What to do? What to make?
Mounds of fluffy hair is what I’ll take.
Mounds and mounds as soft as air
From my Gaia cat so fair.
Mounds and mounds begging to go
Into a necklace? Soon I will know…
Ebi “Sweetels” Davis
After a five-year heroic struggle with kidney disease, Ebi died peacefully, surrounded by her two guardians. She was 21 years old (109 in cat years). She choose to make her transition from here to there on the summer solstice.
Ebi spent her kittenhood in a beautiful old Victorian hotel in downtown Napa with her three siblings. It was a stimulating environment with lots of comings and goings of humans and animals. She was interested in anything and everything would make her happy. She would purr at the drop of a hat! From Napa she and her brother Uni moved to the city of San Francisco. It was there she spent the remainder of her life.
Ebi loved being the center of attention. She would have preferred the role of Queen of the new household, but settled for Princess instead. Until his death 5 years ago, Ebi was ruled by her brother Uni, who was King. Luckily for her, she finally was elevated to Queen, and ruled with a firm but gentle hand her 2 young cat housemates.
Ebi was well known for her gentle, loving nature. She was especially fond of dogs and tuna fish. Later in her life she acquired a taste for the outdoors and would demand weekly excursions down the stairs to sit by the pond or roll in the grass. She considered herself a pacifist and also a feminist. When not gazing out the window at birds or sunbathing in the late afternoons, she dabbled in the art of haiku poetry writing—a homage to her Asian background.
Ebi never had any formal training, yet mastered two-paw massage. Her speciality was abdominal and cranial techniques. She kept up her practice well into her old age, even trying to engage her two young cat housemates, but to no avail.
She is survived by her two guardians and housemates, Luna and Gaia. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the San Francisco SPCA.
Yes, I’m passionate about cats!
Does that make me a crazy cat lady? I don’t think so. I’m happily married—no children, just 3 cats. I am not a cat hoarder, 3 is enough, thank you very much. But, I do have this unusual and profound relationship with these most beautiful of all creatures.
This relationship, which some might call an obsession, has always been a part of me. Even when I was a baby, my little hand grabbed out, reaching for that passing feline. Why do we like what we like anyway? I think this thing for cats is just part of my DNA!
Maybe there are paw prints embedded into my DNA, because life orbiting around cats started very early. When I was about four, my first kitty love was Tiger, a husky male shelter cat. Tiger’s feline presence became the CATalyst, setting into motion a human/feline physic bond, which unfolded into years of kittens and cats in my life (probably about fifteen, and counting). At one point I realize my sense of being was glued to cats, so life without a cat was not an option! And besides, my cat was never just a cat, my cat was much more.
And how much these cats added!, enriching my journey; from little girl, to adolescent, and then, to busy adult.
A CAT had been a close friend; when I had none. In particular, during those pre-adolescent years in rural California, when summers seemed to go on and on. I would dress him up in handmade attire and sing to him while he lounged. And every now and then he would open an eye, to show me he was still paying attention.
A CAT was my lover; when my lover was absent. She knew when I was lonely or sad, and would place her warm and purring body on my chest, while gazing reassuringly into my eyes.
A CAT, that ancient creature, was my first sage; initiating me into the realms of mysticism with: a cat is just a cat and that is that! Oh my guru, my cat, set me onto the path of spiritual awakening! Another gem from my cat guru: just this and just now. This one enabled me later to take up the teaching of the Buddha. And, saving the best for last, the wisest of all the teaching of all felines; do nothing, then rest afterwards!
A CAT has been my muse; when I began painting in earnest. When I was a young artist I struggled for a direction, a theme in my art. In an epiphany, I knew I had to paint what I loved the most, and she was sitting right near me, my beloved cat!
And now, to the present, a trio of loves: Ebi, Luna, and Gaia!
And it so happens to be at this time, Gaia has offered up his specialness with . . .
A CAT enabling me to refocus; when I was adrift. And I was adrift. Then Gaia magically offered up his ultra soft hair. His hair soon became an essential part of my fledging jewelry endeavor. It had the effect of reconnecting me, a second time, with two things I love dearly: making art and loving cats, resulting into a new form: cat hair jewelry!
And the tale continues . . .
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They would have stayed and played forever and a day, but far away an object caught her eye, seen shining brightly through her spirally haze. It twinkled and itbeckoned, calling her by name, to come hither, not to visit, but to stay. Intrigued by its shape and color, not like her new friends here all sparkly and bright, it stood out of the blackness, a different hue, and what a view, as well as a delight!
This jewel, oh did it shine, enchanting her that night, this light of a different color, a color oh so right. A hunger too familiar, swelled up in her body of light, with an explosion of fire, of desire, and ultimately of life.
She gazed with love and sadness, at her cosmic friends that night, who held her protectively in their swirling arms of starlight. They knew they could not hold her, her mission now complete, and time for her to go, her heart must take that final leap.
With a wink and a purr the two exploded, into a fireball of light, and without a second thought, they shot off, at rocket speeds toward the jewel, and soon were lost from sight.
>’’< >’’< >’’< >’’<
And the tale contInues . . .
