Having a walk at a cat’s pace

Transformer cat cubes

This is a feline story that really happened in the streets of a small, beautiful Italian village, Cartoceto. I hope that cat and children lovers will get some inspiration from it. It all started with a walk. My friend Michele Ferri and I had not any particular destination, we just enjoyed walking and looking around. This attitude, between curiosity and the pleasure of idleness, already began to tune ourselves into the silent inhabitants of those beautiful courtyards. In fact, after a few steps, a pair of mustaches and two luminous eyes appeared out of nowhere. Then many others continued to appear one after one, inside a vase, on the windowsills, in the middle of a street, on doormats. “Okay guys, you can go through our kingdom on this one, but without disturbing too much please.”

The Italian village Cartoceto

They must have whispered something to us in the telepathic language of cats, because at the end of the walk, during a coffee-break in the square of the village, a bizarre feline idea was born. After about one year, that idea became real for a day, when the village turned into a surprise journey full of plays, games, music, exhibitions, events… Obviously all cat-inspired.

cat-event village map

Rare feline specimens looked out of the windows. One of them, an aristocratic lady-cat with lace gloves, used to open the shutters as she heard a good song. So the courtyard under the window was full of musical instruments, and a music master improvised some serenades with occasional passers-by.

Various cats at the windows

The Meows Parc was guarded by ten Swinging Cats. These wary guardians oscillated in all directions without ever falling, but trying to get in the way of everyone who passed by. Be careful not to get touched by them!

The game of swinging cats

At some point during the walk, one inevitably came across Mr. Hurry’s house. After the bell ring, here he is hastily looking out from his terrace to tell very short stories of ancient and legendary cats.

An actor telling stories from a terrace

Heads of all colors, striped, checkered or polka-dot legs, furry bellies, zig zag mustache… The Transformist Cube-cats could be broken down and reassembled in hundreds feline identities.

the game of transformable cat cubes

While wearing mouse ears, children went through the cheese-tunnel, making sure that “cat-children” didn’t steal their tails through the holes.

Cheese cardboard tunnel

Involving local shopkeepers and artisans, all the stands of the feline market were strictly themed: books, biscuits, t-shirts, ceramics, puppets.

cat shaped biscuits
cat puppets

Finally, the notorious Red Grinning Cat suddenly appeared during the night, just as the band was playing the march “At a Cat’s Pace”. Don’t panic: the Mad Tamer was fortunately around. He was the only one that could successfully try to domesticate a Red Grinning specimen, for his great experience of imaginary animals.

The imaginary Red Grinning Cat

Even if every project is carried out by a group of people, I usually let things speak for themselves without mentioning names. However, this was a special experience, a really collective and site-specific event. So many thanks to all the people who made it possible:

  • Michele Ferri, co-author of the project, from the first inspiring walk to every final detail
  • My father Aldo Pucci, for his indispensable technical support
  • Olga Valeri for believing in this crazy idea
  • Mario Mariani for the original musical piece “At a Cat’s Pace” and the band of Cartoceto for having masterfully performed it
  • The Caffè Massimo for the delicious MadCat biscuits
  • All friends, villagers, actors and artists who made their great contribution for free
  • All the cats of the village, who were watching us from hiding places. “Ok, go ahead, today you can stay in our kingdom… But tomorrow everything comes back how it was before.” Thank you, Your Majesty.
cat paintings on a palace wall
Art installation by Monica Monachesi e Giuseppe Braghiroli

Have you ever seen a walking flower?

A paper flower-hat for children

Many years ago, while walking, I met a very special street hatter. He did not sell anything, but teached how to make flower-shaped hats. Many models and shaped pieces of paper were neatly arranged in his colorful stand, ready to be assembled. Everyone could stop and choose their favorite one, the shape of the petals, the colour combinations.

Would you like to try? A hat is a serious thing. Thus, take your time. There are endless possibilities of variations, so every flower will be unique, even if just for a detail.

Look closer, care in the choice, slow down, observe the object while it is taking shape: the creative process is a bit magical and will make the hat a special, precious object. Walking flowers will begin to spread in the streets…

As in nature, despite an infinite variety, the basic principles of construction are few and simple. The following pictures show you the three main techniques, that the street hatter showed me in exchange for one icecream and seven glass marbles.

The variations of the model n.1 and n.3 concern petals (the shape, the dimensions, the color and the sequence), while in the model n.2 you can choose the color of the dome base, the shape and the size of leaves or petals on the top.

You can also give a name to your flower and create one for each member of your family or friends.

If you like to, you are welcome to share it by e-mail or Facebook, to enrich the walking-flowers catalogue.

Enjoy!

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Many tiny rainbows make a big one

a cardboard rainbow built in a collective workshop

I hope this idea can offer a useful metaphor in a time when physical distance is still a very present theme: we are part of something bigger and of a community, even if we created our contribution alone or together with a very small group. What is a Rainbow Construction Site? It is a workshop, a party and a celebration at the same time, with no age limit. It will be up to the organizer to optimize spaces and materials according to the number and characteristics of the participants, for example by arranging areas where the individual or a couple can work on his piece. Therefore, I suggest you to take cues flexibly from these images, considering that it was part of a pre-Covid public event several years ago.

Each participant (or small group) is given a special shaped piece of white cardboard: a small but very important piece, because finally it will be part of a large whole rainbow. Partecipants are invited to colore their pieces on both sides. As far as type and number of colors, there are endless possibilities. In this case, I chose three colors to keep in the same order (green, yellow, red). Among the available materials: various types of paper and colored surfaces, fabrics, ribbons, tapes, scissors, vinyl glue and brushes.

Now let’s see how to build the basic structure that should be ready before the workshop. Choose the dimensions of the rainbow and put on the floor a big enough sheet of paper (or more sheets joined toghether). Draw the two big arcs with an artisanal compass (a rope with a pencil attached to one hand and the other end fixed to the center of the subtended circumference). Divide the arcs in a number of equal parts with vertical lines (the rainbow in the photofraph is divided in 14 parts, the one in the picture below in 8 parts). Finally, add the vertical “legs” of the structure below the arches: the scheme is ready.
Another solution consists in hanging the big sheet of paper and tracing the outline of a projected image of the structure drawing (previously drawn smaller).

The drawing of the structure of the rainbow

Now you can cut the rainbow parts, trace them on a thick cardboard and cut them again. Finally, draw other parallel curved lines in order to divide three (or more) areas for different colors. The structure is ready for the workshop!

Finally, the organizer will join all the pieces together using transparent tape and leaving between them a distance equivalent to the thickness of the cardboard. In this way, the structure can be folded in many ways, becoming self-supporting or even “flat”, if needed.

Different shapes you can fold the rainbow

I primarily designed this workshop for a public event in a square, where people could freely stop and work for as long as they wanted. But could also be suitable for various collective contexts and celebrations, for example in schools, both with known or unknown people. So new Rainbow Construction Site could be temporarily set in many places around the world… Would you like to try? You are welcome to share your rainbow pictures sending them to info@robertapuccilab.com.
Enjoy!

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