the Unofficial Studio Managers

Quite a few of the Artisans Gallery team members have unofficial studio managers helping the artists better manage their work / play balance.

In our busy, fast paced world we often forget to take time out and there is no better way to have a break from the studio than to attend to the needs of our furry, unofficial self-appointed studio managers.

Please meet some of them –

This is Arabella, my rescue rabbit sitting on my fabric piles. She was on the larger one just a minute ago when I was trying to get some fabric from there and now she has intuitively moved to the smaller pile that I need to look thru. She makes sure that I take breaks often, particularly when I am half way thru a project and if any part of it is near her she will commandeer the materials.

Apart from that she makes sure that I dote on her with kisses as she sleeps next to my work table.

Wesley my other rescue rabbit enjoys playing possum on top of his vegetables.

Every hour they both get cuddles, it keeps me moving and keeps them happy.

This is Lee’s tuxedo cat, Wally, sitting on a package waiting to be shipped. She likes to hang out with Lee in her computer room and oversees the printing and labeling for shipping. Wally is a girl but she got a boy’s name as a kitten because she was born with a moustache. (incidentally moustaches are very popular on Etsy making her very Etsy trendy!)

Wally is a 9 year old Himalayan cat who was born in Lee’s closet after taking in a pregnant stray cat. As Lee says Wally likes to be in charge of all their family activity, she's very social and most of their friends greet Wally when they come over as if she were a person. Wally was raised by Lee’s daughter Marci and spent many years parading around the house in doll clothes.

However now that Wally is the unofficial studio manager Lee trusts Wally in her pottery studio - she has never broken a pot and likes to curl up in bisque fired bowls!

This is Frannie the Brittany and Rylie the Brussels Griffon, Rose’s two very independent dogs. They have their set routine of healthy naps, breakfast and dinner. When it is time to play or go for a walk and if Rose happens to forget then they both persistently remind her by pawing at her legs and nudging her with their noses. Frannie follows Rose everywhere, only inches from her and if Rose is standing then Frannie lies down behind her. Rose has come close to tripping over her a few times!

Rose says that usually Frannie will have a ball in her mouth waiting as patiently as she can. When Rose picks up the ball they dance and jump around her excitedly waiting for it be thrown. Now you would think with that behavior they would be out playing ball for a long time? but, no, Rose throws the ball and Frannie goes for it. She picks it up and starts to run back, and that is Rylie's cue to chase her. Guess what? Rose never gets the ball back until they all go inside and Frannie drops the ball. It's all a game to them with Frannie not realizing she could actually be playing ball for a long time if she would only bring it back to Rose!

Rylie loves to sleep in Rose’s favourite chair (I’ve heard that one before!) so she has to shoo him out so she can sit and create, but not without feeling guilty for making him move! However I see Rylie is the perfect studio manager with a holiday ticket for hard-working Rose! (or is it for himself and Frannie?)

This is mama Bootsy, Victoria’s brand new self appointed art manager, and she didn’t come alone. She produced 3 kittens to keep Victoria on her toes! They are being brought up in style in a tabby cat plush bed.

Victoria named the stray teenage mother after Bootsy Collins of Funkadelic fame. She has very attractive white go-go boots on her hind legs! The kittens are only a couple of weeks old and Bootsy herself is still a youngster. They are being nursed safely in Victoria’s bedroom as she has repairmen on site. This week they are just opening their eyes and mama is spending all night with them now that the temperature has dropped and it’s a little chilly.

When Bootsy first started hanging around she was very skinny but thanks to Victoria she has put on some weight. Victoria says she is perfectly fine as an arts manager, not overbearing and more interested in getting to know the backyard’s chipmunk population rather than advising on composition.

Victoria will be looking for homes for the babies when they are weaned. I am sure they will love to be studio managers as well.

This is Leonardo, or as Jessica calls him Leo. He is her one eyed wonder dog and lost his eye to a tumour a few years ago. He handled the surgery and recovery like a pro and it hasn’t slowed him down a bit.

Jessica says that painting can be an intense and heady experience and Leo’s non-stop energy requires her to take much needed breaks when she recharges.

He loves to play stick and always shows hilarious anticipation until she throws it and he is very skilled at leaping into the air to catch a Frisbee. The time is special as they laugh and play, with Leo bringing a wonderful balance to Jessica’s life.

He is also a great snuggler and of course Jessica is very proud of him!

