Cats in the Studio

I admit it, I’m a cat person. Dogs are nice. I’ve had big outdoor farm dogs that were just lovely, but cats just fit my personality. They don’t jump all over you and slobber. You don’t have to take them for walks and you can go on vacation once in a while and they don’t mind too much. Cats have been a part of my life since childhood. I grew up on a small farm in Central Ohio and cats were plentiful. I wrapped them in blankets, dressed them in doll clothes, pushed them around in my baby buggy and secreted them in my room at night. They were baptized in the cattle trough (not the full immersion, just a few sprinkles in between the ears) and given names like Uncle Cinder. My Dad professed to hate cats. They were always sitting on the back step and he tripped over them every day. He would make statements like, ” I’m going to toss that thing over the barn the next time I trip over it.” He never did, and despite his threats and protestations, he was witnessed on several occasions petting a cat in his lap while he read the evening paper. When observed, he would shove it off his lap and complain, “How’d that thing get in the house?”

So naturally cats occupy my studio. Many artists seem to have some type of animal companion in their studio space. I have Clara and Emmy. Clara, a black and white tuxedo came first. She commandeered a basket of yarns and fibers as her very first bed in her new home. She is quiet and well behaved. She quietly watches birds out the studio window or sleeps in the warmth of the sun in the same place. Emmy is the newest feline addition. She is a grey and white tuxedo. Now 7 months old, she concurrently captures my heart and is the bane of my studio life. She is so sweet. She sleeps in my lap every night, loves petting and is very social. She talks to me in her little kitten voice. She also feels the studio is her own personal Disneyland. She gets into everything. She knocked a box of 100 pins on the floor three days in a row, bats my thimbles into the living room, takes pull pins off the bulletin board, hides my glue sticks and pens and climbs up and down in the bins holding my fabrics, not to mention knocking down the blinds every once in a while. Both cats will sleep on a 4″ square of fabric should it fall to the floor, not to mention attempts to utilize my art quilts as their own personal beds (sometimes while I am still sewing on them). I keep sheets over works in progress and spend the last few minutes before a show removing cat hair. So why do I put up with it? Most of the time they are just companionably sharing my space, littles muses that approve of all my work, and never complain about all the time I spend in the studio. They can’t tattle about the mistakes I make or the cursing they hear when I’m frustrated. Someone told me recently that cats are big hearts with furry little ears. So my cats will be staying in the studio, I just bought a bigger lint roller.

Winter in Ohio…Brrrr……

A drive in the wintry countryside in Fairfield County, Ohio

A walk in the snow… Mt. Pleasant in Lancaster, Ohio

At last, time to settle in to an afternoon in the studio.
Here in Ohio it his has been one of the coldest, snowiest winters in memory (mine anyway). The weatherman finally verified that February was a record breaker for snowfall; over thirty inches. I have to admit that winter has always been the bane of my existence. I usually shiver from the end of November until spring gets a good grip sometime in April. This year was different. Two years ago I purchased a new home. My old one was a little doll house, but three people couldn’t turn around in my living room without aomeone getting injured, and it did not have a dedicated space for a studio. I was getting really tired of having to clear off the dining room table whenever anyone came to visit, or worse yet, not inviting friends or family over because I didn’t want to clean up the mess. (My realtor remarked that my dining room “looked liked Santa’s workshop”). Anyway, the upshot of the matter is that I moved because I realized that I needed a studio in order to continue to grow as an artist, and my new home has a lovely one. Back to winter… This year I have spent much of my time in the studio, designing a new series of quilts called Homeplace (more on that in another posting), setting up a website, listening to great music on my CD player and watching it snow. Too snowy to go to work? Like the Aussies say, no problems. I stay home and sew in my PJ’s. This has been a very productive winter and other than consuming way too much hot chocolate I have hardly noticed.