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Oh kitty cat, smart kitty cat, let’s fly through the night, then guide us and find us, The Goddess of Starlight, who will transport us on, from there, then beyond, to the ME in this life!
Oh kitty cat, fearless kitty cat, let’s do it this night, and do it we will without any fright!
Oh kitty cat, adventurous kitty cat, hold on to me tight!
>’’< >’’< >’’< >’’<
The origins of this tale began in another time, in another place, when I thought I might write a children’s story. I later inked the illustrations, while staying at a small hide-a-way cabin in Northern California. It was a special place. This hobbit-like cabin sat in the center of a ring made from the ancient stumps of redwoods. Well, as things go, it never got published. I suppose it was not meant to be. Anyway, I dusted it off and reworked it into its new form.
The story: a young girl’s quest with her precious kitty cat, that takes her to the ends of the universe. The action evolves over twelve posts, every other day.
And the story begins . .
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Oh kitty cat, sweet kitty cat, come sleep with me tonight, and guide me, fly with me, to far away dreams, on this warm crystal night!
Oh kitty cat, fluffy kitty cat, stay with me tonight, let’s journey, let’s travel, to a time long ago, to a time when I lived elsewhere, a time I long to know.
Oh kitty cat, cuddly kitty cat, fall asleep in my arms tonight, we’ll travel off together, into the twinkling, starry night!
>’’< >’’< >’’< >’’<
A small piece of sheet metal.
Add to that, some cat hair.
Then, lots of time to spare.
Ten hours, to be exact, while I waited for the art admirers, the looky-loos, the students, and, maybe the buyer, during spring open studios this March. There was lots of dead time between that occassional visitor. Enough space I figured, to allow the creative juices to get juciy. So there I was, at my work space, feeling creative and, why not, I had nothing to lose. In front of me was a small piece of sheet metal. I closed my eyes then opened them to the metal. I took hold of the metal. I allowed the metal to speak to me. “Make me into a neck piece,” it communicated. With metal shears in hand I made two cuts, one here, one there. It now had a left and right side, or the ends I would need to attach neck wire to.
A few visitors came and went, a beneficial distraction to the creative process, it has the affect of refreshening the mind. Now, where was I. Again, I take the metal in both hands. “Go ahead, cut me some more.” OK I will. I had to obey. Creating is another world, or mindset, one where the logical mind is told to get lost, go away, come back some other day, because right now I am here to play, and you can’t stay. My hands took the shears again, cutting the metal in two more places. Next I intutitively bent and shaped the cut metal, giving it’s shape volume. Then I saw it, Octopussy! That was how day one ended.
The next day, I placed myself in front of Octopussy. She had an exoskeleton, or form for sure, but I needed to incorporate cat hair as well. The arms that extended outward seemed to call to MEow. While I rolled the hair in my palms, disks of flattened hair passed through my mind. And that is what I ended up doing, making disks of different sizes, wrapped with steel wire, which hung from the arms.
Oh, how I would like to be,
. . . in an octopuses garden in the shade.
>”< >”< >”< >”< >”<
Introducing a new creation: Oberon.
Out of the blue, minding my own business, as the saying goes, this creation popped into my visually thinking mind, and it begged to be concretized.
That’s how I create.
So here is Oberon, made from sheet metal, galvanized steel mesh, stainless steel and yes, cat hair. And special cat hair to boot! Luna’s! She was feeling a little left out, Gaia getting all the attention, so this one was made using only the softest Luna hair, the hair I brushed from her gorgeous white Elizabethan collar.
Then, to compliment her beautiful soft white hair, I choose sheet metal, for its strength and gray color. Also referred to as mild steel, it’s made from carbon and iron, but mostly iron. I love it! Why? Because it rusts. This is the part I like, it rusts, adding a patina, or character to the metal’s flat surface. I didn’t keep all the rust, I sanded away most, but its presence is still felt.
BBC.UK.CO.COVENTRY/WARWICKSHIRE talk radio
Monday afternoon—message on answering machine:
Hi this is a message for Flora. My name is Andrea and I am calling from BBC Coventry/Warwickshire and am interested in talking to Flora on our show tomorrow about her cat hair jewelry. I am hoping to speak to you on our show at 20 past four, UK time or 20 past eight in the morning over there in San Francisco. Love to chat with you on the show! Cheers Flora, Bye!
Radio. Well, this month I was on national television (Animal Planet, Anderson Cooper), no, world wide television! and two times too! But, what can I say, I expected at least a couple of sales! No sales. I mean, come on now, we’re talking about cat hair jewelry! sounds a bit strange, come to think about it, doesn’t it? OK, OK, time to regroup. What to do? . . . Put one of the most profound teachings of the Wise Cat Sage into practice!, and that is: just this, just now. OHMMMMM….
Part of being here and now is knowing that any process—and that really means this process of living our life—is not linear: it is circular, it is organic, as well as unpredictable. I really do not know what is going to happen next, and that necessarily is not a bad thing! Stay the course, is what I can do. And what is that?: be true to my art, be true to my love. I can also watch for those road signs that will keep my course on track.
Another thing: the new and different is controversial, especially in the beginning. Think: Shock of the New. So, cat hair jewelry is off the radar for most people, for now, but not for long!