Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a crazy cat lady without a cat.
The feline love of my life, Tetsu, passed away almost 20 years ago, and I haven't had a cat since. His passing crushed me, and I couldn't bring myself to own another cat - until of course, I had kids who loved cats and other animals as much as I did. So off we went to the ASPCA in the spring of 2009. We were looking at all the cats available for adoption, and my then-9-year-old son was hugging a ginger tabby when he suddenly broke out in hives. A later visit to the allergist revealed that he was allergic to cat dander :(
So that was that.
Anyway, to fulfill my cat obsession, I have been making many cat-related items (such as this and this) , but to celebrate my new English blog, I decided to start a new interview series entitled: "Handmade Artists & Their Cats".
The first person who came to mind was Liz of Made in Lowell. Liz is an uber talented lady who works with a mind-boggling array of media. She even has her own TV show and has been on the Martha Stewart Show as well!
Enjoy what she has to say about her kitty & craft!
Please tell us about yourself and your cat.
Hello I’m Liz Smith. I’m a maker living in the historical mill town of Lowell, Massachusetts. I make accessories, jewelry, and sewing notions from wool and polymer clay.
Shortly after we moved in together in 2000, my husband and I adopted a tiny tabby kitten from the local humane society. We chose him because he seemed friendly and huggable. We named him Chester.
We soon found out he was a real troublemaker! Chester was definitely more fond of fighting and playing than sitting in a lap. But he was beautiful and a real character and we loved him anyway. Over the years he’s definitely mellowed out and now he will sit in my lap for long stretches, which makes me super happy. Though he still only wants to play and horse around with my husband, who I will admit, is much more fun.
We always took a lot of photos of Chester when we were still using film, then when we moved to digital we filled up our photo chips, and now that we have smart phones Chester takes up most of my Instagram feed ( #Chestercat ) and he has a loyal online following.
Does your cat affect your art? If so, how?
Chester loves to get involved whenever I am making things at home. I have a studio about a mile from where I live and he does not visit me there so most of my craft stuff is safe! But when I knit or sew in my living room he is very happy to plop himself right down in the middle of everything which is both hilarious and annoying. He really is mostly a good boy though, and I love his company.
I’ve only made one piece of Chesterart and it came out sort of weird so maybe that deterred me using him in other projects? Though I currently have plans for a line of products featuring some of his most beloved Instagrams. Stay tuned!
Is there a cat-related handmade item by another artist that you love?
I love all the hand cut, hand sewn felt products made by Migration Goods but especially her cat items as they are cute without being too sweet and funny without being too silly. Here’s a photo she took of her work in progress:
I also love this watercolor cat card by Trowel and Paintbrush.
And this needle felted ornament by I Felt Fuzzy.