This is in honor of my new co-tenants. I have a happy family of squirrels living in the downstairs studio ceiling. They’re a quiet bunch. I wouldn’t have known they were there until they chewed the drain pipe for the furnace. Twice. Now the pipe flushes around a half cup of water every hour onto the studio table. Yes, I have a bucket. Yes the plumber will come again. Yes the squirrel trapping guy is coming this morning. No, I’m not happy, particularly about the flooded fabric. Two bolts of cotton are going to need some special dyeing.
I’ve often been asked why I don’t do fuzzy creatures. It’s simpler than you would think. Almost everything I do is a portrait in some way and I rarely see myself as fuzzy. If you’re 5 foot tall, just about that wide and have a pug nose, you fight an anti-cute campaign constantly. At my mother’s funeral, I had grown people grab me by the cheek pinch and pat my head. Where I come from, that’s legal cause to bite someone. I used to cuss like a some people paint in oil. “The undertext is “I am not a child. I am not a child I am not a child. REALLY!” Of course if you need to say it, you can’t ever ever prove it. So portraying myself as something fuzzy, just doesn’t happen often.
I’d never done fuzzy creatures until I did this commission. It was an education! Fur actually does have a nap and its not all that hard to create that. These were my first fuzzy babies. They were fun and they were a reason to try it again. They just weren’t as personally connective.
When Birdy had her bunny experience, it was necessary to do some bunny quilts. Bird found a bunny in the garden and sat down with it in a companionable way for around a half hour. Bird has really no prey instinct. It’s one of her nicer qualities. She found the bunny fascinating, but she just sat with it. It hopped into a bush and she looked at me, with her very short attention span as if to say “What was that?” Too funny. Had to quilt it.
Mice are companionable too. I only object when they want to move inside. Of course when they moved into the studio and started to poop crayola colors, it needed in some way to be documented.
So the cute thing keeps me from doing a lot of fur. Although now that my hair is a lovely silvery grey, I don’t worry about it so much. A cute 30 year old gets treated like a 3 year old. A cute almost 60 year old can do pretty much whatever she wants. Just because they can’t figure out whether she’s old or young. I do like that,
You’ll find information about Frank Hayes, the writer of Little Fuzzy Animals, on Wickipedia. He’s a filker ( A science fiction folk musician) of great renown. He and I played in a contra band four thousand years ago. His hysterical music can be found at Firebird Music.
You’ll find Birdy’s comments about mice at Studio Dogs, Studio Mice in an earlier blog on the subject.