Here kitty, kitty

Years ago, my parents bought a house in Mississippi that had an old shed in the back yard. I, of course, immediately explored the rickety structure. Under the work bench I discovered a poor little cat skeleton that had clearly been there for several years. The skull was in perfect condition so I took it home with me.

Meanwhile, a very talented artist has been creating the most amazing works using the found skulls of various animals and wool felt. Kit Lane’s art is the perfect balance of cute, earthy, and a touch unsettling. Her little worlds feel like the stuff of dreams…of ages passing and layers of life occurring on top of each other with every passing year. I adore them.

Photo: Kit Lane

So it was a no-brainer to ask Kit to create a piece of art with my cat skull. After insuring that I am not a psychopath that acquires kitten skulls in unsavory ways, she graciously obliged, despite her busy schedule. I mailed the christened “Kitty” off to the wilds of Minnesota.

Kit posted in-progress pictures on her Flickr account, which was so very exciting. Then that fateful day arrived. I rushed to the post office and picked up my treasure. It was everything I hoped it would be. Magical.

Photo: Kit Lane

There is the stage stealer, the skull, but then there are dozens of little details that enrich the life of the skullpture (see what I did there?). The mossy felt is like earth, embracing the bone. The little organic details like mushrooms and leaves show you that life is still occurring and evolving. And finally, the precious little critters with beaded eyes exploring the felt island magnify the wonder.

Photo: Kit Lane
Photo: Kit Lane
From above. Photo: Kit Lane

Many people cringe at the site of a skull, whether it’s from a person or an animal. But really, we’re all walking around with them in our heads. They remain after we depart. They are material. And yet they represent so much life, and as a result, death. I personally find the ephemera of biological critters fascinating. When a lizard finds his last days under the deck, and his perfect husk remains, I save that and study the wonder of it. When a carpenter bee completes its task in life and dies, it’s little winged body remains a perfect specimen…and on my bookshelf. Consider it a child’s curiosity that never left. That Biology student that went to art school.

My sweety made the most poignant statement about the piece recently. He said that it embodied everything that I am. Craft, earth, biology, cuteness, narrative, detail. It was a really nice perspective and helped me embrace those qualities. As I explore all of these wonderful techniques for creation (stitching, felting, polymer clay, etc), I’m more confident that what I make will be a true representation of me, even if I’m learning from a pattern or tutorial.

Speaking of unique and defining work, Kit Lane has another side to her work: these precious critters called Jacabobs and Jacabunnies, available for sale in her Etsy shop. They are 100% adorable, with the most expressive faces and stories to go with them. I just added Nigel, the Jacabob, to my collection. He’s so freakin’ cute!

Nigel the Jacobob. Photo: Kit Lane

Oooo she’s selling wool now…

Here kitty, kitty

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