What: Cuffs, handbags, scarves, sculpture and cocoons made from leather, yarn, beads and stones. Leather pieces range from $30 to $350; woven work from $60 to $200 and cocoon sculptures from $60 to $150.
Who: Cat Babbie has yet to find a medium that she doesn’t fancy working with. A budding artist from her earliest days, she remembers collecting crafts as soon as she could color. She headed to James Madison University to study industrial design, but the classes that were calling her were pottery, photography, illustration, metalsmithing and more. Six years ago, she had a hankering for more education, and enrolled in some classes at Tandy Leather, another art form that she now has under her belt.
How: Currently, she’s focusing on leather, weaving and her cocoon sculptures. “Each of these takes a different point of view,” she wrote, “so if I have a weaving issue, I’ll go tool leather for a while, and free up a bit of brain space to figure out the problem on my loom. And if I’m really confused, that’s when I start knitting cocoons! In addition to problem solving, I also get opportunities to cross-pollinate with things like woven bags with leather details. Having more than one medium keeps my creativity fresh.”
On creating cocoons: Babbie admits to gravitating towards art forms with a practical aspect – think a bag to carry things, or a scarf to keep you warm. Not so with the cocoons: She makes these just for their looks, and suggests people hang them from ceilings or window frames. “I love what hanging things from above does to a space; it changes how we interact with the room. They serve as reminders, space holders, for things we tend to forget. To slow down, look up, keep faith.”
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Favorite piece: She loves a leather belt she made when she got married, but a current work “might push that one out of the No. 1 spot.” In her weaving, she’s partial now to the color-gradient scarves of lace-weight silk and wool yarn.”
Find it locally: Beadlush, Boris + Natasha, Gumbo and online at www.catbabbie.com.