Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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Vintage Photos: Pawdangle Tradition, May 2001

tabby and white cat dangling paws on stool
The pawdangle tradition

So we’ve had quite a few pawdanglers around here over the years. Sophie was famous for dangling her big white gloves, and you may see one paw is curled—she also did a good steady air knead. She draped herself off of all sorts of things. Sometimes the parallels with Mariposa are very interesting, though, another tabby and white following the pawdangle tradition.

This is right by the back door, and it’s funny how this particular handmade oak stool has moved all over the house over the years and right now it is back in this exact spot again. Mariposa likes to nap on it—another parallel, but many have enjoyed it in addition to her—and I sit on it after I’ve served the kitties’ meals so that I sit still and don’t bother them. It will likely move again when my kitchen is finished, but I guess we’ll see.

A friend made it from oak wood and oak splits to weave the seat way back in the days when I was learning more advanced traditional basketry. The split reed I purchased at the craft store would only go so far in what I wanted to do cats could rip things to pieces if they tried, and I knew those sturdy old baskets and chairs and other items were made from sturdier stuff. I never made my own splits but I did weave some baskets I still own with ones my friend made from the oak trees on his homestead, the same friend who made this chair. So fitting that it’s held nearly every one of my cats at one time or another!

I found it interesting that all the photos shared in previous years around this date refer to building memories, or include memories of the subject. My head is so full of memories I can hardly move someday, but my words like this from the past remind me that someday they won’t hurt as much as they sometimes do.

 

Vintage Photos from Previous Years

Pussy Willow, 1998, posted 2014

photo of cat sitting by pussy willow in angled sun
Pussy Willow, photograph © B.E. Kazmarski

I rarely remember my dreams so when I do I take note, but they are rarely prophetic, just give me something to think about the next day. Namir appeared in my dream last night. The Five were with me as I got ready for bed, but in my dream I realized I hadn’t seen Namir since dinner, and could even picture him. In truth, I haven’t seen him since July 2009, and I’m not sure what brought him to the present in my mind except that the coming of spring, the forget-me-nots, the garden, always make me think of him. I remembered this photo, one of my favorites of him and generally, just as a photo, kind of abstract, light and dark, reflections and reality, object and shadow, kind of like a dream.

I have this photo hanging in my kitchen and though I see it every day, there are days when it fully captures my attention. I study it, and each time I see more in it.

It’s from the time when I first began to consider my photos “good”, perhaps to consider them “photographs” that I might display and sell as prints and framed items, instead of just “pictures”. This was some time in the late 90s. “Pussy Willow” was taken earlier than that but had stayed on my mind and it was one of the first that made me take another look at my other photos.

What I like most is the abstraction, the light and shadow playing on the objects and the walls, both the pussy willow and the cat turning from positive objects to negative space as the sun and shadow move across them.

I would not have taken the photo without Namir, though. I do like the pussy willow on its own and always have it somewhere around the house where I can enjoy its stark figures. When he got bored with me and walked way I took a photo of just the pussy willow, and it’s nice, but not something I’d frame and hang on the wall.

I always associated Namir with pussy willow too, something about the texture of his fur, and his white oval paws reminding me of the catkins. I turned around, there he sat, that lovely warm spring sunshine washing over the scene, it was as if it was waiting for me to photograph with the old fully manual film-based Pentax K1000.

It was also taken on a day very much like today, a sunny late afternoon in late April or early May. Below is a version of it that I desaturated in PhotoShop and I like the semi-sepia look, but it doesn’t capture that original inspiration, the warm April sunshine literally pouring in the window, coating everything it touched with gold.

photo of cat with pussy willow
“Pussy Willow”

You may have photos like this as well, this is partly why I explained all my reasoning.

An article that tells a little more about Namir and how he came into my life is “Who Was That Namir, Anyway?”, and about his life in my household, “Not a Bad Deal on a Pre-Owned Cat”.

You’ll find Namir mentioned in plenty of articles on The Creative Cat, and don’t forget to look at the header image, which features him in another of his contemplative moments in the sun.

