Painting Cats in Clothes Inspired by Literature

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Thar Be Dragons, Cats, and Treasures Buried in a Book’s Pages

African Cat bookmark

After Christmas, I spent a teensy bit of money buying supplies for my shop… including a nifty lamination machine for making bookmarks. Previously, I’d been using acrylic varnish to seal the card-stock and paper used for my bookmarks, but I wasn’t totally satisfied with the results. I wanted something flexible AND water-resistant AND durable, because my bookmarks suffer from constant abuse. Heehee

Mr Darcy Cat bookmark

I’m a voracious reader, rarely leaving home without a book in hand, except for those quick trips where I’m mostly sitting behind the wheel of my car. I’m sure the other drivers wouldn’t appreciate glancing over at the vehicle beside them, to see my face buried in a novel and absentmindedly steering.

If the book is small enough, it gets crammed into my drawstring knapsack/purse, forced to occupy space with my checkbook, hairbrush, car keys, and whatever else is living inside the dark, cavernous depths of quilted fabric.
Larger books wind up at the bottom of tote bags I carry around on errands, laundry hampers taken outside to hang clothes (to read while they dry!), trips to the park in the kids’ wagon, or stuffed into my locker at work for a lunch-time alternative to the local newspapers and sleazy tabloids lying around our break-room.
Although occasionally someone will bring in a Time magazine ~ oh, the torment!

Jane Bennet Cat bookmark

The laminating machine has been waiting patiently in my studio closet, so the other weekend I made a batch of bookmarks to destroy test their durability. Within 24 hours, I’d spilled hot chocolate onto one of them (the book itself was in my lap at the time ~ not on the table, thankfully! Haha!)
The liquid wiped right off, without leaving a stain! The bookmark looked great.

I do realize that given enough time, the edges will likely curl, and the plastic will get a bit scuffed with constant use/abuse… but I predict they will withstand quite a bit of abuse.

Each bookmark features one of my cat portraits, reproduced onto Ultra Premium Presentation paper using pigment inks, and coupled with a piece of complimentary colored card-stock on the back.

Handmade laminated bookmarks

Feeling confident enough with their construction, I’ve begun to list individual bookmarks for sale in my Etsy shop. Eventually I hope to list them all, and bookmark sets as well!

I took a few photographs of them using old books as “props”, and made an awesome discovery! In my copy of The Forsyte Saga, I found a newspaper article clipping that dates all the way back to 1948. Here is the archived article online; apparently the book’s owner lived in Wisconsin at some point. The clipped article dealt with children’s illnesses and the ‘Five Feminine Hungers’ ~ which was an interesting glimpse into relationship counseling in the late 1940s.

Newspaper clipping, photo, and card found inside old book

There was also a vintage photograph of a toddler boy, cropped in half, as well as this vintage Hallmark card congratulating someone on their new arrival. The card was signed “With our love, Teresa and Frank Nesci”.

I’m not sure whether the book held special significance, or if these items were simply used as bookmarks!
As someone who enjoys collecting photographs of strangers, coupled by a voyeuristic urge to read grocery receipts and other discarded scraps, this was an exciting find! Unfortunately Google didn’t provide me with much info on the Nescis, the toddler’s photo was unsigned, and I have no idea who previously owned my copy of The Forsyte Saga.

Perhaps someday I’ll bump into that little boy ~ who must be in his 60′s now.

Cat bookmark in Christopher Paolini's novel Brisingr

For anyone interested, I’m currently on the 3rd book of the Inheritance saga, by Christopher Paolini. I read the first novel, “Eragon”, in 2007 (shortly before seeing the cheesy film based on it)… and I’ve just recently taken up these books again, now that the author has completed the journey.

When friends inquire about the series, I’ve summed up the story as “a cross between Dungeons & Dragons and Star Wars” ~ with a medieval landscape, fantasy characters (elves, dwarves, dragons, etc.), and a plot that pits a fractured rebellion against the evil Empire, with the assumed last Dragon Rider (a young, inexperienced boy who learns from a secret master) championed as their “only hope”. ;)

It’s really good, I swear! LOL

I’m considering whether to dedicate a post to Eragon and Saphira once the journey is over. And I really should make Dragon Dommie into a bookmark for reading Inheritance; it would be appropriate, don’t you think? :)

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