The copy-cat

Hello Dear Readers,

Stealing ideas and art-theft are terrible things for any creative. Unfortunately, they tend to happen to all good artists and more often than we would like to admit. We have seen it happen to people we know, but never in our wildest dreams, we would expect that some vile person would try to do this to us. Well, you must have guessed already: our number just came up.

This Saturday, we have been contacted by quite a few people who asked us if we were taking part in the Malta Street Art Festival. We said we weren’t . Rita was not even on the island as she was spending a weekend in Wales. I planned to sort out materials for upcoming blogs. So, none of us was even aware that Malta Street Art Festival was taking place!

But the fact that we were not in Valletta didn’t mean a thing. Because The Cat Shop apparently was. It also miraculously changed profile from artisan artworks to cupcakes and games.

Rita and I at 2015 Earth Garden Festival

Rita and I at 2015 Earth Garden Festival

I was appalled – it was more than obvious that somebody was using our name. But the rest of the news was even more shocking. Not only somebody took our name, they also claimed they were the original Cat Shop and we were the imposters! This apparently happened the previous day (Friday), so I had to put my work away, packed my cameras and headed to the capital to check what was happening.

To cut long story short, I found a stand of Neko Maid Café – young girls dressed in matching cosplay uniforms, playing games and handing out cupcakes. I spoke to some of them and learned that the entire project was organized by an Italian girl nicknamed “Luna”. She was doing similar outings in Italy and she just recently relocated to Malta. There was also a boy dressed in a tux with whom I spoke. From him, I learned that they not only been using the name “The Cat Shop”. They were telling everybody they were the original Cat Shop. I also seen people from Neko Maid to take photos with people wearing cat ears and there was a talk about a guest book where people could draw cats.

My heart sunk because what they were doing was not just taking our name, they took our entire strategy. No small wonder people were confused and were asking me if we were selling cup cakes.

You may find it a small issue, but truly, it is a huge deal. Let me tell you about The Cat Shop. It started five years ago (2010) at Earth Garden Festival in Ta Qali, Malta, where Rita was selling her paintings and I did an art installation. We sold few pieces (all of them showing fantastical cats done by Rita) and got a lot of attention. We have been coming back each year with a new idea. We have a unique set up with rattan boxes and a table, we have a guest book and we encourage people to draw in it, cats or whatever – to keep the creativity going. We wear cat ears and often allow people to take selfies with them for fun (even if they are not buying anything). This year, we wore identical outfits and told people that we planned to change into Victorian era clothing starting next year. We teamed with a great British photographer and acted his Cat Assistants. Each of those elements is unique to our stand. But this is not all. As The Cat Shop got bigger and more recognizable, we had to adjust ourselves. We got a VAT number, we have a VAT book in case somebody wants a receipt, we organize drawing workshops for kids. Each festival we speak to hundreds of people, we scan our guest books and put them on our blog. It is enormous work load for weeks before and after the festival.

First page of our Cat Shop guestbook

First page of our Cat Shop guestbook

Children drawing during 2013  workshop we organized during Earth Festival. Photo my own.

Children drawing during 2013 workshop we organized during Earth Festival. Photo my own.

I don’t know what Luna from Neko Maid Café is trying to achieve. But to think that somebody came to our stand at Earth Garden just to copy our entire marketing strategy for their own gain is chilling. You know – The Cat Shop was not set to earn a profit. It was set up to offer kids a place they could draw and be creative. We do sell – don’t get us wrong, but it is always just to cover our stand fee and maybe have a return on our materials. Five long years of trials and errors to build our “brand”, to be recognized in Malta and somebody just takes it all from you and calls you an imposter!

The entire affair made me really sad, and I wanted to let people know what was happening. I made a post on my Facebook protesting that Luna was stealing from us and misleading people. This is what I wrote.

Angry Facebook Post!

Angry Facebook Post!

I tagged The Neko Maid Café, letting them know their behaviour was unacceptable. This is a reply I got.

Response from Luna

Response from Luna

What I want to do now, is to take it bit by bit – to show you Dear Readers, to what extent art theft and idea –theft can go.

Luna begins that they are not using our name. But I was there on Saturday and heard them say they were The Cat Shop more often than they were mentioning their own name. That is one thing. Another is that coping our entire business strategy is just a top of a cat tail!

We want to quote something the creator of Neko Maid Cafe said in her statement. IN case you missed this bit:

Our logo (…) I did it taking from internet, as everybody else in this world I think, a real photo of an headband with cat ears. If anyone will come to me and say that to take a picture from Google and using it to do something as logo or anything is a crime I will respond with that person”.

Now, See the logo of the Neko Maid Cafe. The chibi cat girl image is from anime series, which title I could not track as we speak. But I will. The cat bell comes from DiGi Charat series. The image of the hair band is somebody`s actual photo. Copy righted materials – all of it, found on Google. Luna obviously is not aware of copy rights and that she has to have a written permission from the creator of said artwork if she plans to use it. Unauthorized usage of somebody`s work is opening yourself to a criminal liability. Also argument that something was found on Google is irrelevant. Luna – please get it. If something is on the Internet, it doesn’t mean you can use it. Especially for your own financial gain. Most people do their own illustrations, works and if they have to use somebody`s materials, they at least give a link.

Logo of the Neko Maid Cafe

Logo of the Neko Maid Cafe

Next thing. Neko Maid Café is using original artworks and fan arts (also found on Google we suppose) to promote Luna`s Facebook page. This is again, unauthorized and can cause you legal issues. I don’t think that Kyoto Animation is aware that you use pictures from K-On series. On the side, this anime is about a band, not maids. The irony.

Unauthorized use of K-On! series.

Unauthorized use of K-On! series.

But hey, original or not original stuff – doesn’t really matter. You also did flyers using somebody`s fan arts. Did you get their permission to do so? Where are the links to artist`s page?

Digital Flyer with somebody`s artwork use

Digital Flyer with somebody`s artwork use

Posting more images - from fans and not a credit in sight!

Posting more images – from fans and not a credit in sight!

Luna is also hardly ashamed to use photos from existing businesses. Like this one from Butler`s Café which is a real life café in Japan. Why leave a link to the original page: http://www.butlers-cafe.jp when you can just steal a photo from them? So much easier.

I wonder if Butler`s Cafe are aware that they supposedly endorsing Neko Maid Cafe.

I wonder if Butler`s Cafe are aware that they supposedly endorsing Neko Maid Cafe.

And what about the cupcakes photo that you have been using? The ones here belong to Kate from NYC, who used to run a Tumblr Holy Cupcakes. Take a photo, crop it badly and nobody will notice?

Photo from Holy Cupcakes

Photo from Holy Cupcakes

Cropped photo on Neko Maids FB Page

Cropped photo on Neko Maids FB Page

I have a bad feeling about the design of the cupcakes you were selling. I`m gonna risk a saying that you probably found the designs on the Internet as well and pass them as your own. After all, you took so many things from so many people and don’t even realize this is utterly wrong. Where do the design come from? Aubergine Chef? Bake Happy? Cake Central? It would be nice to know!

