This is the third picture that's a part of my "adjectives that end in 'y'" series. I was leaning toward penguins, because of the "nature's tuxedo" look, but then I remembered one of my favorite Disney movies, The Aristocats, and completely changed my mind.
Cats are fun because, like dogs, they can have so much personality. The story I imagined for these cats was along the lines of "Momma cat wanted a nice photo of her classy family, but her kitten got bored and is now playing around, Daddy cat is cringing because he taught the kitten how to remove his collar in the first place, and Momma cat is scowling in disapproval but can't be too mad since she still loves her family."
The irony of having a situation that could have been very sophisticated, but isn't because of the personalities of the subjects, and is still labeled as "classy", really appealed to my sense of humor.
- Merit Award - 100% Pure Florida, 12th annual juried fine art show - Fifth Avenue Gallery, Melbourne, FL - Feb 2017
By the time I was ready to start Classy, I had discovered digital cutting machines and purchased a Cricut Explore Air 2. I was so incredibly excited. Having a method of cutting fabric, without me needing to do it with scissors, was something I'd dreamed about for years. And, finally, I had a machine that would do just that, if I could only figure out how.
Classy started the same as Snoozy: I drew the cats on my iPad. I took my drawing into Illustrator to clean it up and add color. Then I printed it full-size. I still traced each piece by hand, but this time I traced them onto regular paper instead of fusible.
I scanned the sheets with my traced pieces into my computer, and those JPG scans are what I uploaded to the Cricut software for cutting. Classy is the first first artwork I'd ever made for which I did almost no scissor cutting — I did hand-cut the whiskers.
I learned a lot from this process. It wasn't perfect, and I ran into numerous roadblocks that I had to figure out. There were no guides on how to use these machines to cut fabric — or at least no guides that answered the questions I had — so I was a pioneer. But the most important takeaway was that it worked. I'd proved it was possible to have a machine cut my fabric. There was no stopping me at that point.
Classy indirectly led me to one other monumental discovery. It was at the 100% Pure Florida art show where Classy won an award that I met Ellen Lindner, who also had fabric artwork hanging in the show. She introduced me to Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) and opened my eyes to the world of art quilting. That night was one of those pivotal events that you can look back on and say, "My whole life changed right then."