My new website can be found at http://www.quernuscrafts.co.uk/

Blossom Cats (b.5 June 2010)

Blossom Cats
It seems like an appropriate time to introduce the second bunch of Flower Cats I've made, rather than keep to the strict chronological order of birth of my wee creatures! These Blossom Cats were a very special commission for a very special person - Anna Stassen of Sakura Jewellery.

Flower Cats (b.11 May 2010)

Flower Cats
After I sold the original Daisy Cat at one of the Ilkley Arts Markets, I decided to make another one. Which led on to two, which turned into three!

I wasn't sure whether to keep the body colour the same as the flower centre this time, and so I decided to make them a little differently. Using green as the body colour helps to make them look more like flower cat sprites, than cats in fancy dress (at least, that's what I think!)
Sunflower Cat
For SunFlower Cat, I used a millefiori cane to create the speckled seed head effect for the flower centre, and then I cut out lots of petal shapes from a thin sheet of yellow clay and attached two layers of them, the top layer overlapping the bottom layer, to a thin collar of green clay. It was important to create enough strength in the petals because otherwise the petals would 'wilt' during the curing process.

Rose Cat
Rose Cat is my favourite Flower Cat - because of the shape of the petals, I had to make the head a little narrower than normal, which make her look very odd before I added the petals! I cut large oval petals shapes from a thin sheet of red clay, and then trimmed them at the bottom once they were added.There are three layers in total. Once the petals were on, I added the small leafs around the collar.

I'm keen to experiment with other types of Flower Cats - not quite sure how I'll do a Foxglove Cat, but I'm happy to give it a go!

The Birthday Party (b.11 May 2010)

The Birthday Party
I made this to celebrate my birthday back in May - it seemed like the thing to do! And it was one of those pieces which just seems to grow arms and legs (although not literally in the case of my cats) as I went along!

I started out with the idea of having a cat in a party hat - and a fancy one at that, with stripes, a fluffy rim, streamers and a green bobble on top! And then I decided that he needed a party whistle, which I made from some of the striped clay with a short length of wire inside to keep it strong.

After that, it became obvious that the cat couldn't celebrate my birthday on his own - so I made him a wee friend, also with a party hat. And then they got hungry, so I made a birthday cake with a candle in it, and I gave them each a slice on small paper plates. You can tell I had quite a lot of fun :)

The Birthday Party has now taken up residence with Gemma, along with a number of my other wee creations, to celebrate her birthday. I love that kind of circularity!

Fireman Cat (b.10 May 2010)

I seem to be on a bit of an occupation theme here :) Fireman Cat came about when I was at the Ilkley Arts Market on 8 May. A lovely woman called Hilary asked if it would be possible for me to make a Fireman Cat for her friend, and straight away I could picture how he would look.

When I got back home, I did a bit of research as to what a fireman's outfit looks like these days. They've done away with the traditional outfit and now I think they look more like policemen with bigger helmets. So I decided to stick with Fireman Sam as my inspiration for the design.

For his axe, I used a millefiori cane to create the wood effect, and then made up the head using metallic red clay, with a silver tip.

I used silver clay blobs for the shiny buttons, and for his helmet badge. The important thing with making accessories for the cats, I've found, is not to skimp on proportions. Go large. I applied this principle to Police Mole, and now to Fireman Cat. As a result, their helmets actually do look as though they fit them properly, and aren't just a blob of clay balanced on top of their heads. It's a fine balance to achieve, but it's worth the extra effort, as it helps the design to gel together more and look more cohesive.

Another thing I've noticed looking back on these designs (I'm writing this in the middle of August) is how I've definitely become more enamoured of cats with arms. It's interesting how your tastes and style changes over time, even though the fundamental style is still undeniable Quernus :)

Paramedi-Cat (b.6 May 2010)

Who wouldn't want this handsome Paramedi-Cat to come and look after you?! Many thanks to Glenda for commissioning this wee guy. I think his white tee-shirt has a certain 'Levi ad' appeal, if you know what I mean ;)

Wee Curum (b.1 May 2010)

Wee Curum
Curum was my sister's dog. Curum is Gaelic for 'cuddle', and she was a very handsome dog. Sadly she was put to sleep in April this year, at the age of 10 years. I made Wee Curum as a memento for my sister - it was quite poignant making it for her. I didn't know Curum well (my sister still lives in Scotland and I don't get to see her often), but I know how much my sister and her two girls loved her. It was a sad day when Curum went to sleep for the last time.

The top photo shows Curum as a much younger dog. As she got older, the black markings on her forehead faded away. To get the black of her muzzle fading to tan, I used a Skinner blend and then shaped it carefully over her muzzle. I used part of the Skinner blend for the inside of her ears, and also applied small triangles of black clay around her eyes. For her body markings, these were a mix of black, and black/tan. I made up the latter using the fur cane technique and cut the shapes out freehand.

I finished off Wee Curum's tail by having it curl round her body - I added some of the fur cane as well. Curum was always a bit mad, but was fiercely loyal and my sister loved her.