Cat Table

The finished table

This was one of my first furniture projects during my new life in Derby in 2011 – one of the most personal and most enjoyable! This was an old pine table of Dan’s which had been stored away unloved for sometime.

During the 90’s I was a fan of an artist called Clare Maddicott who designed a fabulous range of greetings cards. Her lively designs always had a border of tiny squares with vibrant colourful details in each one, and I fancied having a go using images which meant something to me and my beloved. At a glance you can see that Dizzy, my black cat with big yellow eyes, and my garden are very important to me. Then there are little details I added that mean something to us both – some are silly in jokes I’ll not embarrass us both by revealing! Ha ha! Others are references to our passion for jazz (I’m a singer and he’s a guitarist) and our love of home life. My favourite’s the little red square marking our engagement – Dan asked me to marry him in Venice in October 2011, so romantic! I’m also very fond of Dizzy’s paw print which was a happy accident. She’d decided it would be fun to jump up on the table to see what I was up to and then walked through her own black cat wet paint! Little tinker. I managed to repair the damage but the paw print going off the table was just too cute to cover up so I just painted it in a little more to accentuate it. Thanks Diz! x

I enjoyed trying out my favourite colours and had fun muting and softening the colours and patterns on the table legs, a technique I’m really fond of. As it was to be a garden table I felt it had to have grass running up its legs! I had sanded the whole table initially to key it; I used mostly general emulsion paints, but also Sharpie pens, poster, acrylic, metallic, watercolour & gouache paints. You can see I just ram raided my stash of colours! I quite like the way the different mediums catch the light so it works for me. I think with hindsight though I would have painted a different base colour as it’s a little bland, although I guess it’s a good background for the colours to pop out against. I then coated it in 3 layers of yacht varnish to protect it… and then like a total berk I left it out all winter for 4 years without any protection so it got rained on, heavily snowed on and Jack Frost visited several times, to loosen all the tabletop paint; and of course it then heated up dramatically during the summer to crack, curl and lift the paint. Not intentional. Or advisable!! Hey, you live and learn. I have covers on all my garden furniture now!

I quite liked the effect of a couple of years “distressing” actually so took some photos. I’d like to frame some of those pictures as I think they look quite good! Unfortunately here we are in 2016 and the table top has completely lost all the picture now, although the legs are still in good condition due to their roof! The table surface is made up of 4 planks of wood which have now started to curve upwards a little due to it being so wet then dry, hot then cold on a regular seasonal basis. Poor table, it needs some more love! It’s an amazing table which is extremely useful to me as a planting up area which I can sit up to and gaze adoringly around at my lovely garden while I potter & pootle and generally get myself clarted in mud, and while Diz wanders round as security cat before slumping down in exhaustion at her activities for a 4 hour snooze in the sun.

No plans to do anything with it yet but writing this has made me think…

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