has never seen.
I told her that I needed to use this piece of fome-core for a framing project, but that I would preserve her work. At the top, she watches carefully as I cut around her creation. Below, as always, she adds her own special happiness to the framed work.
We had a bit of a discussion about the relative cost of cardboard versus fome-core, and that material being something I had to purchase and while I sometimes found deals it was not inexpensive.
“Don’t I deserve ‘real’ art materials if I’m an artist?” Mewsette asked.
“Yes,” I answered, “but a central element of your aesthetic philosophy is that we find art in everything, and that we recycle and reuse as many things as possible.”
“You weren’t using that piece of stuff,” she said.
I will never win this one.
Read more about Mewsette, the famous feline cardboard interpretation artist!
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Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters Tuesday: Rescue Stories Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork Thursday: New Merchandise Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!