This is Tudor, Carita’s little cat that she found in a barn. She noticed that a wild cat had had kittens there but after not seeing the mum for a few days she started to get worried and searched the barn and found this little kitten. He was so small she had to feed and wash him as he couldn’t do it for himself.

Now Tudor follows Carita everywhere. He has stolen her heart completely and no matter if she has lots of work, all he has to do is sit by her chair and mew for her to immediately cuddle and play with him instead. How can she resist? And she says he knows it! If she ignores him he always tries to attract her attention with a funny pose!

But even if he can be too playful at times, he actually cleans and sorts his toys himself! Carita says she is not kidding. Tudor has a place where he puts all his toys when he’s not playing with them and picks up one toy at the time, plays with it and when he gets bored with that one he puts it back and chooses another! Very handy!

He’s not allowed in Carita’s workplace but when he does get in how could she ever be angry when this sight greets her? Here is Tudor in the middle of her stone and metal boxes.

Just making sure that his staff gets a proper break!

Estella and Esther are lucky to have not 1 but 14 small managers! They are all rescues from the streets after being abandoned and many are lovely breeds. They are, in no particular order, Bibi, Mimi, Lili, Simon, Zeyno, Elsie, Daisy, Lucky, Toffee, Ernie, Ideefix, Fleurtje, Ufo and Leo. She loves them to pieces and they are a real joy and it’s much more fun to watch them play than watching television. They have the freedom of a back yard to exercise and play and just looking after them all keeps Estella very busy indeed!

Estella says Mimi, Lili, Toffee and Ernie are Cocker Spaniels from one nest. They were locked in a dark room and the last 4 of 9 for sale in a vet’s clinic but we persuaded the vet to give them to us for free for a guaranteed good home.
Bibi is also a cocker spaniel and our oldest resident. We found her full of ticks, dirty, hungry and dehydrated in a construction building more than 8 years ago.
Daisy is a Terrier we found on the street, again dirty and needing a lot of attention. One and a half months after taking her in she had a litter of puppies. Four survived - Techno, Leo, Cosmo and Ufo. Unfortunately Techno died very young and we managed to find a good home for Cosmo. Leo and Ufo stayed with us and have just turned 7.
Simon is a border collie and a woman literally pushed him into my mum’s hands and said ''you'll love him''. Mum was too shocked to answer, but the woman was right, we love him. 
Zeyno was found by a friend during an earth quake as a tiny puppy who could fit into our hands. Now she is a 40kg couch-cow! (as she always lies on the couch).
Elsie is my mum’s girl, a black terrier, a sweetheart and a little devil at the same time. We found her with hundreds of ticks and almost starving. She still is boney although she eats more than I do!
Lucky and Ideefix are both white terriers, saved from the streets and live happily with us. Ideefix is short legged, extremly ugly and therefore of course incredibly macho.
Fleurtje was our last baby found on the streets 3 years ago. She was so quiet and sweet but a few days after finding her  we discovered she has the looks of an angel but the voice of a, hmmm... I don't think anything has such a voice!

Estella wants to add that as well as helping her manage her time they are have excellent taste in fashion and like nothing better than helping Estella to accessorize! Here they show the Mid Autumn Scarf.

This is Bert, one of Heidi’s three cats. Bert prefers living upstairs, he’s a super-shiny, formerly feral tuxedo who is still learning, after 8 years, how to meow. Heidi says feral cats don’t meow much, if at all and Bert is still practicing to get it right. When Heidi is creating upstairs with her portable bead board then Bert likes to fish individual beads out of the compartments of it and fling them into the air, preferably onto the floor and under the bed where it’s much harder for her to retrieve them.

And this is elegant Zoe. When Heidi is creating downstairs she is accompanied by Zoe and Leo. They watch the strands of beads with a crazy gleam in their eyes, and pounce if the opportunity arises. Zoe is a beautiful black and white ball of fluff and she loves anything sparkly. Heidi likes to think that’s because she’s a bit of a drama queen. She likes to have everything ‘just so’ whilst the boys are a bit more ‘scattered’.

Leo is a sweet giant who looks like a yeti and prefers good solid gemstones while they’re still strung on temporary plastic strands. Occasionally one of his giant white paws reaches up onto the couch in search of his prey (most recently, a strand of orange calcite). This is Leo sleeping happily in a wooden tray which used to be Heidi’s for jewellery making.