Now the outfits. This is how Neko Maid Café describes what Maid Cafes are, on their own Facebook page:

What is Maid Cafe according to Neko Maids Cafe

What is Maid Cafe according to Neko Maids Cafe

The Victorian outfits! And this is where they got their own costumes – they are ready made French Maids (Sexy) costumes made in China. On EBay they sell for 9.90 USD.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Blue-Black-Lolita-French-Maid-Costume-Dress-Set-Japanese-Cosplay-V101911-/190893998502

I know what you will say – you don’t have money, you start up, your helpers are just teenagers who want to do something. That is fine, but – most of the artists put a lot of time and effort into what they do. The materials cost us. If we have to go low budget, we do it ourselves. Going for ready-made cosplay costumes may save you time but – it is a cheap practice. And somebody has to call you on it. Scrooge would be proud of you, but we are not impressed.

The guest book – you say it is a scrap book now. Sure now, but it will be a full blown guest book like ours next event. Sure it is ok to ask customers for a review or a note. But asking customers to draw cats in your guestbook is our idea. Come up with something different. Perhaps ask customers to draw maids. Or cupcakes. Or hamsters. They are also cute.

I want to make another point for the end of the post. In Japan, each café has their own games and strategy, they develop it themselves. If they use a game developed in another café, they give credits, exchange banners, give feedback. This is how Japanese society work – they are polite, professional and work in teams. I am not sure if you know how it works. Things you have been doing would completely alienate you from the entire network, had you been operating in Japan. No-one would be willing to work with you. What you are doing is in itself anti thesis of what Maid Cafes aspire to.

And this is not a flame. I am just mad that you had to do this to me. Or to my sister.

Malicia

**** Update 27.07.2015****

Our incredible blog stats!

Our incredible blog stats!

Rita and I would like to thank everybody who visited the blog, commented and shared our story. Over 200 visits in less than 24 hours. Way over the average on the blog. We would like to give a mention to Oliko (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Oliko/412150938842783) our long time friend and fellow artist, for her help in our investigation. Without you people and your kindness, we`s surely lose a lot of faith in the humankind.

We have asked Luna to reply but so far she has been silent. We would like to hear from her – plain and simple – why she steals from other people, and so many at it.

In the mean time, please keep on sharing the story, art theft is so common, that every artist should check their back. Sad but true.

Malicia

****Update 02/08/2015****

Dear Readers,

We are in August now. I like this time of year. In Malta it is heavily humid and dry, but in other parts of the globe the heat will ease and the best part of summer will begin – Indian Summer. No longer scorching temperatures but not yet quite Autumn. Perfect time to grab some good iced coffee from Starbucks and write. I am hoping to tackle the back load and have more updates on the blog. I realize I must sound like a middle-aged Seattleite now ;)

Our spiking blog stats!

Our spiking blog stats!

It` s been a week since we have discovered we had an evil doppelganger. Truly crazy week, so much support and our stats went as high as Space Needle! Both Rita and I are grateful. We spoke to other artists, who have experienced the same thing, our blog have been shared by professional journalists (thank you Tanja Cilia!) and even Malta Dizastru TOTALI !!!!!!! gave us a mention. I thought I will put an end to this story, but not without writing another entry. Because there are points that I feel need to be brought up before we will move on.

The fact that over a thousand people read our story in just about a week proves how rampant art theft is in online community. It would be a good starting point to debate what can we do about it and where the “sharing economy” will take us in the future. How can we – The Creative Ones – protect ourselves from vile people, who take from us.

I know I should not use word “vile”, but that is what you are if you build your brand by stealing. I believe everybody deserves a chance, but then again. I have spent working on something five long years and it has been taken from me and used by somebody to make a profit. How can anyone not feel bitter?

Mentions and support!

Mentions and support!

Luna of Neko Maid Café made one big mistake. She doesn’t know me and doesn’t realize that I have a great understanding of people like her. She is not the only one that is plaguing the fandom. I`ve seen the likes of her before. I worked in manga magazines for years and attended and co-organized over ten conventions and exhibitions. So what I will do now is to list some of the characteristics of the art thief. Exposing their tactics is the best way to deal with`em:

  • Silence – once you expose an art thief, they will most likely use the strategy of not confronting you. They will pretend it never happened, business as usual. Still, call them out on their actions. Even if you are the only one to do it.
  • Shame – art thieves rely heavily on the fact that artists are sometimes vulnerable, scared or confused. Or worse, artists are good people and will be scared that by exposing the thief, they may harm them. Internet backlash is very real. A story gone viral can turn real mobs on a person. I myself had doubts if I should expose Luna because I was afraid she may be mistreated by other Internet users. I was also shamed by the fact that my work was abused. This is normal. If you have such doubts, stick to the middle of the road. Expose the thief, but you don’t have to shout from the roof tops. Unless you want to. You are in control and you decide how much coverage you want to give to the issue. And don’t be too hard on yourself – being good is not a bad thing.
  • Indifference – art theft happens because there is lack of control tools. Neko Maid Café appeared on Comic Con stand at the Malta Street Art Festival by just sending an email. Nobody from the organizers checked their website or looked into how Luna did her stuff. She was unknown. We have informed the organizers about the theft during the event and wrote them emails but they never got back to us. Thieves go where they are not known, where organizers take everybody as they come. The best way to protect yourself is to ally yourself with certain events on an annual basis. Like we do with Earth Garden. Build yourself a rotation of events, get to know the organizers and they will know you. So will the public.
  • Bullying and abuse – the worst part of the art theft is that they often abuse and bully those who are associated with them. They will get involved with teens, as they are full of will to do something creative but naïve and inexperienced. Perfect combo for a parasite. Look out for the activities, where you have to buy your own costume, sell gadgets or presents and dedicate long hours to prepare events. Fans work like small collectives – whatever you put in belongs to all equally. You should be credited and rewarded in the same measure. If somebody takes credit for everything, if the money goes to the pocket of one person, if the funds that have been raised are not spent on another project – beware! People mistreated are burning out and they leave the fandom disillusioned. They lose the spark and will to do things creatively and work on their own art.
  • Mind games – should be filed under abuse, but I want to make it a separate category. Often the art thief will play mind games with people that they are associated with. Have you ever been forced to do something questionable? Drink or eat something awful, declare love to a table or do something stupid in front of other people or camera? You are not playing games – you are being bullied and groomed. By the time art thief decides to kick you out, everybody else will be against you and you will be the bad one. Stand your ground.
  • Be ahead – when we wrote about our experience, we got a great feedback from a friend and business owner, who also had been though the same experience. She told us not to advertise Luna, but to be ahead of her. And this is what we will be doing in the future. You see, being the creative one gives you an edge. You are the one who comes with the good stuff. You will be always two steps ahead of the trickster. Change your strategy, give new ideas a priority and take a risk. By the time the thief realizes that they have been outsmarted, you will be on two or three new projects.

