NighBluey: I am not an artist or a designer of anything but I am told that I am artistic. Still not sure what that means. Maybe I am an artisan. I would like to be called that – it would be flattering.
When “I grow up”, I will own a flower shop. Arranging twigs, branches and stems all day – that would be my dream come true.
I live with an infinitely patient man, two dogs and three cats in a little community on an Ontario lake (which freezes in the winter and becomes home to thousands of ice huts and our annual by-the-shore rink). I am a “country yuppie” you might say. For years, I lived in big cities but I am already busy shedding my big city attachments. In the summer, I try to spend as much time as I can outdoors, including in my garden looking low to the ground and high into the trees, as well as sailing and taking bike trips. My partner, Kevin, and I are also trying to get rid of all the “things” we accumulated over the years, boats, old cars and powertools we will never use.
I first came across Helen Dalgairns’s bright and eye-catching work when researching a product profile inspired by my cats. I Her print of a cat basking in the sun (above) stayed with me as I thought about how it captured the very essence of most house cats. I was intrigued to learn more about Helen and her work, and to share it with you.
Helen lives in Hull, in Northern England with her husband and a black cat called Neo. Working full-time as a youth worker with the local council, Helen illustrates in her spare time, creating visual artwork that depicts her love for cats! She loves to use bold colours, patterns, vintage, nature and animal humour. “I have also recently started to introduce some human creatures into my artwork, mainly pretty ladies and their cats. The first of this new work is illustration ‘No:1 Crazy Cat Lady’ [below], which was inspired by the many crazy cat ladies out there.”
Helen says she’s always been “obsessed with drawing” and studied art and design at Hull College, with a focus on illustration, photography and textiles – sounds like a perfect mix! After graduating, Helen didn’t create much artwork until about three years ago, when she started creating and selling her work. “One day I had this creative urge, I realized I was not utilizing my creative skills to their full potential, something was missing from my life including the opportunity to express things in a visual way. I wanted to introduce some colour amongst the grey and I wanted to create artwork that made people smile.”
What keeps Helen going with her busy dual lives is knowing that her artwork is making its way into people’s homes, and particularly when she gets positive feedback on her pieces, “especially when someone shows appreciation for your vision and creations, this is very special to me. Buyers and visitors have often shown me things I have never even noticed about my work.”
bio: Get Felt Up are Dan and Leah and we live an illustrious life of intrigue in Cleveland, Ohio. Actually, we live in an apartment with our four cats and in our spare time all we do is make things. So, if that is your personal definition of intrigue, we are living it. We met online in 2002. After a few weeks we decided to meet and hit it off instantly. Then, in March of 2007, we got married. So here we are in our apartment with our four cats and an Etsy shop! Wow, that was a quick synopsis of the last six years! Other sources of intrigue involve our love of independent film and mid-century modern design.
Barking Bird Art: Hello! My name is Rebecca and I live in Portland, Oregon with a baby, a teenager, a husband, two nice cats and a REALLY stubborn dog. I like illustration, cute things, and a strong cup of tea.
Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful holiday period and are enjoying a fun 2011 so far. This week I’ve rounded up some great handmade items to celebrate a wonderful part of our lives – our pets. My two cats were feeling a little neglected during the holidays as we spent the week away from home – and they certainly let us know, by making a huge mess of the house to welcome us home. But we can’t help but forgive them as soon as they jump into our laps and look at us adoringly. Here’s to those furry friends who drive us crazy, but who stick with us through thick and thin!
I love Gemma Correll’s illustrations, many of which feature a pug based on her dog, Mr Pickes. Gemma describes the print above as a comment on internet culture using her favourite characters, a cat and a pug. Gemma’s illustrations decorate a range of products in her shop, including prints, cards, stationery, T shirts and tote bags.
This print from erasercarver is of the artist, Carrie’s two rescue cats – who coincidentally resemble my two kitties! The initial sketch was made the first time Carrie found them curled up asleep together. She wanted to capture the peace that they had finally found in her home. Carrie uses interesting processes to produce her prints: “This is a four colour reduction print, where the lino block is destroyed during the carving process. Starting with the lightest colour, areas are cut away from the carving material to create the lightest base layer, then a run of prints is taken. The next layer has more cut out from the material, and more prints are taken and so on, and until the final black layer is cut and printed.”
Sara Norwood’s work blurs the boundaries between textile design and illustration. Each item Sara makes tells a little story in some way. She has always been fascinated by animals, and they appear in her work repeatedly. “I am inspired essentially by everything around me, ranging from nature to urban life. I am a big kid at heart and admire anything a little magical or off-beat.”
Artist Helen Dalgairns has had animals in her life since she was a child and thinks that cats have taught her how to properly relax, as they do this well! Helen’s impression of cats is that they are self indulgent creatures and only do what they want to do. “Anyone who has lived with a cat knows that they relish the sun and throughout the year my cat Neo always finds some sun rays and once found she does not move for anything, expect for some food. This illustration is based upon this purely self indulgent activity,” explained Helen.
Indira drew this print for her two year old daughter, who loves their neighbour’s dachshund. Indira’s work is inspired by daily life, nature, people and colours and I love the clean lines and bright colours used in her work.
I’d love to hear your funny pet stories – go ahead and share them below!