Heidi has a peaceful workroom and usually there is a content cat sleeping in the pet bed by her window that she bought on Etsy but despite this oasis she loves to create among a little bit of chaos and work wherever feels right at the moment and that usually involves sitting with one of her three cats.

And the photo above is when Leo first joined the family. My, my, hasn’t he grown!

This is Zenny and Ted, Pey’s two rottweilers under the table napping. Pey calls them her Table Guards! They enjoy looking after Pey’s studio and house after playing, eating, walking and napping.

They both get delicious homemade meals and lots of love and attention and that takes up a lot of Pey’s time from creating but she wouldn’t be without them.

This is Zenny, he can't walk much so he enjoys the great outdoors from his hut on the open porch. He believes in neighbourhood watch and loves delivery men. He has just chewed a stick from the park (brought back by Ted) to bits!

This is Ted watching the world go by from the porch gate.

and this is Charlie, Pey's quality control manager, trying to have a bit of shut-eye after a busy day.

..... can we have the lights off please ......

.... and some silence .....


pey said...

Utterly enjoyable !!!
Thanks so much for putting this together. Annette.
Love to see more !

who.knows.what.dreams.may.go said...

very cute post! thanks for sharing all these managers with us:)

Jessica Torrant said...

Thanks so much for putting this together, Annette - it's wonderful! I loved every story and of course, the pictures are adorable! Leo and I are thrilled that you included us, thanks again. :)

betsy bensen said...

my favorite post ever!!!

Annette F Tait said...

it was my absolute pleasure to post this and meet some very wonderful new friends!
I must apologize about the typesetting half way thru, blogger just took control!
many best wishes and love to all the furries, Annette xxx

Victoria Webb said...

Thanks so much Annette- this was such an enjoyable post and it brought long lasting smiles! I especially enjoyed seeing all the 'art managers' in their natural habitats...

Bootsy says once she learns Tudor's special pose I'll be putty in her hands.


Red Chair said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Red Chair said...

Annette, you have put together so much joy! I love meeting all these companions -- they are ridiculously adorable! And what a treat to finally meet Arabella and Wesley! :) Thank you for including Bert, Zoe and Leo! And I'm pretty sure that Zoe and Lee's Wally are long lost twins . . . . xoxo, Heidi

WolfeWoman said...

Zoe and Wally are clones, they look so much alike! It's so funny that you described Zoe as a drama queen, too- Wally is full of it, too!

This is one of the best team posts ever! I smiled the whole way through. I'll think of all your furry funny friends every time I see your posts, now.

Waterrose said...

Annette....oh I loved this article! So much fun to see everyones studio manager! Loved seeing the Rotties...we lost ours in January and our management team just isn't the same! Hugs to you for putting this all together!

Michelle said...

Oh, they are all tooooo cute!!!
I have 2 studio manager,
2 Cat`s :)
Annette, thanks so much for this FUN article!!!

Nancy van den Boom said...

I have so very much enjoyed this post...thanks for sharing!
I have my own unofficial studio manager as well:
Lovely Eva is in the second picture!

13threads said...

I don't have a manager but I think I need one after reading this. Great post!

Star of the East said...

Such an utterly adorable post!
Thanks so much for putting this together, Annette!

JK said...

Glorious post. Makes me smile:)

paula said...

fantastic! i'm not sure i could ever get work done with animals in my way but i love seeing how others do it :)

NewMoonStudio said...

Awww they are all so cute and so lovely!

Decorate the Diva said...

This was an awesome read... I'm in love with everyone's pets! Great job putting this together!

bluebicicletta said...

oh, this is so great--my dog lance is my constant coworker and companion too! It is part of my job description to let him in and out several times a day, and give him lots of pets!


Jane said...

Fantastic post Annette! So lovely to meet Arabella, Wesley, Wally, Frannie, Rylie, Bootsy, Leonardo, Tudor, Bibi, Mimi, Lili, Simon, Zeyno, Elsie, Daisy, Lucky, Toffee, Ernie, Ideefix, Fleurtje, Ufo, Leo, Bert, Zoe, Leo, Zenny, Ted & Charlie! My own 'studio managers' (not to mention catwalk models!) are of course Max & Molly ;-)

Kendra Zvonik said...

So wonderful to meet all these good friends! What would we do without our animal companions?! Thank you so much for this post--really heartwarming!