The gold and orange and yellow of tortoiseshell cats may seem more of an autumn theme, but for me those bright colors always meant June and sunshine. I love to welcome the summer with my tortie girls Cookie and Kelly on as many items as I can make.
Not everyone has the room for, or the use for, art on their wall, and I designed these block printed works to be versatile. I do offer them as prints on paper, but I’ve also printed them on sweatshirts, curtains, placemats, tote bags and so on—whatever will hold still long enough for the ink to dry. The black portion is printed in ink, then I go back into the prints and hand tint the shirts by painting ink into the design so that the color stays more durable through washing.
Well, everyone knows a fat cat who knows she’s beautiful, and Cookie would tell you that a woman with a round shape was once most desirable and an object of worship. That’s why I call her “The Goddess”.
“The Roundest Eyes”
Sometimes when I look at Kelly the only feature I can distinguish in all those tortie markings is her extremely round eyes.
I’ve spent a good bit of time in the past month or so printing and painting and sewing and finishing things for this month’s marketplace, and I have more Tortie Girls things than ever before, including a few things I’ve never offered before.
And of course I was duly supervised during the creation and manufacture of all of these items!
Items include the last three Tortie Girls garden flags, tablecloths, place mats, t-shirts, unframed, framed or mounted prints, all listed below with links to my Etsy shop. Shipping cost is included in the prices listed so you don’t need to worry about calculating shipping later. And don’t forget your discount code: JUNE10, to get 10% off your entire order through June 30.
So if Tortie Girls are your definition of summer too, happy shopping!
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Tortie Girls Tees
These white cotton tees are hand-printed with a linoleum block print and then hand-painted with diluted screen-printing ink to resemble the coloring of my tortie girls, Cookie and Kelly. I sign and date each shirt, just as I would a print on paper.
Fabric is lightweight 100% organic African cotton and made in Tanzania bought in a huge lot by Dharma Trading to support their artisans. Shirts are styled with a more open neckline featuring a narrow bound edge, slightly shorter sleeves and a little more fitted than the average unisex tee, and sizes run a little smaller than the typical beefy tee. I offer shirts in sizes S-M-L-XL and printed three each of each size and pattern.
Because of the nature of the medium, each print is unique and ink coverage varies by the surface. Most artists consider this random activity to be part of the process of creating an individualized print, and along with the hand-painting makes a unique wearable work of art.
Many thanks to Jenna Corso-Gentert and her mom May Kay Gentert for modeling my tees! They look so much better on a human than on a hanger, and Jenna has a definite presence for modeling even though she is only 12, just finishing sixth grade. She studies musical theater, vocal training and dance with the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, and in school she is excellent in math and science.
Mary Kay is a member of our rescue group and is the person who trapped and rescued our foster Bella and Bella’s brother Butters, who they adopted. Mary Kay can always be counted on to transport any cats or supplies or traps or whatever a foster might need from anywhere to anywhere in the Pittsburgh area, up to an hour away sometimes. And they made time to come over here and model!
As you see, Mimi, an experienced art model and lighting and set designer, had some modeling pointers for Jenna. She also supervised the whole operation. I only wish the lighting had been better.
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Tortie Girls Totes
And you know how Mimi likes to photobomb my product photography!
These tote bags are heavy-weight poly-cotton canvas measuring 12.5″ wide x 13″ high with a 3″ deep gusset to open and hold a lot of stuff.
Why the odd size? And poly-cotton? These bags are “repurposed”!
Several years ago one of my commercial customers told me he had a box of canvas bags that had been printed badly (the four fingerprints are not dark enough) and he just wanted to get rid of them—was I interested? I took them and initially tried to sell them on ebay but no one bought even one. But I had always wanted to print tote bags with my art, and from the time I’d designed the linocuts I’d wanted to see the Tortie Girls on tote bags, and decided this was a great place to start.
I printed and tinted the design on a natural cotton muslin and layered that fabric with a more opaque fabric underneath to completely cover the original design, used fusible webbing to adhere it all together and to the bag, then stitched around the outside edge to keep it in place.
Each is signed and dated below the design as any of my art is, so it’s art for your arm!
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Tortie Girls Tablecloths
Made of unbleached cotton muslin, this little accent tablecloth is approximately 36″ x 36″ and has the same image printed four times, one on each side. It is signed and dated below the design and has my handwritten “label” reading “handmade, hand-printed, hand-painted” and the year. Washing instructions are included on a separate tag. Each tablecloth is signed, just as I would a print on paper. The edge is finished with an overcast stitch.
I can also customize these to a certain extent by adding your cat’s name. Please tell me you’d like to do this and include your cat’s name in the “notes” section when you order.
