A smiling cat is happy and content with the world. My goal is to be as happy and content as a smiling cat and for me, that means releasing my creative expression.
My Quest for a Creative Life
From the time I was a child, I've always been creative – drawing, knitting, embroidering, making. I grew up in a time and a place where the arts and crafts were appreciated and even celebrated. I have fond memories of elementary school art class, of the craft projects my great aunt would prepare for my cousin and I when we visited, of the older ladies in my mom's needlepoint group who took the time to teach me embroidery and needlepoint stitches, of watching my grandmother tirelessly knitting sweaters and socks while she watched TV, of the beautiful wood furniture my great uncle made. Most everyone in my family made something with their hands: knitting, embroidery, woodworking, rug hooking, painting, silversmithing. Even antique car restoration has a creative element.
Though I enjoyed those experiences and always felt at peace while I was creating, the little voices in my head said that wasn’t a place to make a career. I rather randomly chose computer science and pushed on through bachelors and masters degrees to a job as an engineer in a large aerospace company. It paid well, and there is a certain level of creativity to software design and coding, but it wasn’t a tangible sort of creativity that I could see and feel. In short, I was not happy and content with the world.
The view from the window of my office was to an abandoned brick factory building. A building that could be so many things: apartments, studio space, offices, shopping. I began drawing again to build my portfolio for architecture school.
I left my job. I moved. I found love. I learned many things in architecture school, but mostly that I needed a life of creativity. That has not translated to becoming an architect (or Autocad jockey), but to expressing my creativity in other ways.
My first linoleum block print (linocut) was made in elementary school - back when they let young children use sharp tools for art projects. I don't remember what that first print was, but I do remember enjoying the process. I was reintroduced to linoleum block printing several years ago and was hooked. I love the process of determining what is black and what is white, or color and the absence of color, drawing, carving, rolling the ink on the linoleum block, and hoping the print will come out as I imagined.
We adopted the first smiling cat from my grandmother and great uncle in 2007. My first smiling cat block print was made as a gift for them that Christmas. I shared that print with the world as a note card, and that appreciation has led to additional prints, cards, and other related products using the smiling cat as a model.
I'm a cat lover. I enjoy watching the antics of housecats and feel the urge to pet every one I see. Cats are endlessly fascinating. Their curiosity and personalities provide so many opportunities for unlikely scenarios and awww! inspiring sweetness. Those scenarios provide for a multitude of humorous designs, sure to make a cat lover smile.
My Core Values
to design, to draw, to print, to paint, to use a needle and thread, to use my hands to explore a variety of different mediums and ways to explore my love of cats.
to use my day as I like: creating and tending to business, or taking a day off if I want to. The freedom of owning my own business means that I have my own schedule and not someone else's.
in all aspects of my business and life: my product descriptions and photographs will reflect exactly what you are getting at exactly the price quoted. No substitutions. No unexpected price changes. What you see is what you get.
The Smiling Cat
In full and honest disclosure, we are currently without an actual, in-the-fur smiling cat. I miss the companionship in my studio terribly - the meows, the purrs, the furry body on my keyboard – and hope to adopt a new smiling cat soon. In the mean time, I have lots of photos and the occasional friends' cats to sustain me.