‘Cat in the Moonlight’1987
29" x 25" including frame Not For Sale
Many years ago, my young daughter Sophie on her way to school one morning said to me “The trouble with Batik is that you couldn’t do a black cat at night could you mum?” This came from my explanation to an earlier question, that in Batik, black is the last colour to go on and it can only dye the parts of the picture not covered by wax. Thoughtful, then amused by this, she said that maybe a Batik of a black cat at night would not have any wax on at all and would in fact be just a black piece of cloth.
So she left for school having thrown down a challenge…
That morning it happened that I was finishing a drawing for a commission of the view from my client’s window of the church in Hayfield in Derbyshire, surrounded by houses and rooftops, looking out to the distant hills and grazing sheep. With my mind still on Sophie’s question, I started altering the drawing. First I added the moon and stars and then the black cat. Then I traced it onto the cloth and started work on the Batik. The combination of colours I used were ones I had never before put together but they worked brilliantly. A week later I called her into the studio where it was pinned up in the window. ‘There you are Soph, a black cat at night!”
A week later I did the commission for my client just as she had asked, with green fields, sheep and sunny blue sky – but without the cat. She was very happy with it. I kept ‘Cat in the Moonlight’ and later, resisted a large bid from a Japanese trade buyer. The rest is history.
You know how sometimes you do something and when you stand back and look at it, you think ‘Did I really do that?’ This picture happened by that sort of ‘magic’ and it’s always been very special to me and is now a family heirloom.
‘Cat in the Moonlight’, has been reproduced on all my products throughout the range, my best-selling design of all time becoming my signature piece – all thanks to 8 year old Sophie’s insatiable curiosity. It hangs in pride of place in my Gallery in Shropshire – but of course is not for sale.