The Feral Cat
Carolyn captured a feral kitten she’s calling Feisty. The white cat was small but wild; with patience and know-how Carolyn helped the kitty become healthy and now it’s learning trust. Feisty will be ready to make his way to a good home soon.
After weeks of working with the cat Carolyn wants to introduce the feline to another person, and at her request I spend an afternoon working in her studio. I manage to spill Feisty’s water and food but in general the first visit goes well. After another visit the kitten appears to recognize me. I have a decent sense of cat anatomy, and between that and Carolyn’s cat behavior knowledge – Feisty settles in my arms. I am like a tree limb – as he hangs in relaxation.
Carolyn’s studio is like a research lab for animal study. Organized along the shelves are skeletal bones and mummified critters that she has found and collected. Here are the newest additions – a series of bird bones she has cleaned and preserved in small transparent boxes – they’re magical.
And then there’s the artwork …
Will you be drawing Feisty? I ask Carolyn after my first visit with him. I don’t really draw domestic animals, she answers. I’m amused because that one day I would not have described the kitten as domesticated.
While in the studio I note all the animals on the walls, staring at us that afternoon. Here are only a few of them.
There’s all the Preservation series as well.
Current work – a graphite on prepared paper drawing – sits on the table most of the time we are in there. Feisty sits nearby it.
I don’t ignore the cut outs of animals of all sorts – that are arranged in bags and boxes.
On my visit last week I mention to Carolyn I want to blog about the 3 dimensional and 2 dimensional activity that makes up her studio right now.
Of course it includes Feisty, the now truly one domestic creature among all the wild ones.
All of Feisty’s taming and progress is posted into Carolyn’s Facebook page and will continue until he finds a good home.
I mentioned I am familiar with cat anatomy. I spent last summer studying and making numerous works about it. This summer I learn more about animal behavior and the creation of trust. One cannot help but consider human behavior and how we treat the most vulnerable among us, it says so much about us as a people.
“If you talk to the animals they will talk with you and you will know each other. If you do not talk to them you will not know them and what you do not know, you will fear. What one fears, one destroys.” – Chief Dan George, Tsleil-Waututh Nation
If I ask you to give me the connecting thread that moves through Carolyn’s studio, what would your answer be?