Cat Ivens is a very 'cool cat' - her originality & commitment to her ideas, techniques and materials rocks in every which way. she is currently focused on two materials in her work: sustainable cork and recycled steel. using these materials in conjunction with gorgeous artwork and other repurposed items, like barnwood & galvanized steel, she creates ingenius cork pendants, magnetic lockets, earrings, bulletin/magnet boards, pushpins and so much more.
when i see an artist who pushes boundaries like this in such simple yet unconventional ways – and do it so well – i can barely stand it! progressive artists like Cat are such an asset to the modern art movement of their/our time. in her words: "I seek to use repurposed, recycled and sustainable materials in new, unique and beautiful ways leaving the lightest possible footprint in my wake." that's passion baby!
Cat shared some of her thoughts on passion in art with me recently…
how do you define passion in the handmade genre?
There would be no handmade movement without passion. There would be things that people had made with their hands, but they would be just dead things (and we see handmade things like this all the time and we just look and we move on; they cannot make us feel anything because they are not alive to speak to us). Passion is what makes things come alive or really passion is what they were created with in the first place, so they always were alive.
how do you recognize it and know it?
Passion in the handmade movement is easy to recognize. You know it when you see it because the creation is alive- a little piece of the creator is in there and that thing that they have made is made alive by that piece of themselves. Passion is the genius that is accessible to everyone. We can't all paint like Michelangelo (and of course, no one but Michelangelo, should paint like Michelangelo) but we can all connect with our passion and bring that passion into our lives (and bringing it into our lives will naturally and organically bring it into our work). We connect with our passion through curiosity, empathy, fearlessness, allowing yourself to feel things deeply, see things differently and being willing to put ourselves into the things that we make.
what drives your own passion and makes it irresistable?
One thing that drives my passion is my inability to throw things away (not in a pack rat -wallpapering my house with the Sunday papers kind of way); a need to not give up on things (and yes, this quality has sometimes kept me in bad jobs and bad relationships because good things always bring their shadows with them) and a real desire to create something new out of something that is already there. I truly dislike wastefulness in all forms. I never want to create a better mousetrap- I want to create something else with the mousetrap (of course, I wouldn't actually be messing around with a mousetrap, because a girl, not to mention a mouse, could get hurt!). I think what makes my work irresistible (many have been known to resist it though- boohoo); I would feel more comfortable calling it memorable, is its ability to deliver a unique view of something we have all seen before and hopefully get people thinking about new ways of seeing and using the things in their own lives.