I hope this post will help other artists or creative people to deal with the damaging experience of encountering an art thief. Be vocal about your experiences, believe in yourself and work on your networking. We may never stomp out the theft but being aware makes one a harder target.

That is all we wanted to say on the topic. I am going to put some Mad Season (what a great band they are!) on and head to sleep.

Rock on dear readers,

Malicia

Earth Garden 2015 – Cat Shop guestbook part3

Hey kittens!

It’s good to have you back! So much is happening all around us, it’s very hard to keep working on previous events, when we keep on going to the new ones! Oh well, you cannot have fun all the time, you have to do a bit of work as well! Have you missed two impervious parts of our review? Don’t worry, you don’t have to scroll through our blog to find them. We have the right links just here:

Guestbook review part 1:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2015/06/19/earth-garden-2015-cat-shop-questbook-part1/

Guestbook review part2:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2015/06/20/earth-garden-2015-cat-shop-guestbook-part2/

Let us start the last part of The Cat Shop guestbook review with a fantastic picture from Emma Brown. Emma, a very shy but talented artist, appeared completely out of nowhere (honestly!) at our stand on Sunday afternoon and started working on her masterpiece so quietly that it took us some time to notice her among the visitors. She worked in absolute silence, but the result is  breath taking. Emma was very pleased with her cat and gave Rita and Mal a big handshake at the end. Gracias, Emma!

Page 43

Page 43

We are not sure if the artist gracing page number 44 of our guestbook is a girl or a boy, sadly there were so many visitors leaving comments that we cannot remember all faces. The signature says Solard (if we got that right of course!). We absolutely adore this sketch and the cat has a very distinctive stare. Please notice, the cat’s eyes are golden-green.

Page 44

Page 44

Emma is back! We encouraged her to pay us a visit if she feetl like drawing again and indeed she came back with her friends, about an hour later. The group arrived while a local musician was purchasing one of our artworks as a birthday present for his wife, that’s why Emma’s second kitten is holding a guitar!

Page 45

Page 45

Just few minutes later after Emma and her friends left, we had another visitor, very eager to draw! Her name was Petra and she was very young (about 10-12 years old). We had a quick discussing with Petra about her very unusual name (derived from Greek word “petrus” meaning rock or a stone) and about the ancient city of Petra, a very important historical and archaeological site in Jordan. Surprisingly, Petra was very well aware of the meaning of her name and the stone temples at Petra. She proudly said that she was named after the one of the new New 7 Wonders of the World!

Page 46

Page 46

Sim, our next artist decided to draw another picture of the Electric Cat! The E-Cat  as seen below, is dressed in sports clothing and is in the middle of a training. You have to keep fit if you are saving Malta and the entire universe from the bad guys!

Page 47

Page 47

Page 48 has been claimed by two separate artists. The first one drew us a very cute smiling cat-face but didn’t leave any signature preferring apparently to remain anonymous. The other cat (nicknamed “The up-side down kitten” is seen playing with a catnip ball. The second picture was  made by an artist hidden behind a very delicious sounding nickname, Cake.

Page 48

Page 48

Josefina arrived to The Cat Shop with a large entourage consisting of her friends, parents and various family members. Not being sure if she wanted to contribute anything, she took her time to make her mind. Luckily for us, she was in an excellent and artistic mood and she portrayed her own cat in a sleeping pose. The cat seems to be truly contented, probably had a big dinner and how is resting in the sunshine without a care in the world.

Page 49

Page 49

Just like Emma before, it took Cake about an hour to return for a second go in the guestbook. Not satisfied with just a quick doodle, Cake spent at least 15 minutes coming up with another cat portrait! The second cat is much more detailed, it has long tail, pointy ears, big eyes and even a spotted bow in its fur. It looks like the cat is thinking about something, we may never know what’s on its mind!

Page 50

Page 50

They say it takes a genius to understand another genius. Julia, our next abstract artist left us a bit puzzled with her symbolic artwork. However, other children had not troubles interpreting this picture – they all saw a sleeping cat! Children are geniuses, simple as that. We have so much to learn from them!

Page 51

Page 51

Keira and her mom arrived at the same time when Julia was painting her picture. Keira, easily guessed what Julia drew and then decided to portray the same cat, just after waking up. She also gave Rita the biggest compliment by saying her cats were very nice. It’s good to be appreciated.

Page 52

Page 52

Laurent, our next guest, was a very interesting boy. He was diagnosed with autism when he was very young, but was doing excellent at school and outside of  academic life. He didn’t say much but drew us one of the  biggest pictures and spent a while turning the cat completely black. We wish you all the best, Laurent!

Page 53

Page 53

Sadly, we are not sure who left us this fantastic abstract artwork! Our memory fails us, but if you are the artist or remembers who made it, please contact us and we will give the full copyrights. Thank you!

Page 54

Page 54

The next two pictures were created by the same artist. Since we have no signature, the artist will have to remain anonymous, unless he or she decides to write to us to reveal his/her identity. What we find truly unique about them is that both pictures are made using so called “mirror technique”. The artist draws the primary image on the first page, then turns it around and creates another one tracing the outlines of the first picture. This technique is widely used to create “twin” artwork – very similar works but different at the same time.

Page 55

Page 55

Page 56

Page 56

This cute-as-a-button-red kitten with a spring-like tail belongs to a 5 year old Naeema. According to her mom, red colour is her favourite (at least for now) and she loves drawing and all animals. Keep up the good work Naeema!

Page 57

Page 57

Page 58 is a flattery in its purest form. You have to know that we set up our stand next to a bar. It was closed till about 2 pm on Saturday when the delivery guys arrived with drinks loaded onto a small forklift. They had troubles taking their eyes off us (we don’t blame them, they thought they were seeing double!). We are sure they have never seen identical twins before, dressed exactly the same and wearing the cat-ears. One of the delivery people left us this comment below. He was cute, but at least 15 years younger then us. We feel terribly old now!

Page 58

Page 58

Our Gallery of Smiling Cats gets a new member! This simple but great looking sketch was contributed by Val nearly at the end of our stay at Earth Garden. Is it worth staying a bit late? Of course it is :)

Page 59

Page 59

If you believe Aerosmith, pink is the colour of fashion. Gabyloo, our next artist, decided to create something unusual and  went for an entirely pink cat. We have to say it worked wonders. Many visitors commented that this is probably one of their favourites. Pink cats definitely stand out from the crowd.

Page 60

Page 60

Lucy travelled to Malta from Toronto, Canada and we had a long discussion with her about everything Canadian: from old TV series (“Due South”), adventure books (James Oliver Curwood), music (Moist and Alanis Morissette) to Hudson Bay and Athabasca River. Lucy was delighted to learn that our white exotic shorthair cat is named after the famous Canadian river!

Page 61

Page 61

Ivy, one of our youngest artists, was so small, that she needed help from her mom to hold the markers! It didn’t stop her from contributing and she giggled loudly with delight while drawing. Her cat is named Tina – it is obvious that every cat (even those drawn ones) are in need of a good name.

