“Cats are the wildest of the tame and the tamest of the wild.” -- Mark Twain
It may be the dog days of summer but it will be cool cats in the spotlight when the new show opens at the Jerome Artists Cooperative on Saturday, August 4. And they’ll be accompanied by some very hip hats.
Verde Valley artist Michele Cokl Naylor unveils her latest work in a one-woman exhibition, “Cool Cats & Hats.”
An accomplished hat maker, Naylor uses old-school techniques, and then adds modern twists to create her always chic chapeaus. Toppers on sale during the show will include fedoras, bowlers, cloches and berets.
The rest of the show is dedicated to her love of -- and the undeniable coolness of -- cats. One-of-a-kind vests adorned with cats, and glasses cases made from cat fabric will be available.
Dozens of original cat paintings of various sizes will line the walls. Working from a vibrant color palette, Naylor’s cats define the essence of cool.
Best of all, 10 percent of sales from the show will be donated to the Verde Valley Humane Society and the Jerome Humane Society.
“I have four rescue cats at home,” says Naylor. “So I understand the importance of the shelters and the work the Humane Society does. I want to be able to give something back for all the joy the little creatures have given me.”
Indeed, cats have been inspiring artists, writers and philosophers for centuries. Leonardo da Vinci said, “The smallest feline is a masterpiece.” Jules Verne believed cats were spirits come to earth, Charles Dickens thought there was no greater gift than the love of a cat, and Edgar Allan Poe lamented that his writing lacked the mystery of a cat.
“As an artist, you never know where inspiration will come from,” says Naylor. “Fortunately, I have a household filled with it as I get to watch the elegance, grace, goofiness and humor that my cats exhibit daily.”
The August 4 opening of “Cool Cats & Hats will take place from 5-8 p.m. and is part of Art Walk in Jerome. Wine and chocolate will be served with donations going to the humane societies and the music will be from the 1930s and ‘40s to help set the very cool mood. It’s a chance to meet the artist and try on some hats or swap some cat stories.
The Jerome Artists Cooperative Gallery is located at 502 Main Street. Open Daily 10-6.
For more information, call 928-639-4276 or visit www.jeromecoop.com