Tuesday, March 07, 2006


One of my colleagues when I was teaching decided to develop her skills as an artist. I thought that this was a great idea given that as a history teacher she had already developed her memory. She also spent an inordinate amount of time reading about events in the past to make sense of the present and to hopefully improve the future. Developing her artistic side, I thought, was time better spent!

I bought one of her pieces before I left teaching. It was a charcoal drawing of her cat, a black one, which she had named "Magnificat". Most of you will know The Magnificat as the title of many compositions in music. Composers, such as Bach, Vivaldi and others have created their own masterful Magnificats. My friend's husband was a concert pianist and so the cat's name seemed especially appropriate. The original Magnificat was\is a prayer. I secretly enjoyed the exaultation of the cat's status through its name to something close to the divine!

Here is a knitted piece that I also think comes close to the divine. It is a wall hanging or pillow cover designed by Lucy Neatby entitled "Henry the Cat".

And here are Lucy's own words on Henry and the design of the wall hanging: Lucy Says:
"Henry was inspired by my love of decadent angora yarns and the desire to counterpoint them against a matt background to maximize the contrast of lush and mundane. Also to do a complex intarsia piece of a modest size (to reach the finish before the joy evaporated) with a lot of colour blending. I collaborated with Gail Freisen, then of Four Seasons Knitting Products in Winnipeg, as she stocked the necessary yarns. Henry was my cat during my teenage years - handsome but unpredictable, cuddly one minute and a rapier clawed demon the next. He is a more companionable cat in this reincarnation!"
Thank you so much Lucy for taking the time from that very exciting project that you are working on just now - watch for more on this in the very near future!!
Lucy's exquisite attention to detail, I think, has captured the essence of the cat, or at least the knitter's cat. He is in a lovely home - note the details of the printed wall paper. He is well cared for - look at his lovely coat of angora wool and he appears to be both placid and playful at the same time. Lucy has immortalized Henry, through the medium of knitting, in an intricately framed piece of Art, just as Magnificat was celebrated in charcoal.
Pictured here are my 3 Magnificats - Hunter, Zack and Chloe, with Hunter, at top, coming closest to the divine. Zack, left and Chloe, right, are a little older, perhaps a little wiser and ever planning their escape to the great outdoors.

Enjoy. Carol
P.S. One 100g skein of yellow(sorry I have no black left) hemp and wool to the first person who can post in the comments the name of the witches' cat in Shakespeare's Macbeth.

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