Page 62

Page 62

Madoka arrived with her parents and large group of friends quite late in the evening. It must have been nearly 9 o’clock but she was not sleepy at all! It is only rarely when you can stay up so late so she enjoyed each second of her stay at the festival. After she was done drawing, she handed the guest book to us and took a very deep bow. That was very unusual and Mal went to speak to her parents to learn where the girl was from. It turned out that the family was from Japan and Madoka was visiting Malta for the first time. We bowed back. Her dad was very proud to find some decently educated gaijins in Europe :D

Page 63

Page 63

Josephina (page 49) could not leave Earth Garden without saying good bye to her favourite Cat lLdies and without painting another picture. She chose to portray the all-famous E-Cat, giving us a very electrifying stare. We also learned that his whiskers are magical – they start to glow blue when the cat is in danger and crackle with electricity when the cat is angry! Do not, we repeat, do not make the E-Cat angry, you might get electrocuted!

Page 64

Page 64

And here we are, on the last page of the guestbook. The last picture is again of the Electric Cat drawn by Dom Storace. Thank you Dom, as they say, you saved the best for the last! Much appreciated :)

Page 65

Page 65

Ladies and gentleman, cats, kittens and all respectable felines. We are sad to announce That the Cat Shop guest book report is done. 66 drawings, 10 sold artworks, hundreds of visitors, old friends and new faces. All we can say is THANK  YOU for your support and for excellent time. We might be coming back next year, after all we already miss the Earth Garden!

No worries, we are not done yet with our coverage from the festival. Very soon, we will have some fantastic pictures to show you! Be on a standby and visit us soon.

Till we meet again,
Rita and Malicia D.

Earth Garden 2015 – Cat Shop guestbook part2

Hello again!

Ahoy, ahoy dear readers! The guest book extravaganza continues! As we have mentioned before, we have received so many drawings this year, we have to divide the report into three, massive and separate reviews! If you have missed the first part of our review please click on the link below:

https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2015/06/19/earth-garden-2015-cat-shop-questbook-part1/

Let’s not waste anymore time, shall we? We know why you are here, after all! You want to see more cat artworks and we shall give them to you. Off we go! Red is always in fashion. The first picture for today and we have two lovely red cats drawn by two different artists. The top cat wearing a dress and a bow is signed but we are unable to decipher the signature. Could it be Pearl? The bottom cat looks very wild, probably spent a whole night serenading the ladies!

Page 23

Page 23

We turn the page and what greets us is a family collaboration! For the first time ever, we had an entire family leaving an entry in our guestbook. Emilie, the youngest member of the collective was the first to draw the top cat, then she was followed by her dad Ivan and mom Annabelle and even her teenage brother Korben joined in (bottom picture). What a fantastic group effort. Did we mention that Korben came up with a lot of the back – story for our famous Electric Cat? He said that the Persian cat should have two owners (older brother and a younger sister) and they should join the cat on his adventures.

Page 24

Page 24

Our next visitors, Amélie and Scarlett arrived at the same time as Korben and his family but had to wait in line to leave a comment. Since they listened to the entire conversation, they thought that Electric Cat should be published in a form of a graphic novel and the siblings and their cat, should be solving complex detective cases and of course, saving the world. Scarlett would like to see a feline femme fatale (named after herself of course) and her friend wished that the story took place on Malta but also in New York and London. They have left us two cat drawings that could become main characters in the developing storyline!

Page 25

Page 25

Page 26 belongs to a lady named Katerina who decided to created a sweet and smiling cat. She even left us a smiling emoticon in her signature. Thank you Katerina, you made our day!

Page 26

Page 26

Inspired by Katerina’s drawing, our next guest Nicole Pace, drew another smiling feline with beautiful long lashes. No doubt, this lady cat is a well known beauty and broke many-a-feline hearts around the neighborhood!

Page 27

Page 27

They say that smile is contagious just like sneezing. It must be true as another lady, Ella L.  created yet another smiling cat! Third in a row!

Page 28

Page 28

The last feline in our “Smiling cats” series has been contributed by Berak. This gently smiling kitten is named Momo and  there is a cute pink heart next to her. Thank you!

Page 29

Page 29

Page 30 belongs to two girls – Martina and Tamara. Martina is responsible for drawing the top cat (with Earth Garden 2015xx in her signature) and Tamara drew a big, fluffy cat resting at the bottom of the page. What we like about the cat is his very unusual stripy tail and an elaborate necklace with a star. Good work girls!

Page 30

Page 30

The Electric Cat claws again! Kaya, a young artist, stopped at our stand and carefully studied the guestbook in search of inspiration for her drawing. Previous Electric Cats portraits have caught her eye and she decided to have a go as well. And here you have it, the fluffy half Persian E-Cat in his entire electrifying glory! Kaya – you are a fantastic artist!

Page 31

Page 31

Amos may be a very young artist (about 4 or 5 years old) but he already has a professional alias and great skills to match. Amos is creating under the pseudonym of SOMA (Amos spelled backwards) and his mom is his greatest fan and a manager! This masterpiece shows our Electric Cat before he received his super powers.

Page32

Page 32

Have you ever seen a butterfly cat? We neither but our next guest named Christina must have as she even painted a portrait of it. Apparently, butterfly cats have wings, long tails, no paws and wear a bow behind their left ear. Seems legit to us.

Page 33

Page 33

Page number 34 has been claimed by two lovely kids – Jaiden (age 5) and Kairon (age 4). They drew two lovely cat portraits (both own real cats at home) and two big hearts. That’s what we need – more cats and more love!

Page 34

Page 34

Page numero 35 is probably our favourite in the entire guestbook! Fantastic job by two artists – Max and Moni! Moni created an amazing sweet looking lady-cat and Max kicked ass with his true comic version of the E-Cat surrounded by lighting bolts.

Page 35

Page 35

And we are back to the Smiling Cats portraits! Another one has been contributed by Charlot. Her kitten looks a bit shy but we love it anyway!

Page 36

Page 36

Jandica arrived at our stand with a large group of friends but only she was brave enough to draw a cat. We absolutely adore her kitten – it has a very funny expression, luxurious long whiskers and a twisted tail. Jandica left us a big x in her signature as well. Thanks a lot!

Page 37

Page 37

7 1/2 years old artist, Bertie B came to The Cat Shop with assistance of his parents and extended family members. No encouragement was needed – five minutes and we were given this beautiful portrait!

Page 38

Page 38

Do you remember a boy named Amos from the first part of our review? He used the pseudonym of SOMA and nominated his mom as his personal manager. Amos returned to Earth Garden on Sunday and he left us another painting – this time it is a lion. Still a cat, just slightly bigger than the house pets we love so much!

Page 39

Page 39

This is probably the cutest picture we have received so far. A big thank you to Jess (“the cat-lady”as she called herself ), who provided us with this simple yet adorable picture. Meow indeed!

