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Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Harriet Gifford and the memory of my dead cats

Hello everyone. Since last week a new pattern in my daily routine has emerged. First in the morning, I pack the ceramics sold overnight and post them before lunch. I'm busy packing and sending your orders. All purchases made till the end of 28th will be shipped with current shipping price.

Last two days I went to the studio. It was cold; heater was not working, and we were freezing. (outside is only 2-3C, and the studio is only a glorified garage!)  I was throwing a bit, but soon my hands became too cold to do more. I had four layers and a hat inside! This evening Mike drove me to the studio to take an electric fan heater with me. I put it on for the girls who are still working. I will use it tomorrow.

Do you remember this rabbit mask? It went to my artist classmate and friend, Harriet Gifford. I was very thrilled. She makes films since last summer, but she is accomplished multi-talented artist. In the latest presentation, she showed us lots of images which are two different images layered. Her theme is memory. You can see them in her website.
Diamond dusted shoes

They all look beautiful and nostalgic, but one of them I liked most was the image of the woods reflected against a man's head. I was drawn into the woods. He reminded me of a faun I know, but I have never met. The other one I liked was scenery reflected on a tea pot. What is this special feeling about tea pots? There is something sweet, gentle and nice about them. After her presentation, I thought about memory. I am usually very much forward looking. But one after another lots of memory about the animals I had lived with came back. I have lost lots of beloved animals in my life. Some were old, but others had tragic ends. Sadly none of my cats died from old age. One died from a traffic accident, and the last one died of cat Aids. It was 23 years ago. The memory is still raw. I have tried to keep the lid on it until that day.

Next time I touched clay, I made cat's heads. I started making my cats' memory in ceramics. I imagined myself to be my cats, and started thinking 'I used to cross the field under bushes in the evening, and looked at the moon. There was a road where lost of cars passed. They looked like staring eyes at nights. There was a sweet girl who always stroked me.' So I incised their memory onto my work. It was bisque-fired now.

I wanted to look at it yesterday, but I couldn't do when there were other people. I was not able to hear the cats' mind. I am waiting for the time I am alone with my cats. They will tell me what they used to do, where they used to go and how they felt. And probably how they ended.

Love your animals. One day you will not be together. But once you love them so much, you can still feel their presence, even after 23 years.

I will not have another cat. I will listen to what my dead cats would tell me. I am making ceramic sculpture of the memory my cats had.



  1. Beautiful post of memories of your cats. I can still remember my first cat and it has been many many years; the surface you have achieved is wonderful and rich.

    1. Hello Linda. I get overwhelmed by emotion when I think about them (and write about them). But when I make ceramic works, I can just feel them, and that I am looking the world through their eyes.

  2. I love your rabbit mask. A sad, but lovely post. I can understand how you feel, and it is wonderful that the memory of your cats can be shared with the clay and help to heal your heart. Perhaps one day you may find that your cats whisper to you it is time to have another one. For such is the way of cats. Minerva ~

    1. Hello Minerva. I love the mask, too. I'm glad that my friend got it. You are right; it is healing process. I think making ceramic works helps me to reconcile with the facts. I may hear their whisper, or I may not. But if I do, I will let you know.