Thursday, February 9, 2012

Cat House

Cat House, about 9" high. Salvaged objects, oil paint, wax medium
One of the first salvage things I ever made was titled How to Let Go by Climbing, and I consider this one a direct descendent of that. It had about a dozen working titles, none of which I can remember now; I eventually settled on Cat House because that's what everyone was going to call it anyway.

Yes, that's a piece of a broken stereo, forming the doorway of the Cat House. Found in a vacant parking lot near the old Schmidt/Landmark brewery over the summer. The square wood piece is from the same site, while the triangular "roofline" is one of four such shapes I found near White Bear Avenue, beside a vacant hotel building. The bits of broken jewelry I used, I've had for years.

The bright little cardinal on the hanging ladder was part of a broken Christmas decoration, found behind a shopping plaza in Crystal. I've had it for over two years, and the cat charm for over ten.

Sometimes I hang onto things too long. By which I mean, when I have great stuff to work with -- the cat charm, the fine chains and pearl beads, the salvaged perching bird a friend sent me ages ago -- I don't want to "waste" them. I balk. What if I come up with some better use, later on? Surely I should wait until then!

But waiting means nothing gets made and I still have all the boxes and jars of pieces, instead of something beautiful. I'm learning to let it go.


  1. Good grief! It's actually encouraging to hear that a real artist (and by that I mean one who earns a living by making and teaching art) feels that way about hoarding bits and pieces! I don't feel like I'm such a weirdo, now. ;) Because I'm that way with papers and ephemera -- 'but what if I wreck it?!?' is how the internal dialog usually goes.

    Love the piece -- I don't know if you changed it in any way, but I particularly love the expression on the cat's face. :)

  2. It's so hard to let go of that idea that someday you'll know enough to make something perfectly unfailingly gorgeous, and you'll just keep this stuff until then. Or in my case, I balk because my rescued materials are literally irreplaceable once they're used up; I can't simply order more off the internet. So using them is an act of faith that I will find more great things to use, and it'll be okay.

    I didn't change the kitty's face. I just pushed paint into the grooves that were there and then wiped it so the paint stuck only inside, and showed the lines. Like inking an etching plate.