Page 40

Page 40

Once you visit The Cat Shop, you keep coming back! After drawing us a picture on Saturday (page 35), Max returned to our stand to give the only Maltese super cat another portrait. This time E-Cat proudly presents itself wearing the superhero costume with a red flowing cape. Max also designed the super cat logo (SC)! Jess also paid us another visit on Sunday morning and ended up sketching this cool cat wearing a pair of sunglasses. Maybe this is E-Cat on a secret mission? Nobody will recognize you  when you are wearing shades (unless you starred in The Matrix trilogy!)

Page 41

Page 41

We will close the second part of our review with a very cool looking portrait of her cat that XahXah drew for us. She said that her kitten is a bit high maintenance and a bit of a fussy eater too. You can see his very disappointed grin saying: “Not tuna again, I want some chicken today” :D

Page 42

Page 42

Third installment of the guest book can be found here:

https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2015/06/26/earth-garden-2015-cat-shop-guestbook-part3/

See you again tomorrow! xxx

Rita and Mal Dabrowicz

Earth Garden 2015 – Cat Shop guestbook part1

Meow to the world!

Welcome back dear readers! This is probably the most rewarding part of post Earth Garden report writing – the guest book review! It is now a tradition that we have a guest book on The Cat Shop and everybody can draw whatever they like, mostly cats of course.

The title page this year has been drawn by Rita Dabrowicz. It says: “The Cat Shop – Leave the comments”. A blue arrow asks to open the guestbook. We had a record year when it comes to the public drawings and comments, we will have to divide our report into three parts!

Front page of The Cat Shop guest book 2015, drawn by Rita

Front page of The Cat Shop guest book 2015, drawn by Rita

Page two belongs to belongs to George and Daniela. George’s cat is called Miao and appears to sit on a cloud surrounded by a bird and a flying fish. He also has a halo above his head. The bottom cat is named Chucky and looks like an old raggedy cat-fighter. Thanks guys!

Page 2

Page 2

Four next pages (3,4, 5 and 6) have been decorated by three year old Diego from the Republic of Gozo :) Diego is probably one of the youngest artists leaving us their work but you have to admit, that this boy has a talent! Most of kids his age would simply doodle without any plan or construction but Diego was different. He carefully planned each artwork and then executed, picking the right colours and even described what he wanted to show his audience. Next Jackson Pollocks? You bet! When Diego is all rich and famous, remember we wrote about him first!

Page 3

Page 3

Page 4

Page 4

Page 5

Page 5

Page Six entitled

Page Six entitled “The sleeping cat”

Page 7 contains 7 cats  by  7 different artists! We are not sure who drawn the three top cats, we have troubles with reading the signature (starts with J and finishes with H, could be Jeremiah, Jemiah or something completely different!) The black cat just underneath is a collaboration between Rasha, Belle and ZC, the blue cat next to it has been drawn anonymously, at the left bottom cat, but the biggest feline is signed by a boy named Benji. Benji arrived with Rasha and few other kids and they had  fun drawing for at least half an hour! The group have also left a lot of drawings on page 8, including the most famous kitten nicknamed “The Electric Cat”

Page 7

Page 7

The Electric Cat is apparently a half Persian cat that chewed on the electric cords and received an impressive array of super powers when Marsa Power Station overloaded and was switched off causing a nation wide power cut.  Marsa Power station is the biggest power station on Malta delivering electricity of  nearly an entire island. Step aside Catwoman, there is a new feline superhero in town!

Page 8

Page 8

Page 9 and we have our biggest kitten yet. Rainer from Malta came up with this mischievous cat sticking out its tongue.

Page 9

Page 9

A splash of colours! Dominique stopped at our stand with her mom and they drew this beautiful artwork with all the colours of the rainbow. Thank you ladies, and hopefully we will see you again!

Page 10

Page 10

In previous years the drawings in our guestbook were predominately blue and black. This year, our visitors preferred to  use very  colour marker that we had. The results are splendid! Just look at the two next artworks left by Benji, Stella and Rasha! They are fantastic – thank you!

Page 11

Page 11

Page 12

Page 12

Traditionally considered to be an unlucky number, page 13 has been beautifully decorated by a very young anonymous artist. Minimalistic and abstract approach is very popular in art circles these days. In few years’ time could fetch millions at Christie’s Auctions in London!

Page 13

Page 13

This page is very special to us as it shows that anybody, young or old can enjoy drawing cats! We have been telling our visitors for years that everybody can be an artist, but only few really believe us. The first cat has been created by N. Vassallo from Malta, a very distinguished lady that had a lot of fun creating  her first artwork after many years away from the drawing board. She is sharing the page with four year old Nina backed up by her parents, who enjoyed the pink colour very much! We need more pink cats in real life as well!

Page 14

Page 14

We are very grateful for every picture left in our guestbook. This lovely cat and bird artwork comes from a professional artist, Berivan Serin, owner of the famous Berivan Stone Painting art shop! Beri (as she is widely known) creates magical pictures on stones and her skills are simply astonishing. You can join a group dedicated to her art on Facebook to learn more or visit Bohemia store to purchase some of her creations. We own a couple of them, you know you have to invest in properties and art to secure yourself a rich and happy retirement!

Berivan Stone Painting grouphttps://www.facebook.com/groups/105565469482813/
Bohemia store: https://www.facebook.com/bohemiamalta

58B, Triq Birkirkara
Saint Julian’S, Malta
+356 9925 7337
Page 15

Page 15

Attention please! Something quite serious happened on Earth Garden and we need to highlight the issue. A group of young animal activists came to us to look for help. They live on Gozo and they witnessed several incidents of cruelty against animals. Please read what they have written below – it will be investigated. If any of our readers know anything about it, please contact us urgently! We will try to find out more and notify the authorities. Thank you.

Page 16

Page 16

Nicole Vella of Bobs Malta is another very well known Maltese artist that usually exhibits on Patches Festival. She and her charming crew had a stand on Earth Garden this year as well and Nicole was very kind to stop at our stand band drew us a KittenBOB! Please visit her to order your own hand stitched out -of-this-world-mascot!
Nicole’s personal arts website (aka Nella) http://www.nella-arts.com/
Teddybob on Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/listing/236334937/teddybob-25?ref=market
BOBSMalta: https://www.facebook.com/bobsmalta
BOBSMalta on Patches: http://www.patchesmalta.com/BOBS#.VYP2v2Zwbcs

Page 17

Page 17

Page 18 is a true masterpiece! We are unable to decipher the signature but the Shaylah Cat should be printed on t-shirt! Maybe we can do it? Who knows! Great thanks to the artist!

Page 18

Page 18

We remember that those two artworks have been created by a couple of friends (or were they sisters?) who wanted to create something different than everybody else. Page number 19 is decorated with an artwork named “Death Cat”. Fantastic work and  amazing skills guys – keep it up!

Page 19

Page 19

Felicity, a young  cat lover was very excited when we asked her to draw for us. Just look at this fantastic kitten  waving its front paw at us. Felicity, you are a great artist, please don’t stop drawing!

