Monday, June 13, 2011

Cat Hair Jewelry By Flora Davis

It's no secret I'm a fan of crafting with cat hair, and it appears that the practice is well on its way to becoming a full-on trend!
The "Crafting With Cat Hair" book is set to be released by Quirk Books on November 1st, Kate Benjamin of Moderncat recently had some of her cat's hair turned into jewelry in honor of National Hairball Awareness Day, and I've just learned that San Francisco-based jewelry designer Flora Davis also creates unexpectedly chic objects out of the fluffy stuff!

Davis, who enjoys the transformation of simple, plain components into beautiful objects, primarily works in metals, but her gorgeous cat inspired her to start working with the natural, plentiful element of cat hair.
I asked if she could tell me more about her cat model/donor, as well as how cat hair jewelry became part of her collection, and she happily agreed.
Read on for more!
Gaia

Flora, please tell me more about your beautiful cat!
Gaia, who has captivating aquamarine eyes, is a 3-year old male flame point Ragamuffin (a newish breed), whose luxurious fur is long, thick and white with a salmon accent. His hair is more similar to rabbit than cat and needs to be combed at least once a week.

I named him Gaia (meaning earth) because his half sister Luna’s name means moon. And, he’s a guy-ya, or the way his name is phonetically heard. Even though Gaia is a big cat, 15 pounds, he has the most endearing meow, a squeaky singsong. He is playful, has a sweet disposition and follows us around the apartment.


The hair was collected during grooming sessions from my indoor, purebred Ragamuffin cat. His hair is very soft; almost rabbit like when touched. It took many grooming sessions to collect the hair, then more time to felt it into solid round balls. Finally, it was strung using silver wire.

What inspired you to start making jewelry out of cat hair?
When Gaia was one year old, I discovered that a rolling comb delivered mounds of fluffy hair. Ordinarily I would have thrown the hair into the compost, but it felt so soft in my hands, I couldn’t bring myself to throw it away. As I examined his beautiful hair, I started rolling it into a ball and then, on impulse, I threw it to him. He loved it!
But Gaia is a serious shedder and over time, the balls began to accumulate around the apartment. Awash in hairballs, I gathered a bowlful and placed them on top of the piano in our apartment. Surprisingly, the balls had a lovely appearance that reminded me of oversized white pearls. This was my inspiration for using Gaia's "toys" in a way that would display my love for him.

Gaia sleeping with a collection of his fur balls
How long does it take to gather enough cat hair to make one of your necklaces?
Each combing session yields maybe 3 small balls. I do try to be sensitive to Gaia; he can tolerate only so much brushing. Two of my necklaces have 23 balls of varied sizes and they took about 3 months of collecting.

What has been the reaction to your cat hair pieces so far, and do you plan on adding any more items to the collection?
I get compliments when I wear my necklace and then astonishment when they learn that it is made from cat hair. And, I have to admit that non-cat people (as in Etsy’s Keep It Weird: Cat Lady) find the cat jewelry downright bizarre.
I do plan on making more cat hair jewelry. I have some ideas and will begin once I have collected enough hair.


Special thanks to Flora for taking the time to answer my questions! Please be sure to stop by her online shop to see more of her work, and to learn about her process.
In addition to her caged hairball necklace recently being featured in Etsy's Keep It Weird: Cat Lady post, her cat Gaia is also making a name for himself! Flora says he will be getting some publicity next month in The San Francisco Chronicle, where the column “Pet Tales” will be running a story about him on Wednesday, July 6, 2011.
I've been collecting Charlie and Priscilla's hair since February, but still don't have much to show for it. At this rate, it might be years before I have enough to make a necklace. We're going to have to pick up the pace, or maybe just stick to something smaller, like a pin - or pair of earrings!
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13 comments:

Katnip Lounge said...

Holy Cod! I wonder if she buys cat hair...I'll be rich!

Layla Morgan Wilde said...

Has Covered in Cat Hair seen this? This takes recycling to a new level.

Princess Jasmine said...

Oooh, mummy is off to empty the hoover to have a go :)xx

Angie, Catladyland said...

They look like little cotton balls! I have a surplus of grey fur that would make a smashing tiara!

Mr Puddy said...

That's good looking furry jewelry !!!

Marg said...

I am with Katnip, we would be rich if we could sell the cat hair. These cats would be getting brushed every single day.There must be a market for cat hair. Have a great evening.

Tamago said...

Oh my goodness, it is the most beautiful jewelry I've ever seen!!! How unique and creative!!

Nadbugs said...

I think the "pearls" are completely fabulous. Who'd'a thunk. I can just imagine how lovely they'd feel on my skin. Heaven!

m. doram said...

love it! after all, wool is hair also....

cate said...

I have a huge mountain of fur balls and keep wondering what to do with them! :)

Purrfect Haven said...

that is an inspiration! gotta see what I can do with my boys fluff! Love Helen

The Beading Gem said...

Came across this wonderful post in the comments section of Kate Benjamin's blog, Modern Cat. I own 3 cats myself and suddenly find myself looking at their fur in a different light!

I write a jewelry blog and will link in a future blog post about cat fur jewelry!

Catsparella said...

@The Beading Gem That would be wonderful! Thanks for stopping by :)

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