Thursday, November 27, 2008

Felt the Need

The last two nights I've stayed up until 4am gluing whiskers into a little caterpillarie puppet. Did I mention the whiskers were real?

The venerable pet, Catalina, seemed to drop whiskers over the span of her 18 years of life and for some reason they seemed too cool to throw away. I would stick them into a bulletin board next to her photo and every so often I'd chuck them into a little box.

When Paul said he missed Catalina and named the puppet after her I thought I'd go ahead and use the tips of the real Catalina's whisks (I was surprised to see a couple hundred in the box) as only real whiskers taper to nothing at the very tips. This could be the weirdest thing about me.

I poked holes with a needle and then tried to jam the whisker tip into the end of the one inch long felt puppet with glue. I liked the way the wild splay of them (as it was last night on left) looked similar to some types of woolly hairs on real caterpillars, their feelers.

Today I finished the felt ears and added a striped tail. (the rear view on right shows the crawl away angle--and that IS what you think it is!) I changed the felt color to suggest a Tabby breed, gray by dusting with graphite powder and a whisker brush's worth of black and white paint.

This is sure to be Halfland's smallest puppet of all. While it doesn't look very much like her, I like having this tiny tribute to her in it.


  1. That caterpillarie Catalina puppet has HUGE whiskers for her size! Reminds me a little of a lion fish

    Very resourceful...nothing beats the real thing!

  2. Real whiskers?

    Firstly, who the hell keeps whiskers? Secondly... no, nup, there's only a firstly ;)

    Hahaha... Strange but great!


  3. Anonymous8:53 PM

    What, TWO new posts? Hurrah!

    I don't think that's weird. (I kept a box of whiskers from a dead seal for years, just because of that taper. They went onto a cat mask.) Don't think I ever saw a dropped whisker from my cat, but if I had ida been onto them!

    That's one cute-a-pillar puppet!

  4. EXACTLY, Mike LeT, There are caterpillars with lion fish like fila feelers too. Like this Woolly bear dude!

    Hi, Rich! I myself think it creepy and weird in part except for the fact that they make the irreplaceable best taper thin micro whiskers!

    Now, admittedly, the example of the bugger I made doesn't show off the ends very well as I used thin nylon thread to fill in the real cat whiskers (the task was too small for me to do with poking and gluing--had to sew the threads to fill in where needed).

    ...But I can report to you that the real whiskers are the only way to get that amazing macro micro whisker effect. They go from hair thin to air thin in a smooth decline and even cutting one into a steep angled point won't match it.

    If for some reason you ever need to make a cat puppet, I'll send you enough to whisker it and you'll be converted for-everah!

    SEALskers!!??? That's brilliant, Nick! I never would have thought of it but now that you mention it, a taxidermist would be a great source for these things.

    THANK YOU for making me not only not feel like not such a weirdo but actually smart to have done something you might have! HOORAY! Validation! woot! Nothing like it! Weirdos of the World UNITE! hee. (at least the Whisker Weirdos of the World. woot)

  5. Hahaha, just because there's two of you doesn't mean you're not weird.

    Just jokes, Herman!

  6. Yes, but we feel better about it! Right whisker weird-o-mate, Nick? Don't forget, Rich, digging stop motion in and of itself would be considered way weird in some circles. Squares too.

    I personally fly my freak flags proud and high! [salutes]


  7. Hi Shelley - I've just been looking over your recent posts. I really love the attention to detail. The caterpillars look great. Way to go using real cat whiskers!

    Watch out Starevitch!

  8. Thanks, Paul! That's right, I forgot about Starevitch's use of real insects and things in his stop motion films.

    I am using real shiny green beetles in this film as well. They are the Knitting Beetles.

  9. Ok, this one I HAVE to comment on...


    I don't know why, exactly...I think somewhere along the line someone told me they were good luck. Or maybe I dreamed it. Or maybe it's just a figment of my imagination...

    Weird? No arguement there....But my luck's been pretty good over the last couple years, so when I find 'em I put 'em in the magic good luck box. Maybe they'll make it into a Red Hatchet Film someday!


  10. Well, that's IT then! Anyone who DOESN'T collect cat whiskers is WEIRD!!!!

    Thanks for telling the tale, Brother Granberry! Good luck for everyone!

    I read online somewhere long ago that someone collected not only their cat's whiskers but also the husks of the claws found when the cat chomped off an old one to expose the new. I didn't even know that happens (and I like to think I'd be grossed out about collecting my cats old claws.) So weird is relative--yay! Yay for the relativity of weirdness!

    And while I'm on the roll, I felt with sheep's wool and love it. Some people who are not me felt with their cat's fur! Yikes! Just because you can doesn't mean you should! I hate wasting things just as much as the next person but I ain't wearing no article of clothing made outta my CAT!

    Goodnight, nutty nurses!


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