Page 20

Page 20

Two friends, Edel and Mia, had a very unusual contract – who will draw the coolest cat. We cannot decide who won – Malicia voted for Edel (Cool cat) and Rita likes Mia’s Cooler cat. What do you think? Both girls are winners anyway, they won in being a truly great artists!

Page21

Page21

The last picture for today belongs to three separate artists: Sofia (the top artwork named “The questioning cat?”), and two anonymous (on the left “The smiling cat” as we called it) and a cat with spikey ears on the right. We wish all artwork were signed as we would love to congratulate each artists, but we understand some artists are very humble and prefer to remain  incognito.

Page 22

Page 22

All rights kittens, that’s all for today! Please come back tomorrow, more cats are waiting to be seen!

Part two of the quest book can be found under the address:

https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2015/06/20/earth-garden-2015-cat-shop-guestbook-part2/

And part three is a click away here:

https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2015/06/26/earth-garden-2015-cat-shop-guestbook-part3/

Have a fantastic day,
Meows!
Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz

Earth Garden 2015 – Going Green in 47 clicks

Hello Dear Gardeners!

Can you believe, it’s been a whole week since the festival? It seems a bit surreal but a lot of things have happened since then! Rita returned to the rainy and miserable UK, Mal has been editing a lots of pictures for future reports and our old cat Athabasca has been eating and sleeping. Everything’s back to normal and we have so many cool pictures to show you.

First of all, thank you kindly for the most amazing time we have had! We have seen familiar faces, met new friends, listened to some coolest tunes on the island and we are already planning to come back. It is too early to say if The Cat Shop will be 100% back next year, but we are ecstatic and we ‘d love to participate again.

One of the mottos of Earth Garden 2015

One of the mottoes of Earth Garden 2015

The right bin for everthing, all recyclable materials were carefully selected

The right bin for everything, all recyclable materials were carefully selected

We will start our annual reports with a something truly wonderful – Going Green Project. As you know Earth Garden has always put the biggest emphasis on ecology, recycling and saving energy and water. The artists on Ethnic Market are encouraged to create their artworks from materials and fabrics that normally end up in a garbage bin. Out cats are no exceptions. This year however, the organizers went even further. Teaming up with Gayle Murphy of Global Green Events, Earth Garden became truly the greenest and most ecological friendly event in the Mediterranean.

As usual we have been right at the heart of the action. We have followed Gayle (who served as the Director of Sustainability for the festival) and a professional photographer Mike Caffrey in their quest to capture the green side of Earth Garden. You have no idea how many people jumped on the green wagon showing their enthusiasm and love for our dear Mother Earth. Everybody wanted to photograph themselves with “We are in” or “I’m in” signs that Gayle has given away. Mike had to even climb the stage to photograph a large crowd of festival goers. It was a fantastic experience.

We have to say it was a pure poetry watching Gayle turning all the ecological ideas into reality. Large containers were delivered to each site of the festival, the labels were in the right places and if any bin started overflowing, the assigned eco-team quickly emptied it. After the festival, the entire National Park was spotless. If you remember the previous editions you will know that there was a bit of rubbish left. This year, even the dust from the roads was gone – this is how you do it. Few governments could learn from this girl. She is amazing!

Gayle can be contacted here:
https://www.facebook.com/globalgreenevents
https://www.facebook.com/gayle.murphy.718

Mike Caffrey is the owned of Imagocentric:
https://www.facebook.com/ImagoC
www.imagocentric.com

Now let the pictures do the talking, they are worth more then an essay or even an entire book about ecology! All pictures have been taken by Mike Caffrey and are copyrighted. Please do not re-post them without asking for a permission first. Contact Mike if you’d like to hire him for your event, thank you!

Gayle Talking the the crowd

Gayle talking the the crowd

And more talking, she had some great things to say - the public was enthralled

And more talking, she had some great things to say – the public was enthralled

A huge applause for Gayle!

A huge applause for Gayle!

Crawd control, they listened and obeyed!

Crowd control, they listened and obeyed!

Crowd control part 2

Crowd control part 2

We are in campaign was very successful. We havd Valetta 2018 crew joining us, as well as Earth Garden Sponsors and the security guards!

Valetta 2018 crew were green as well

Valletta 2018 crew is always ready to help

Valetta 2018 European Capital of culture website can be visited here: http://valletta2018.org/

Twisteers are tasty and very ecological!

Twisteers are tasty and very ecological

The ladies from Twisteers veren convinced their customers to join too. Great work ladies!

Twistees Team even convinced their customers to join too. Great work ladies!

Twistees were the main sponsors of the festival. Please support them by visiting: http://twistees.com.mt/

The sellers were green  along with the buyers

The sellers were green along with the buyers

Italian company Bavichi are the owners of Geo Range – bean sprouts and organic sprouting seeds. Their website can be accessed here: http://www.bavicchi.it/

Security kept all eyes open on recycling and keeping the festival  problems free

Security kept all eyes open on recycling and keeping the festival problems free

Festival goers showed their support for Going Green campaign

Festival goers showed their support for Going Green campaign

We are in couple #1

We are in couple #1 (plus a photobomber in the background)

We are in couple #2

We are in couple #2

We are in couple #3

We are in couple #3

We are in couple #4

We are in couple #4

We are in couple #5

We are in couple #5

We are in couple #6 - mom and a very cute boy

We are in couple #6 – mom and a very cute boy

We are in couple #7

We are in couple #7

We are in couple #8

We are in couple #8

We are in couple #9

We are in couple #9

We are in couple #10

We are in couple #10

We are in couple #11

We are in couple #11

We are in couple #12

We are in couple #12

We are in couple #13

We are in couple #13

We are in couple #14

We are in couple #14

We are in couple #15

We are in couple #15

We are in couple #16

We are in couple #16

Some visitors wanted the stage for themselves and posed for Mike solo. Here are our favourites shot for “I’m in” campaign:

I'm in #1

I’m in #1

I'm in #2

I’m in #2

Reuben Spiteri - thr main man behind the festival posed for the picture on Segway

Reuben Spiteri – the main man behind festival posed for the picture on Segway

Pepi from Bahrija Oasis is very green and proud of it

Pepi from Bahrija Oasis is very green and proud of it

You can learn more about Bahrija Oasis  by clicking on: http://permaculturemalta.org/bahrija-oasis/

Earth Garden merch stand is in as well

Earth Garden merch stand is in as well

I'm in #4

I’m in #4

I'm in #5

I’m in #5

Who says large groups don’t fit the frame? We have some great shots of them too:

Group#1 - lounging under the tree

Group#1 – lounging under the tree

Group shoot #2

Group shoot #2

Group shot #3

Group shot #3

Group shot #4

Group shot #4

Group shot #5

Group shot #5

Group shot #6

Group shot #6

Group shot #7 - even the dog agreed!

Group shot #7 – even the dog agreed!

Group shot #8

Group shot #8

And the best for the last – some great shots we absolutely love!

