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There is ALWAYS a sodding cat hair!

by Helen Aldous

I hate framing my work. I know it’s an essential part of being an artists and a skill I need to hone but boy does it suck. I would rather do anything, ANYTHING other than frame. Everything looks alluring, cleaning the loo, scraping those grim bits of food out of the crack in the table, going to a parents evening, anything. I have become just a little pathalogical about avoiding it. And because I hate it so much I always leave it till the last minute before an exhibition thus putting even more pressure on myself.

24 hours to go. There is finally no escape

It comes to the final day before the hand in deadline. Grumpy and stressed I have no alternative but to just get down to it and do it.

So I get all my equipment out and start to enforce “The Framing Zone”. This is an area in the tradition of a NASA “Clean Room”- allegedly free from all traces of jam, cat sick, dust bunnies, half eaten sweets, kid detritus, unidentified gooey things and the general mess of which my house seems to be primarily constructed. My long suffering husband and kids know that they enter “The Framing Zone” at their peril.

The crucial importance of wine in the framing process

The final part of preparation is to ensure I have a LARGE glass of wine for moral support.

And then it begins. I measure, mark, cut, tape, clean, screw and swear a lot. {This is why the kids need to be kept out of the area}.

Then finally, my framing completed I take the finished masterpiece out into the kitchen under the strong light. And you know what?

THERE IS ALWAYS A
SODDING CAT HAIR!

It drives me wild! No matter how careful and sterile I am and no matter how hard I check before finally screwing the back on the picture, a errant cat hair will always have sneaked under the glass and be compressed on a really obvious bit of the picture. This necessitates a return back to square one, taking the whole thing apart and trying to find the culprit {which often disappears as soon as the glass is moved due to some evil static power, only to reappear again when everything is put back together}

At this point I have twice managed to smash the glass on a frame as I fumble angrily to reassemble everything. Do you see why the wine is so important now?

Which brings me neatly to my “gigantic cat hair of life” theory

Seriously… The “gigantic cat hair of life” theory is really IMPORTANT for artists.

This theory states that whenever you are trying to achieve something, be it opening an exhibition, changing your career, selling your art, starting your creative business, however meticulously you plan, however careful you are there will always be one or two massive great “cat hairs” that turn up and complicate things, mess things up for a while and make things even harder than they need to be.

This will make you want to give up, shout and swear and chuck your work out of the window.

The key thing is not necessarily to avoid the cat hairs, as that is, as we know, impossible, there will always be one or two. The key is to deal with them well when they arrive. Don’t let them derail you or stop you from achieving your goal and getting where you want to be. Just remove them calmly by whatever means necessary, take a big swig of wine and carry on.

Creative survivors have “cat hair” removal down to a fine art

The people who do well with their creative careers and survive still get the cat hairs to deal with but they just pluck em off and carry on, dealing calmly with whatever adversity throws at them. The ones who sink let the first cat hair they find turn them into a nervous wreck and stop what they are doing, often justifying it with excuses about “not having the right hoover” or cat hair removal tool.

Just remember there will always be a sodding cat hair. That’s life. It’s how you deal with it that counts.

Have you had “cat hairs” to deal with in your creative career? How did you sort them out? Tell us in the comments.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Nicole January 10, 2011 at 1:24 am

Hahah! Loved this post. Doing things imperfectly has been a big lesson for me as well. Just git ‘er done! And don’t worry about all those cat hairs.

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Helen Aldous January 10, 2011 at 9:44 pm

Absolutely Nicole. “Just git ‘er done” is the way forward ;-)

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Helen Aldous November 5, 2010 at 10:59 pm

LOL Lisa. That sounds SO familiar ;-) Mine sneak in to watch my fish {he’s in the studio for his own safety from them and to try and make the place feel calmer } I’m sure I could frame in a vacuum and there would STILL be a cat hair! ;-)

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Lisa Kretchman November 5, 2010 at 7:54 pm

Thank you for this post – so funny and so true. I have two Australian Shepherds and two cats (I must be a glutton for punishment) that are always trying to sneak into the studio. Just 10 minutes ago one cat knocked over the potted plant to boot. Framing in there is a nightmare! I vacuum like a crazy person before I get started and still manage to find a piece of lint or hair that sneaks in. I am so glad that I’m not the only one.

-Lisa

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Helen Aldous October 5, 2010 at 7:27 am

LOL. So glad it’s not just me. ;-) I have taken to framing in my outdoor studio space where no cat has ever been and it still happens in there! How do they do it?? Still. It trains us with the creative Chutzpah to keep going ;-)

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Julia October 4, 2010 at 8:50 pm

Sorry, I’ve already posted a couple of other comments but i had to post about this one. Really got my chuckle muscle! :D

I’m lucky enough to have framing machinery in my cellar. I’m also lucky enough to own a Border Collie.. Who moults for Britain turns the dreaded cat hair of life into a fine art! Or should i say dog hair of life?

How many times have I been sure its perfect. Added the fletchers and pasted up only to turn it over to find a single 2 inch black hair!

Being a realistic optimist I always first give it a shake before reality kicks in. Sometimes the dreaded hair of life optimistically drops to the bottom behind the frame!

My studio is now a dog free zone and yet the dog hairs of life still appear. :) So I suppose its just the way it is. When the dog, or cat, hairs appear – and they will… Just make sure, as Helen suggests, that its a full bodied bottle. It is the only worthwhile solution!

Rgds

Julia

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