I wiped away the weeds & foam. / I fetched my sea-born treasures home... Ralph Waldo Emerson







Saturday, October 24, 2009

Black Cats

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! I am happy to be back online after some very frightful computer problems recently....


Aren't Halloween Black Cats just the best!
I have always been a cat lover---calico or tabby, angora or smooth, sleek and black---so bewitching, exactly suited to be icons of Halloween. The other day a beautiful big black Halloween cat jumped a tall wooden fence and scampered across the red-leaf strewn street in front of my car--she was chasing squirrels, I am betting. My litle town has a very slow speed limit, so no chance of injury, just the pleaure of seeing the cat leap down so gracefully.

And what could be more evocative of Autumn and Halloween than a black cat. Every year I try to make at least one folk art cat-dolly. Above is the kitty from last year, her name is Esmeralda and she now resides in someone's private collection. I hope she is out and enjoying her second year. And this is Tabitha, my Black Cat Doll for 2009....
She is pictured here with her handmade velvet pumpkin and a tiny Black Cat whom I rescued at the flea market this summer. Tabitha was finished just this weekend and will be offered on my etsy and eBay sites. Please consider bringing her home? http://www.gonetothebeach.etsy.com/
Miss Tabitha is entirely handmade by me, using no patterns or instructions, just my imagination and scraps of fabric and antique buttons from my limitless stash. Her dress is calico, as is her body--so she is a Calico Black Cat! Her pinafore is created with a post-Civil War, c.1870 quilt block that features rare back & white mourning prints. I love the jagged edges, so perfect for Halloween.
The block is especially admirable because of the incredibly tiny even stitches that someone---maybe 150 years ago---used to carefully piece these treasured fabrics. Who knows what memories these tiny scraps inspired? You can see the stitching, in an old orange thread on this reverse photo, please use the zoom. I consider myself a fairly fine sewer and I could not begin to sew like that! My machine doesn't sew like that either.

Back to this adorable lady---I found her tucked into a chipped old china pitcher! Just her head was peeking out! She is only 5" tall, so tiny and so sweet.
Isn't her face wonderful---especially her teeny tiny green eyes and pink mouth. When I got her home and undressed her to launder and press her pretty clothes I found out that she is signed, both with a miniscule flower on her side, a tattoo! And her pinafore hem is signed by her creator, It reads: 1990 [peace sign] Nancy Banker Markle  Brooksville Maine, handwritten in tiny black script. So, as one folk artist to another, thank you for this tiny treasure! Note too her perfect green pinafore, autumn leaves, worn over a dusty rose skirt; the pinafore or blouse is embroidered too, with three tiny orange dots that I am calling pumpkins. I had planned to have her be Tabitha's doll baby, but I find I cannot yet part with her. And so she will stay with me and be my inspiration for future Black Cats---I have named her Nan in honor of her maker. Nan will be cherished in her new home here with me at The Beach.
 
Wishing everyone lots of black cat good luck and Halloween magic! Enjoy that candy corn!

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