Vintage Photos from Previous Years

My Old Man, 2005, posted 2013

black and white photo of cat on chair
“My Old Man”, photo © B.E. Kazmarski

“My Old Man”, a sleepy Stanley, on the rocker, on the deck, in the sun, in late spring of his last year with me, 2006. He was with me for 21 years and came to me well into adulthood, so my best guess is that he was 24 here; he passed the following January but enjoyed his time outdoors until December, demanding to visit the yard and download his pee-mail every day, sometimes before he had breakfast, but before his frequent dose of sub-cutaneous fluids for his chronic kidney failure and morning nap.

His tabby coat and white markings were so common but to me he was the most beautiful tabby cat I’d ever seen. I adored the little white diamond between his eyes and the little snip of white on his nose, and those precious white paws, always like white cotton balls, dangling off the edge of the rocker, a very typical pose for him all his life long. The racing stripes that outlined his eyes and the structure of his face turned to big marbled swirls on his sides, and his tail was very much like a raccoon. Even to the very end his eyes were very big and very green and very dramatic and he was the original melodramatic kitty. He wore his little kitty heart on his tabby sleeve and loved me and his feline brothers and sisters and from the door defended his home passionately, though sometimes with a little too much…moisture, against any intruder who dared stepped a paw into his yard.

The scene for this is my deck, which you’ve seen in so many other photos of my cats, though typically in color for the brilliance of the turquoise rocker Stanley sleeps on, and the pinks and purples of the flowers and green of the herbs I always grow in pots.

This photo was taken with traditional black and white film using my old Pentax K1000 with the 50mm lens and the 1.5X teleconverter behind the lens for a shallow depth of field. I set the f-stop and shutter speed so that the highlights and bright sun in the background would flash out but the details in the mid-range areas, such as Stanley’s face, would hold. I scanned the print and applied no filters to it.

It has always made me think of summer, of morning, and old memories.

Vintage Photos from Previous Years

Building Memories, 2012 Perspective

Today’s 2011 photo of Mr. Sunshine’s big yawn reminds me of other black and white photos of my cats, and also that even as I enjoy their presence today I am building a memory bank of images of each of them, of all of them, to keep always.

One of the ways I cherish my cats while they are alive, and remember them when they’re no longer with me, is to celebrate their image in art and photographs. This is especially true of the cats who lived with me long ago, before I was actively creating every day and still searching for my creative voice. These are the ones who led me to the level of visualization where everything becomes art but I can focus on what inspires me most, which is usually that which I love best.

But the best are when they are enjoying the sunshine, inside, outside, any way, my cats in the sun will always be an inspiration; three of my black and white favorites, shot with black and white film years before digital cameras, are Stripes on Stripe, below, Late in the Year, and Sally Silhouette.

black and white photo of cat with striped shadows
Stripes on Stripe, photo © B.E. Kazmarski

~~~

Photos “From the Archives” and “Vintage Photos”

Photos pulled “From the Archives” were taken by one or another digital camera of mine between 2002 and, well, yesterday, but usually they are older than that, and I had never had the chance to feature them. Vintage Photos are from my film archives back to 1983 when I purchased my Pentax K-1000 camera. They’re a fun way to “introduce” other members of my feline family who came and went before I began blogging, and to illustrate my feline family in general from days gone by.


Art and Gifts featuring cats you know! Visit Portraits of Animals

AfterDinnerNap-Etsy~~~

Feline Artwork from Portraits of Animals!

painting of cat behind flowers
The Purrfect Camouflage, 11 x 16, pastel © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

She almost had me fooled until I saw one of the flowers looking back at me and I knew I had to investigate. Read more, and purchase.



Copyright

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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Bernadette

From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, factual articles and fictional stories, "The Creative Cat" offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats, pets and animals of all species.

6 thoughts on “Vintage Photos: Pawdangle Tradition, May 2001

  • Brian's Home ~ Forever

    Love that face and the fancy dangle too!

    Reply
  • Sophie was a great paw dangler and so gorgeous. Cooper Murphy is our paw dagger and our air biscuit maker. I love the beautiful art work as well. Thanks for hopping over to see us and joining the blog hop. Happy belated Cat Mom’s Day.

    Reply
    • Hey, every home should have one, right? Thanks for stopping–I don’t often get a chance to post on Sundays. Next I hope to be able to post comments on blogs. I always stop in to visit you guys.

      Reply
  • Awww, your kitties are adorable. Love the paw dangle.

    Have a fabulous day and week. Scritches to the kitties. ♥

    Reply
    • Every home should have one! Thanks for stopping and have a great week.

      Reply

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