Invasion of the CeramiCats

Some years ago, I bought a shirt from the clearance rack of Christopher & Banks. It had cats on it.

It was awesome. I’d take a picture, but mine is so shabby and stained and faded it’s embarrassing to even show you guys. So, I googled it instead, and there’s a sleeveless version on eBay! It’s orange rather than the more golden tones of my shirt, but the print is the same, so I nabbed this screen shot so you can see it:

Seriously, how adorable is that?

Seriously, how adorable is that?

There was a place called Hands On Art in Yakima, Washington, where you chose a ceramic something-or-other and painted it and they’d fire it for you. One day my sister and I went there. Or maybe it was my brother. I don’t even remember any more, but whichever one it was did a two-tone ice cream cone of awesome.

I chose a tile. I thought, I’ll make a trivet. Trivets are useful. I chose my four paint colours: sage green, rose, grey-ish brown, tan. But I couldn’t decide what to put on it. So I sat there with my pencil in hand for a while and then I looked at my shirt and I thought, “I will make a cat.” And this is what my finished trivet looks like:

I incorporated the "meow meow" part of the print by scraping writing into the paint in the corner.

I incorporated the “meow meow” part of the print by scraping into the paint in the corner.

I was very pleased with this little guy and used him whenever we had company to put under my Large Pots of Hot Stuff. I never particularly thought of ever doing any more cats.

Then last December (2012) my church’s women’s ministry had an event at Surefire in Albany. (At the end of this post I’ll talk more about them.) I was broke, surprise surprise, and trying to decide what to choose to paint when a lady came along and told me to choose whatever I wanted and she’d pay for it. That was really sweet. (And no, I didn’t pick the most expensive thing in the place! ;-)) I decided I wanted to do a cake plate. Somehow it ended up with a cat on it – again. I wasn’t wearing the shirt that day, so I had to go from memory on what cat I would do.

You’ve seen the rim of the plate before in my post about Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka’s cake. But here it is in all its feline glory:

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This year finds me a co-head of our church’s women’s ministry and we decided to do the Surefire event again. I’ve been thinking about how nice a spoonrest for my stovetop would be, so that’s what I made.

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It was a nice way to get the fish from the shirt incorporated! (This time I brought along the shirt, but I didn’t wear it. I might have been mistaken for a hobo.)

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I love my cat ceramics. I think I’ve kind of started a Frankenstein. I have a little thought rattling in the back of my head now that a toothpick holder and a utensil holder are the next two things I’d like to do. There are so many elements on the shirt I still have to work with! The mouse! The yarn! Moar cats!

The funniest thing is that I never started out to do my kitchen in rose and sage and cat. But it happened anyway. Of course, one could argue I don’t even have a kitchen yet… which is partially true… but I already have known for a while that I wanted to move away from the red, white, and black theme I had going when I first moved out on my own.

***

More about Surefire:

*Unlike Hands-On Art, Surefire has no limit to the amount of colours you can choose for your project (although I personally still like to stick with 5 or less just for the challenge of it!) They also offer things like puff paint to add dimension to your project and have quite a collection of ideas and inspiration.

*They will get stuff in for you if you want it. (I overheard the manager saying this to someone else.) So, I have no doubt I could ask them to get in a toothpick holder for me even if it’s not something they always have.

*It’s not particularly cheap – you can pick from the clearance shelf that has $2-5, or get coaster-size tiles for $5 each) but it’s a lot of fun. Tiles like my trivet are $10. The spoonrest was $16. I don’t remember how much the cake plate was but I’m guessing it was probably around $20.

*Really my only true complaint is the selection of brushes there. They are brushes that have seen better days. They are very used and abused and some barely even have bristles left at all. Next time I go in, I’d like to bring my own brushes, because it’s next to impossible to do fine detail (like writing or outlining) with their brushes. You’ll notice that the lack of definite outlines is one of the biggest stylistic differences between the trivet (where I had access to good brushes) and the two pieces I did at Surefire.

*If you think you can’t paint, well, think again. I had never painted anything worth anything prior to the trivet. I’m a pencil girl, not a painter. I surprised myself with how well it came out. You can do something awesome too! Even if you just do a kaleidoscopic wash of colours on a tile, it’ll look sweet once it’s fired.

So, on the whole, I highly recommend them. The staff is very friendly and the atmosphere very relaxed and plenty of kids come along to paint as well – it’s definitely not just for grownups!

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