Sometime in 1996 I discovered a new renegade lipstick company called Urban Decay whose motto was: “Does pink make you puke?” I immediately snapped up tubes in colors called Bruise, Smog, Roach, Plague, and Asphyxia and wore them boldly to cat shows and on the streets of San Francisco while wondering who might be behind this maverick company.
When the San Francisco Chronicle had an article about Sandy Lerner I learned that she was the person who created Urban Decay after she’d co-founded, then sold, Cisco. The article had a photo of Sandy, a top a regal horse, dressed in armor! Turns out that this woman jousts. Totally impressed by this inspiring woman with her horses, cool outfits, brains, and joyful eccentricity I can honestly say she’s been a muse of mine since founding Cat Faeries in 1993. Fast forward to 2017 and we learn that she’s a serious cat-woman with a collection of astonishing museum-quality collection of art pieces from centuries back to modern which depict cats, and a new book to showcase them in. She’s also a major philanthropist who donates heavily to cat welfare and rescue.
There are absolutely no mundane or common objects photographed in Caticons. Every single object photographed is a new experience to the senses. Look at this book time and time again to find overlooked details or grasp something new in Sandy’s writings about a particular piece or era. Caticons a beautiful text book of sorts on the history of cats in art, literature and poetry, music, and culture that does not exist elsewhere. Caticons should be required reading for any student of art and history, and school children everywhere. Sit a child down at a table with this book and watch their eyes and hearts open to the wonders of cats and art – what a great way to study history.
A massive amount of work went into creating this book. It was very intensive and therefore very expensive to produce. It was a true labor of love. The miniscule amount of profit from sales of Caticons are personally guaranteed by Sandy to go directly to her ongoing donations to cat and animal welfare.
Sandy still jousts and raises those beautiful shire horses she rides when jousting. She practices this intriguing sport at her ranch in Upperville, Virginia. Urban Decay and Cisco are memories now as her thoughts and work are 100% devoted to organic, stewardship and regenerative based farming, and to cats. Her philanthropy ranges far and wide. Her heart is generous and kind. Sandy Lerner has many irons in the fire, always creating new and exciting projects, often involving the betterment of cats, other animals like horses, environment, and promoting land stewardship, regenerative farming, and preserving our food supply.
If you are stumped about what to give to a dear cat loving friend, or what to reward yourself for being a good cat-parent this year we’ve found the ideal gift, “Caticons, 4,000 Years of Art Imitating Cats”. A few of Cat Faeries catnip toys or an Amethyst cat shaped crystal will make the season even merrier!
A few of Cat Faeries’ favorite pages:
- Page 14 is her first mention of her fixation on all things blue, including blue porcelain cats.
- Page 17, Sandy tells us what the word Caticons means and how it originated
- Page 171 has a cat chess set
- Page 200 has a yummy double scent bottle with a cat’s head on each end from 1880
- Page 203 shows “Purple Princess Flats” divine ladies’ footwear from Spain, a stunning cat on each foot
- Page 212 and 213 show portraits two regal ladies each with her cat
- Page 216 begins a few pages of cat themed sewing implements
- Page 240 for an ink, pastel and watercolor on paper called A Study of Kittens by Henriette Rozner-Knip circa 1896
- Page 251 has a porcelain Meiseen from 1730 or so of a cat carrying her kitten
- Page 296 is the last page before the Endnotes with a painting of Sandy and her cat Ratty (on roller skates!) painted by Carolina Gronholm in 2016.
- Lastly, Page 288 has a Georgian era brooch of a cat. Such jewelry from the Georgian and Victorian eras with cats are extremely rare – dogs are more common. Should you ever stumble upon one like it notify Auntie Cat Faerie immediately!