well, hello there

It's nice to virtually meet you.

I'm Cat, Chief Imagineer and Maker at the phablaboratory, also known as the House of Three Cats Rehabilitation Centre. (Yes, and that's Hazel, rescue cat #2 looking at you!)

So, let me explain.  

Rewind to March 2020 when Lockdown 1.0 came to Melbourne and office workers - like me - all started working from home. As a single lady, living alone the most obvious thing for me to do would be to adopt two rescue cats, right?  So Hazel and Mischa moved in and we started to get to know each other.

Fast forward a few weeks and my hands decided to go on strike. Well, actually I tore the Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex in my left wrist and at the same time discovered that I had acute carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands and thus began 18 months of surgeries, many months of sick leave and twice weekly hand therapy sessions.  Hence, I began to refer to my home as the House of Three Cats Rehabilitation Centre.

Now for a crafty lady who is obsessed with textile art (slow stitch, boro, sashiko, hand quilting...), photography, creative writing, upcycling furniture, dressmaking, gardening, cooking, and fermentation (yes, I brew my own kombucha and jun) the loss of the use of my hands was devastating.

Remember how I said I was a single lady living alone?  Okay, now add to that equation Melbourne's extended lockdowns, one completely paralysed hand, the other one failing fast, and no one to help me butter my toast, make the bed, clean, cook... yep, you're getting the picture eh?

It was an emotional rollercoaster ride and not one I like to dwell on, so let's fast forward to December 2020.  I was given a pair of hand made polymer clay earrings by a work colleague.  They were exquisite.  I was obsessed with them.  Over that end of year/new year vacation period I spent a lot of time watching YouTube videos about polymer clay.  

In January 2021, my hand therapists gave me a block of physio putty.  The aim was to strengthen my hands.  It was feckin' boring!  I like to be really productive and kneading a ball of putty just seemed senseless.  Then I had a lightbulb moment:  maybe I could get some polymer clay!  It would mean I could still do hand therapy but the outcome would be a piece of artwork!

And that's how it began.  However, come March 2021 the polymer clay therapy came to an end because I had yet more surgery, but in late June I picked up the clay again and took it to the next level with a Lucy Clay pasta machine and clay slicer.  My hands weren't strong enough to do it on my own.  The LC machines were a game changer.  My techniques improved, as did the quality of my earrings.  I started giving them away!

Sometime later, I was zooming with an interstate friend who encouraged me to open an online store.  So, within 15 minutes I'd registered my domain name, got a Shopify account, Instagram page and was on my way to become a small business owner!

I had even set a launch date of 1st September for my store!

But then, on the eve of the launch (i.e. today) the hard disk died in my laptop.

...and that, dear reader, is a whole 'nother story.