Party hard and work hard - sustainability team in action

Party hard and work hard – sustainability team in action

Literally....cheeky but fun!

Literally….cheeky but fun!

And Gayle again in 3rd strategy tent (say no to food waste)

And Gayle again in 3rd strategy tent (say no to food waste)

Vanadian Avenue team would like to thank Mike Caffrey (for allowing us to carry your Canons for you!), Earth Garden team (for everything) and to Gayle for taking us on this crazy yet very educational trip.

Please come back soon and tag yourself if you recognize yourselves on the pictures.

Mal and Rita Dabrowicz
xxxx

Earth Garden 2015 – Meet the cats!

Hello, hello!

We are incredibly excited! The Earth Garden festival is always putting us in an excellent mood, but we have other reasons to celebrate as well. The last few months have been very busy but we have been working hard to completely change our store and fit the new, greener concept of the festival. Our artworks have incorporated  recyclable materials in the past, but not to this extend! This year, we have moved to a whole new level – all pictures have been created using entirely recycled bits, odds and ends that usually end up in the bin first.  We have been given them completely new life, shape and form. Be careful, the cats are so cute, you might overdose on cuteness! We are sorry, there is no cure for cuteness overload, you will be Googeling for cats images and videos on the Internet for the rest of your life.

Earth Garden is taking place on June 5-7th 2015 in Ta' Qali National Park on Malta

Earth Garden is taking place on June 5-7th 2015 in Ta’ Qali National Park on Malta

If Earth Garden 2015 is going to be your first festival of this kind, please visit their official website to learn more.  You will find everything you need to know: information about food stands, performances and concerts schedule, art market info and list of invited guests. You can also download the official program here: Egprog2015 or use this link directly from Earth Garden website: http://earthgarden.com.mt/Egprog2015.pdf

Our stand will be located in the Open Village on Ethnic Market. As advertised: “Ethnic Market visitors can walk through the stands filled with handmade creations amidst a colourful array of unique and attractive designs within a free-spirited atmosphere.” Do you need more encouragement? We don’t think so, but hey, here’s a map – maps are cool, you might be needing one not to get lost!

Where do you want to do?

Where do you want to go?

The time has come now to introduce you all to some of the newest members of our furry family. Please say hi to several new kitten artworks you will have a chance to adopt. And remember that we are supporting SPCA Malta  –  your purchases are going to help kittens and dogs in need. We cannot recommend highly the people behind The Society for the Protection & Care of Animals. They are our heroes but even a hero needs help sometimes. Be a superhero, come to The Cat Shop, buy the artworks and help your local animals in need!

SPCA has been great since 1937, it’s time to help them!
http://www.spcamalta.org/what-we-do/

1. Up and down – two cats made from bits of fabrics, decorative cord and old buttons. You can easily find these materials in any art store or from your local tailoring shop. We purchased about 2 meters of the decorative mesh for a few pennies from a local tailor, who has a lot of various fabric bits left after the dresses are made. Normally, those bits are being thrown away as the tailors have little use for them, but they can be easily re-used. You have no idea how many interesting things can be found in a tailor’s bin!

up and down

Up and Down

2. Twins – old piece of cardboard, a bit of black paint, some glue and a damaged sheet of decorative paper found in Hobby Craft’s reduced price section. Rita has used nail decorating supplies from Poundland to make the eyes – the packaging was damaged and the store was about to throw the box away. Never throw away the gems – we now have supply of cat eyes for 10 years at least!

Twins

Twins

3. Too many cats – Hobby Craft reduced price section is a true heaven for artists that are environmentally aware. Hole puncher in shape of a cat normally costs 4 pounds (about 6 euros). When it is cracked (but working fine), nobody wants to buy it. Well, we did and look at the results. We have used old Easter cards to make the silhouettes of dancing cats and styled them as we pleased. Framed, it looks fantastic! You can do it at home as well!

Too many cats

Too many cats

4. Three elegant cats – bits of fabrics again. You can style them as you wish, all you need is scissors, glue and old jeans buttons. Voila!

Three elegant cats

Three elegant cats

5. The Question – to make this picture, we used exactly the same materials as for the artwork number 1. Golden mesh was glued first, then we placed three cat silhouettes (cut from an old cardboard sheet) and the red mesh was placed on top. Three golden bows were made from a decorative rope used in beauty products packaging. If you see something pretty, save it for later!

The question

The question

6. The Gathering – do you have old newspapers lying around the house? You don’t have to throw them away, you can use them to make a cat artwork! A bit of fancy cover on top (like this sparkly mesh from tailor’s shop again, 50p for a meter) and you are a master cat artist. Do not worry about glue smudges, the mesh will hide any imperfections!

The Gathering

The Gathering

7. Muna – Muna’s body has been cut from the same piece of fabric used to make the artwork number 4. We have added old sequins from a recycled dress and the anchor was a part of an old cosmetic bag that was given away to us for free. Whiskers are made from Christmas tinsels (bits are always falling off when you take the decorations down in January so save them!).

Muna

Muna

8. Meow me? – Meow me took about 6 hours to be made. We have used sequins from an old t-shirt and his eyes were made from plastic stones that have been coloured with acrylics to fit the rest. The background is done with a washing technique that removes the upper layers of paint before it dries up completely. We have used an old picture frame back to paint the cat on it. Looks good to us!

Meow me?

Meow me?

9. Love is in the air – do you have an old gift bag that somebody gave you lying about the house? It is too battered to be used for present again and you feel it would be a waste to simply throw it away? Cut the patters, make an artwork out of it and frame it. Your friends will be jealous!

Love is in the air

Love is in the air

10. Love cats – this artwork was made with the same materials as artwork number 6. Never be ashamed to use the same materials to create several artworks. First, we need to combat the waste production, second, you will start a series of pictures and they look fantastic framed and displayed close to each other. An artist may lack the skills, but never the imagination. Bows, flower and heart have been recycled from different sources, but you can purchase them in art stores as well.

Love cats

Love cats

11. Jim Wright’s ShopCat – ShopCat is a real cat that belongs to a publicist and political commentator Jim Wright. She is an Internet feline celebrity and there’s nothing wrong with painting a fanart. You can follow Mr Wright on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Stonekettle

Jim is also an artist and owns an Etsy store:
https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/Stonekettle

Jim Wright's ShopCat

Jim Wright’s ShopCat

12. High fashion – this artwork has been made from the same materials as pictures number 5 and 1. A piece of cardboard painted black was placed among several layers of decorative mesh. Plus the bow is made from a red cord that was a part of beauty products packaging.

High fashion

High fashion

13. Flower power #1 – Wall stickers are very popular these days. Majority of them end up on our walls, but some pieces may not glue well or may have been damaged and are no longer fitting to be used. Do not throw them away – instead turn them into an artwork! Simply, glue the pattern in the middle of an A4 sheet (over 100 grams is preferable) and paint some cats around it. Then frame and display it next to the rest of the stickers decorating the walls. You will be applauded for creativity!

