FK chats to Cat the creator behind the quirky & fun Cat-Rabbit
Tell us about your cute character themed label.
Nerdy rabbits, frightened raccoons, well-dressed badgers and thoughtful foxes feature highly in my work which primarily consists of collectable plush figures and extends to embroidered work, wooden jewelry and printed fabric products. I like to make most of my products by hand, I just can’t resist! Even with the laser cut jewelry I feel compelled to add handmade elements such as hand painted enamel colours. I pretty much have a deep seated compulsion to make and draw things.
What is your background and how did Cat-Rabbit start?
I majored in Graphic Design and English at Uni, and started drawing and making things during this time, but never considered it as anything serious. I went on to do honours and masters and then realised that all I really wanted to do was draw and sew. So that’s what I did. Having a background in design has helped enormously – one of the most exciting things for me is working out how to package a product! Cat-Rabbit grew out of necessity really – I was a poor student but still wanted to give cute presents to my friends – so I started making little rabbits out of felt and giving them as gifts, then I started stocking some local friendly stores and it just grew from there. I have been lucky enough to do some great collaborative work with artists such as Ghostpatrol and Tara Badcock, which has really helped things along as well.
How do you translate your illustrations into the little creatures they become?
I usually draw my version of an animal I like – lately it has been badgers, raccoons and foxes, but obviously it started with cats and rabbits – and then I go about making it in an almost sculptural way. I never use a pattern as such, I usually make a 3D shape and build onto and around it until I get a piece I am happy with. I love dressing my little animals in ridiculous outfits, it feels kind of like I am a parent dressing their child in one of those ridiculous little sailor suits, or people that dress up their pets. People that dress up their pets are of great inspiration to me.
What do you love most about working with textiles?
I love the flexibility of working with textiles – and I love the surprising nature of working without a pattern. You can be working on something with a very firm idea of what it will look like, and it turns out completely different, but still good. I make my best work that way, working on one thing that turns into something else. Even when I am making a couple of the same shape, little things like facial expressions and the length of the limbs changes each piece’s appearance quite a bit. I also love the feeling of making something out of relatively nothing – I like to use as many recycled and vintage materials as possible, but I am a sucker for buying a whole bunch of good quality felt and arranging it on the shelf according to colour. It’s very pleasing to look at.
What inspires you about growing up in Hobart?
I have a lot of nice and supportive friends in Hobart, and it is a very beautiful and peaceful place to be. I do very much value peace. Plus there is a mountain stuck right next to it and that’s pretty darn cool. I have recently moved to a lovely studio in Melbourne, I miss my home but Melbourne is a wonderful, fun, and very exciting place to be making things at the moment.
What aspirations do you have for 2011?
Exhibitions! I have plans for a solo show and some fun collaborative projects with nice creative friends. It will be a real treat to work on a large body of work that is entirely up to me. I have visions of sloths and gangs of rabbits and fennec foxes and all sorts of things! I also aspire to be on time more often and own a pug dog.