This past Sunday’s market was a little disappointing, beginning with 90 minutes of light rain that likely kept a number of visitors away. I only sold two things, and both were these votive lamps. I designed this votive lamp in 2021 but refined it through 2022, and since then it’s been quietly the most popular votive lamp I make.
I created the ink drawing that is the basis of this design way back in 1988, called Puck at the Window from a photo I’d taken in 1984. You’ve probably noticed that cats at windows and the feline silhouette are favorite themes of mine, and you can see now it started early.
Its original intent was as a sympathy card for my veterinarian to use, but that never came to fruition. I’ve considered it in my own collection of sympathy cards, but I’ve also had many another idea for items on which I could use this design, most involving light, and most originating decades ago. One of the first was as a nightlight cover, then a suncatcher, eventually, of course, a votive.
Scroll forward to today, when I’m actually planning my votives, this design was top of mind for three years, from the time I started working them out. I could picture this design on one of the four-sided jars I use for my cat art votives. But what was the best way to present it? I love the contrast in the black and white, but the labels I print for my glass items don’t quite capture that; the black isn’t dense enough and the edges aren’t completely sharp because the label has a surface texture. No, the labels are purrfect for continuous tone artwork, not line art. I could hand paint it in the dense black paint I use for glass, but I know I wouldn’t be able to reproduce this design well enough without taking a lot of time to handpaint each one. Trying to stencil or screen print each one would be too cumbersome because of the shape of the surface.
But now…there’s vinyl to cut, with nice clean edges and permanent application, just perfect for an adaptation of line art with the interesting cat silhouette. And where I once used etching cream to etch the inside or outside of my glass jars, I searched for a substitute when it became difficult to find—it is a caustic substance and shipping even to distributors is difficult, so often I’d find no stores had it and it was backordered online. I had seen spray and brush-on paints that mimicked frosted glass and tried a few, and liked them.
I frosted the outsides of the jars so the glass exposed inside the vinyl design would have a matte finish just as the vinyl did.
I first introduced this design on a votive just in time for my 2021 Holiday Open House, as I’m so fond of creating a brand new item at the last minute for each open house and other events. That was also when Morty first had his urinary issue and I worked off my worry about him with working out this design while I kept an eye on him. I liked the way the original looked but wanted to make other adjustments and changes, and that’s what I worked out over the next few months. I made two to have at my events and was surprised they immediately sold. I’ve been making them since then, usually six at a time.
One of those refinements was adding color to the clear space. I liked the plain white, and the initial sketch was from a winter photo. But I could also visualize a blue sky out there, or a sunrise yellow, or even green for greenery. I will always make the plain white/clear, but I like the colors too. Up to now I’ve painted them on the inside, but I’m also working to see if the colors I use will be permanent on top of the frosting paint.
Purchase a Silhouette at the Window Votive Lamp
Right now I have one blue votive, one yellow and green votive, and two white votives. Each is displayed in the gallery below, and you can click on each image to enlarge it. Each of them comes with the same battery-operated string lights with a six-hour timer, and each has the original jar lid to keep the inside clean. You’ll also see that each one is a little different where the “leaves” are concerned in the design; those tiny pieces of vinyl don’t always stay where they’re supposed to.
Other Feline-themed Votive Lamps
Like everything else I make I’ve worked on the design and production of my upcycled glass jar votives, and one of the things was changing from small LED votive candles to LED light strings, with timers, so they are brighter and more colorful, and you can use them as lamps that turn on and off automatically. I’ve also used larger jars for most of these, a practical matter since the light strings themselves as well as the battery pack need more space than the smaller jars I’d used and the larger jars also opened up the range of images. They are still made with frosted vinyl labels and embellished with alcohol inks, glass paints and cut vinyl.
Visit the Votives Page in my Handmade Gift Gallery on Portraits of Animals to see the rest of the votives.
Mariposa approves these votives.
Take a look at other new merchandise and featured artwork.
Marketplace is a feature on The Creative Cat to share the latest coming out of my studio with my readers. Once a week on Thursday I feature something new in my “shop”.
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Find out more about creating custom items for your own home using the images you see here. Visit the “Ordering Custom Art” page to see samples and read bout how to order.
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It’s all done under the close and careful supervision of my studio cats!
All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission, although links to your site are more than welcome and are shared. Please ask if you are interested in using and image or story in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of an image or a product including it, check my animal and nature website Portraits of Animals to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.
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Tuesday: Rescue Stories
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And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!