Flower power

Flower power

14. Flower power #2 – we had two spare stickers and now we have two cat artworks. They are our favourites!

Flower power 2

Flower power 2

15. Cheesecake – again the same materials used to make artwork number 9. Big heart patters, cat made from old cardboard sheet painted black and long tail. Say hello to Cheesecake!

Cheesecake

Cheesecake

16. Butterfly – the last of wall stickers that were used in artworks number 13 and 14. This time it is not a flower but a butterfly. Rita is very proud of this one, the cat looks really surprised. Painted with ancient acrylic inks she found at her parent’s flat (they are over decade old).

Butterfly

Butterfly

17. Blue – Blue was painted as a sketch for an artwork that was never finished. We decided to make an experiment – to frame an unfinished piece and only add a writing (created with rub on letters that can be found in art stores or purchased on Amazon). The final effect – brilliant. Lesson learned – do not throw your sketches and flawed drawings away. Put them in a safe place, even for a year and re-discover them to realize that they are purrfect.

Blue

Blue

18. 7 cat army – the same technique used to make the artwork number 3. We have punched a lot of cats from different bits of materials we had (old newspapers, gossip magazines, clothing logos etc) and then styled them as we wanted. We named it 7 cats army, after the song that played on the radio when we were making it (Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes). We like it a lot!

7 cat army

7 cat army

Please excuse the poor quality of the images, but they are actually pictures. It is hard to scan the artworks as they have many sticking elements that scanners generally do not like. Each artwork has been professionally framed and they will be available for sale. We also want to mention that all artworks have been designed by our mom, Olimpia Dabrowicz, the biggest cat lover in Poland and the owner of Cat-a-log collection.

We hope to see you in the Art Market! We are a small family business, and we love cats (as you probably have guessed!)

Meows and purrs!
Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz

Earth Garden 2015 – Introducing the Cat Shop

Hello Gardeners!

Yes, it is THAT time of year again! The famous Earth Garden Festival is approaching and there are only 6 days left until we will meet you all in the lovely Ta’ Qali National Park!

Earth Garden logo

Earth Garden logo

As usual, the preparations are underway. Mal and Rita have been working really hard to bring you the fifth edition of the ever popular The Cat Shop – and this year we can honestly promise you, it is very, very much different! We have completely and utterly rebooted the idea behind the store and we have some seriously cute cat-friendly artwork to prove it! You can expect a lot of great, innovative ideas from the organizers of the festival as well. One of the new things implemented this year are the small interviews with all stand owners from the Ethnic Market, which will help you to learn more about the artists and their works. We have been interviewed as well and we are proudly presenting you with the Introduction to The Cat Shop!

Ethnic Market ad featuring kittenlicious The Cat Shop

Ethnic Market ad featuring kittenlicious The Cat Shop

Earth Garden: What’s your name/ the name of your team, Business or Brand?

Vanadian Avenue: We are twin sisters: Malicia and Rita Dabrowicz. The name of the stand is The Cat Shop – because all our items have a cat pattern. Beside the stand, we also run a blog, organize events and promote independent artists on social media, all under the name “Vanadian Avenue”.

Earth Garden: Tell us about your business. What is it? What inspired or motivated you to start this venture? How long have you been doing it?

Vanadian Avenue: We started The Cat Shop about five years ago, just to see if any of the painting would sell. We got a very positive reaction (and quite a few sales!) and even have people coming back each year to say hi.This will be our fifth Earth Garden edition. We can’t wait!

We are also featured on Earth Garden website!

We are also featured on Earth Garden website!

Earth Garden: Did you have any green initiatives in place before Earth Garden? (For example is sustainability part of your business model? What about the packaging you use, the source of your products, OR any energy or water saving efforts, waste management – recycling, composting etc., do you tell people about it? Do you include customers in these initiatives? – Feel free to answer what applies to you as these are just ideas to guide you)

Vanadian Avenue:  Think globally, do locally – this is what we believe in. We try to reuse items when creating new cats (check out the lovely clay sculptures – the eyes are made of old bulbs and they fit perfectly!) or use organic materials in our paintings. We also have the policy of cleaning the site before we leave so no garbage is left behind. You don’t have to have a big ecological procedure to be effective. Not leaving a mess is good enough. Remember that Ta`Qali is a national monument and is to be enjoyed by everybody all year round!

And on the program as well! We are extremely proud!

And on the program as well! We are extremely proud!

Earth Garden: Do you have any hidden talents most people don’t know about?

Vanadian Avenue:  We have been in a church choir. Rita is a mezzo soprano, while Malicia is an alto.

Earth Garden: What are you selling at Earth Garden?

Vanadian Avenue:  We will be selling paintings, posters, fridge magnets and a variety of fantastical cats. You have to come and see them before they are all adopted!

Earth Garden: Are you In: What are you doing to make your part of Earth Garden Greener? Tell us about your product, your brand and/or your stall (for example the materials for your stall, your packaging).

Vanadian Avenue:  We try to keep things simple: one table (aluminium – lasts for years), two old rattan boxes (perfect for storage and moving things, also add character to the stall), some decorations: balloons, some string, paper bags for packaging. Green and ecological also means that you don’t show up with an entire caravan and take too much space!

Our stand  last year - we have some new cats that needs the good fur-ever homes!

Our stand last year – we have some new cats that needs the good fur-ever homes!

Our sculptures are made from recycled materials and part of the sales goes to support SPCA Malta: http://www.spcamalta.org/

Our sculptures are made from recycled materials and part of the sales goes to support SPCA Malta:
http://www.spcamalta.org/

Seeing blue? Blue is our favourite colour and it looks  very well framed in black!

Seeing blue? Blue is our favourite colour and it looks very well framed in black!

Earth Garden: Why does going greener matter to you?

Vanadian Avenue:  Going greener means being responsible: about your actions, about your surroundings, leaving things as they were after you leave. There is nothing uglier than leaving mess in a beautiful garden!

Earth Garden: What would you tell other people who want to start similar projects – any words of encouragement or advice on how they can do things more sustainably?

Vanadian Avenue:  We would like to tell people to start making art, no matter if they think of themselves to be artists, craftsmen or just mere amateurs. Do it, train, practice, create. Don’t listen to what others say. On our stand we keep a guest book and we encourage people to draw in it. People leave fantastic artworks and ideas and do not even realize how talented they really are! We need more art in our lives. Otherwise, life will be boring!

Earth Garden 5th-7th June 2015 Ta’ Qali National Park, Malta

We are getting greener, are you? This year we will show you what to do with old, unwanted newspapers and a bit of glue!

We are getting greener, are you? This year we will show you what to do with old, unwanted newspapers and a bit of glue!

Official website: http://earthgarden.com.mt
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EarthGardenEvent
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/EarthGardenFestival
Email: info@earthgarden.com.mt

Please come back soon as we will show you  some of the wonderful artworks  that we have prepared for The Cat Shop A.D. 2015!

Meows from
Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz
xxx