Nine Cats And A Hippo

Five cats

Five cats

Four cats and a hippo

Four cats and a hippo

Happy New Year, everyone! May 2015 be a better year than 2014. New year, new resolutions. New plans to put into effect.

I just returned from vacation visiting family. For me, good vacations work as a creativity reset. Seeing different people and different places helps me clear my thinking so I return home with a fresh perspective.

Whenever I go on vacation, I always come up with grand plans that never quite happen, but I always try to do something creative. I learned long ago that while I’m visiting, I need to do something with my hands, like drawing in my sketchbook or playing with polymer clay. On previous visits, I’ve made polymer clay cats, dragons, hedgehogs, giraffes, turtles, and even an orange rhinoceros with green horns.

This last visit, I made nine cats and a hippo. Felt very good to be handling clay again. I’ve lost track of the number of cats I’ve made over the years. Must number in the hundreds. Some I give away, some I sell. A few, I keep. Of this batch, I gave away eight and kept the brown one with the slightly goofy expression. The hippo was a special request for my three-year-old great-niece.

I’ve written before about my quest for a better dragon design (more to come in that series). I believe in stretching myself and trying new things, but I also appreciate the comfort of familiarity. No matter what else I make, I return to making cats. The movements are well-rehearsed. I know what to expect. Every one comes out with a slightly different expression or pattern. I can work on a cat while holding a conversation or watching television. And, most importantly, my cats generate smiles on almost everyone who sees them.

Then there’s the hippo. When I get bored with cats, I take requests for other types of animals. This was about the third or fourth hippo I’ve made, I believe, and not the most hippo-like, but it was enough for my great-niece to recognize it as a hippo. That’s all that mattered. The artist is always the harshest critic of her own work. If it satisfies the audience, it’s a success.

I’m in the process of planning what to do this year. Crafting is going to play a large part of it, I’m sure. I’d like to start selling my crafts online or in craft shows. Still planning my strategy. Lots of things I can make, and I’m sure my familiar cats will become one of my standbys.

And maybe the occasional hippo.

Good luck to you in whatever plans you have for the coming year!