Monday, March 23, 2009

Creating a cat in fabric

If you read many blogs, you’ve already seen plenty of photos of cats, dogs, birds, and other beloved pets. But I have a good excuse since my cat Knickers modeled for one of my art quilts. The idea was to show her gazing out my studio window. It was easy enough to take a photo and work up a sketch in Photoshop.
I made several attempts to render her in fabric, first with paint. Below left is acrylic paint on a dotted brown fabric, in the center is fabric paint on a mottled brown fabric. Both looked murky and old-fashioned, like an old engraving. The cat head would be placed on top of an orange fabric that was intended to represent pine needles. It seemed to me that the real problem was at this angle, Knicker’s white nose looked disconnected from the rest of her brown fur. The value contrast broke up the shape of her head too much and it just looked weird. Below right is a more abstract cat made from marbled fabric with painted eyes and ears. It looked even more visually scrambled, but I liked how the marbled shapes could represent fur without being too literal.So, I used a much lighter marbled fabric and made the cat head one unified, lighter color with metallic acrylic lines. It showed up well against the pine needle fabric, which was the point after all. And yes, those are real whiskers, shed naturally by Knickers. They were very tricky to sew on because they kept springing out of the monofilament stitches.So here she is... she could care less whether her fabric self got a bleach job. When she was at the vet the other day for her annual check up, the technician was exclaiming over her "eye makeup" and extra soft, rabbit-like fur. She definitely is a beauty, so one of these days I’ll just have to do a real portrait, full face this time.


Linda Teddlie Minton said...

Beautiful! Thanks for the walk-thru of your different trials of finding the right fabric for this difficult pose.

Holly Knott said...

What a cutie! I like the first attempts with the white nose, too. I don't think the nose area looks too separated/contrasting from the rest. Love the marble used as fur.

Paula Pertile said...

Loreen, I used to have a Knickers too! Actually she was "Sexy Knickers", from "Are You Being Served?", the British show.

Your Knickers is really beautiful. And I love how she turned out in fabric!