Down by the sea, nestled in the countryside of Dorset, there is a house belonging to an artist. Should you travel down the garden path, there will be all manners of creatures of curiosity to find! Are they little humans with animal guises? Or, little beasts with human souls? Allow your imagination to take hold and explore the marvellous personalities from inside ‘The Cat In The Shoe’.
ACID member Lucy Brasher of ‘The Cat In The Shoe’ creates wonderful creatures who have been inspired from, and can rival those who come from fables and folklore of old. Lucy uses repurposed materials, mainly of textile mediums, all stitched and stuffed by hand. The detail and embellishments are so fantastic, new and curious life has been breathed into the little beings.
Lucy is trained in Fine Art and Photography from the Arts Institute, Bournemouth. Experimenting with textiles since 2010, she found a love for the medium, self-taught with dedication, in the art of sewing. With its fluid and malleable nature, fabric lends its tactile and versatility to be the perfect choice of material. Even more so, Lucy’s ethos of using predominantly reclaimed and re-purposed materials adds to the intriguing characters she creates.
Lucy says, “Fabric is a forgiving and flexible medium to work with, it can become anything it wishes even if its life began as something else. An old jumper, an unloved leather jacket, a scrap of lace and an off-cut of felt. In my mind these could become a whimsical being straight from the pages of a book you read as a child.”
To know they had initially been another item, as another life, makes them all the more interesting and filled with a depth of origin, story, and originality. Lucy’s innate way of perceiving life in the materials she uses engenders a peculiar joy and quality of personification into her little people.
The creatures from ‘The Cat In The Shoe’ are beguiling characters, who are whimsical, quirky, and have a darker undertone. They are utterly enchanting to see; they are so much more than toys, or figurines, they are personas with a world and story all of their own to tell!
Lucy executes the use of her ‘Member of ACID’ logo perfectly, by displaying it on her home page and linking it to www.acid.uk.com, which acts as a strong deterrent. Lucy accompanies the logo with a copyright statement which makes it clear she will pursue any infringements, stating,
“The cat in the shoe is proud to be a member and support the aims and objectives of the trade organisation ACID (Anti Copying in Design). All the cat in the shoe designs are supported by ACID through their Copyright & Design Databank and ACID Marketplace. All copyright, design rights and intellectual property rights existing in our designs and products and in the images, text and design of our website/marketing material are and will remain the property of the cat in the shoe. We will treat any infringement of these rights seriously.”
Lucy also makes full use of the ACID IP Databank to ensure she has all the evidence and back-up, should it be necessary, to support and protect all her hard earned work and creativity.
When and why did you first start creating your products/designs?
We moved to London from Dorset in the early 2000’s when we were child free and I was without a job, it was during that brief spell of un-employment that I started to sew. It began with a quilt for my friend that I made by hand, badly. I didn’t have any fabric available when I decided to do this, so I cut up one our sheets and an old shirt to begin with. I taught myself to sew and began scouring market stalls and charity shops for fabric to make something else, a cushion, a soft toy all quite badly, but I got it. I love fabric, its flexible, you can make it into pretty much anything.
My Nan was a seamstress and a knitter and general maker. She didn’t have much money and she always made something from nothing. From something old to something new, if you want it, make it. My mum always tells me that on a Saturday when she was little, she would go to town with Nan and Grandad, they would go to all the posh shops and look at the clothes, curtains, and the furniture (Grandad was a carpenter). Then they would go home and make it. I love that! and my brain appears to be programmed the same way. Almost everything has the potential to become something else, a new life. We left London many years later to move back to Dorset with a small baby and my small business ‘the cat in the shoe’.
Did you have any knowledge of intellectual property when you started your business?
At that early stage in my career I had no real understanding of the serious implications of anyone imitating my work. I naively thought that if you did not design or make a product it is not yours to produce or sell, and expected others to follow these principles.
Which ACID Membership services have you used and how have you benefited from being a Member?
I use my ACID membership to store a record of all of my designs through the ACID IP Databank, as well as using the ‘Member of ACID’ Logo clearly on my website. I also display the ACID logo when I attend physical art shows and events.
Have you brought anything new to the marketplace recently that you would like to share?
I am very proud to be taken part in this years’ Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair – online: 4th-5th December 2021. It will be filled with unique handmade crafts to buy for Christmas, direct from over 100 specially selected designer-makers. GNCCFonline: Christmas Edition goes live on Great Northern Events from 9am, Saturday 4th December 2021 and is on all weekend. My final collection of the year will be available through my website, as well as via Great Northern Events.
I am also looking forward to working on and releasing new collections in the New Year.
What is the best aspect of ACID Membership for your business?
Having the protection for my work is very important to me. Being an artist, I use social media a lot for advertising my work as well as selling at shows and events. My work is being seen regularly which is vital, but of course the more your work is seen, the more likely it is to be copied or re-produced. ACID is a brilliant deterrent and support to have.
What advice would you offer to a new designer?
Be original and find your voice with your work and protect it.
ACID values the support of its members to enable it to campaign for design law reform. Do you have any messages for Government/Policy Makers on IP issues? Do you think that copying of designs is deliberate and blatant?
Yes unfortunately I have experienced first-hand that copying of designs is both blatant and deliberate.
My message to policy makers would be that whilst they may understand the commercial damage caused by appropriation of designs, they may not appreciate that the emotional damage is just as bad.
Every maker strives to create a unique style, so imagine, just for a moment, how hard it is to see that someone else has picked up your hard thought out idea and without any of the stress and strain, time, and effort that you, yourself have worked through, put the piece out there under their name and then claim all the glory and rewards for themselves.
The Cat In The Shoe