Because of the nature of the medium, each print is unique and ink coverage varies by the surface. Most artists consider this random activity to be part of the process of creating an individualized print, and along with the hand-painting makes a unique wearable work of art. They are also slightly odd sizes because I cut the squares without measuring, and though the fabric is nominally 72″ wide it’s not exactly that size, so…it makes them interesting.
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Tortie Girls Placemats
I made these extra-large 14″ x 18″ placemats of sturdy cotton duck with a folded hem on the top, bottom and left edges and the selvage on the right. Each is signed and dated below the design as any of my art is, so it’s art for your table! I sign each placemat, just as I would a print on paper.
I can also customize these to a certain extent by adding your cat’s name. Please tell me you ‘d like to do this and include your cat’s name in the “notes” section when you order. Please ask about set pricing if you’d like more than one.
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Tortie Girls Prints
I originally designed these in 2001 before digital and giclee printing were affordable to take with me to smaller art festivals and to donate to shelter and rescue events. These framed prints were the original intent and while they’ve gone so much farther in the past 14 years I still love these prints matted and framed as I’d visualized them before I even purchased the linoleum blocks.
They are a set of hand printed, hand tinted linoleum block prints featuring my tortoiseshell girls. I print them with screen printing ink and then hand tint each one with watercolor. I offer them matted and framed and ready to hang, or you can get them matted only, tinted only with no mat, or just the print, and you can also choose just “The Goddess” or “The Roundest Eyes”. Each image is 8″ x 12″, with mat and frame outside dimensions 16″ x 20″, horizontal or vertical as shown in the photo.
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Tortie Girls Wood Mount Prints
The 9″ x 12″ block, originally intended for painting, is a 1/8″ birch wood panel “cradled” with a 1.5″ tall canvas stretcher added to the back for strength and stability and, incidentally, ease of hanging, and this size can even stand up on a tabletop. I’ve painted the sides black and mounted a print edge to edge on the top surface, then covered it with acrylic finish. I offer “The Goddess” and “The Roundest Eyes” individually as well as in a set.
The prints are hand-colored and signed block prints of “The Goddess” and “The Roundest Eyes” decoupaged on the surface. I first print the block print in acrylic ink on rice paper, allow it to dry, and hand color each one individually with watercolors. Then I paint the block with acrylic paint, black on the sides and white on top. I adhere the finished, colored print onto the block and let it dry, then put a coat of matte-finish acrylic on the top and sides.
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Tortie Girls Prints Hot Pads
This product is an 9″ x 12″ cork-backed wood panel with feline art on the front that you can use as a hot pad or a decorative item to protect your countertop–or any surface, not just the kitchen counters!
The print is a hand-colored, hand-tinted and signed block print decoupaged on the surface. I first print the block print in acrylic ink on rice paper, allow it to dry, and hand color each one individually with watercolors.
I used an 9″ x 12″ hardboard panel 1/8″ thick originally intended for oil or acrylic painting and adhered a high-quality digital print of one of my paintings to the front. I covered the front and edges with several thin coats of satin-finish acrylic varnish, the same one that’s lasted 15 years on my kitchen counters, for protection from moisture and heat, and easy clean-up. It is backed with a thin sheet of cork to keep it in place.
The surface will withstand the occasional heat of items from a moderately hot oven such as glass casseroles or pie pans, and also will resist water and other liquids so you can use it under glasses or mugs. I don’t recommend completely immersing it in water to wash, but wiping it with mild detergent and then rinsing.
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Tortie Girls Prints Garden Flags
I’m a little sad that I won’t be able to offer these garden flags anymore unless I come up with another way to create small quantities of them. And I only have two of “The Goddess” and one of “The Roundest Eyes” left!
These “garden flags” are digitally printed on both sides of a heavyweight, durable indoor/outdoor woven printable fabric, and I finish by adding the rod pocket. (Bracket is not included.) Each flag has a design on both sides, in this case it’s “The Goddess on both sides, one side with a white background and one side with a yellow background. Flags are 11” wide x 15” tall and fit the most common garden flag bracket available, sold in most hardware and home renovation stores with a garden area.
Mimi scolds me for not letting the blocks dry properly.
Take a look at other new merchandise and featured artwork.
Once a week on Thursday I feature something new in my “shop”, whether that’s here on The Creative Cat, in my Etsy shop, on my main website or even at one of the bricks and mortar shops that carry my work.
Read about creating custom items
Find out more about creating custom items for your own home using the images you see here. Visit the “Ordering Custom Art” page to see samples and read bout how to order.
Find out about events and festivals where you can find me and my work.
Sign up for my e-newsletter (below), check the widget on the sidebar on my home page, or sign up to receive posts on Portraits of Animals Marketplace. I plan on plenty of events this coming summer in the Pittsburgh area.
It’s all done under the close and careful supervision of my studio cats!
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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.