Monday, April 11, 2011

An Interview With Judy Johnson From Bay Colony Designs, The Creator Of Custom Sculptured Cats

I was poking around Twitter one day and happened to stumble upon a woman that made the most amazing cat sculptures that I had ever seen.  They are made out of wool and after one look I was smitten! I am planning on ordering one of my Angel Bobo and one of Cody as soon as I am able.

I love to feature items on Cat Chat that I would want or that I think are unique so I contacted Judy and asked if she would mind appearing on my blog.

Originally I was going to conduct the interview but Judy mentioned that she had one that she would gladly share and I am pleased to present it to you:

 How did you get interested in cats? 
When I was growing up we lived in the middle of nowhere.  Therefore, any stray animals that needed a home came to our house.
black and white
How old were you when you had your first kitty? 
I was about 4 years old.  My Dad still displays a photo of me at that age with three kittens crawling all over me.
How did you discover Etsy? 
My step daughter, Sloane Solanto, is also an artist.  ( She gave me all the information about Etsy.  At that time I didn’t think I needed any more activities to fill my day.  It wasn’t until a year later that I decided to give it a try.  I’m sure glad I did!  I love Etsy.

Did you consider other ways to sell your products? 
Yes, I have considered other ways of selling.  I have a vendor in NY that keeps a few kitties in stock.  I have also had pet stores contact me.  But I keep my most of my kitties at Etsy.
long hair

Do you sell your products in a local store in your area? 
No, at this time, I only sell my cats through Etsy.

Have you been successful at selling your products on Etsy?  I started out selling patterns and watercolor paintings.  Although I was successful, I wasn’t as successful as I wanted to be.  I think that is because of my competitive side.  I watched other artist selling on a daily basis.  I wanted to do that!

My husband was the one that said “Make cats.”  I am so glad that I listened.  I have met so many nice people in the cat world.  I love sculpting with wool and each cat makes my heart sing.  I have since branched out into kitty accessories.  I also make collars and toys.

Have you always been successful, or did you end up getting a lot more traffic after being featured on a specific blog? 
I have noticed a sizable difference in the traffic on my site when being mentioned on a blog or website.   It gives people a glimpse into my studio and my inspirations.

Do your customers ever give you new ideas for products?  I love it when customers want custom orders!  I love seeing their kitties, and hearing the stories behind them.  It helps me put extra life into my sculptures.  I am always open to suggestions so if you have one, write to me.  or come see me on Etsy (

Are you a one woman show?  I do all of the artwork.  Sebastian is my live model.  On occasion he is good for typing!  Thank goodness for spell check.

Can someone return your item it if they don’t care for it?  No one has ever asked for a refund.  I aim to please.

Can you share a story with us behind any of your products that you especially enjoyed working on?  It is so hard to pick one that I especially enjoyed.  Each custom kitty comes with a story and I love that.  I have recently done a kitty that crossed over the Rainbow Bridge.  I think he turned out particularly well.
I also feel the need to give back to the cat world.  Therefore, I have found the Hope for Life Rescue.

 ( It is a local rescue in Virginia Beach.  At the end of the year, a portion of the proceeds from each item sold at my shops goes to helping the kitties there.  Here is a kitty from the rescue. Her name is Chantilly.

For details on how to order a Custom Sculpture of your kitty, please visit my shop.


  1. These are adorable! I am heading over to her shop to heart it for future reference. When I get my hands on some money, I'll order me one...or two. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Wow! This is superb. I think Mama would want all seven (incl Ralf who'd gone over the RB) of us immortalised. I'd like one of me with all four paws up. purrr....meow!

  3. Wonderful interview and those are super cute dolls.
    I really like that 1st and 2nd doll

  4. Caren, this is most excellent information about the most darling cat sculptures! I am in love with them now too. The ginger-and-white Cici toward the end? Reminds me so much of my precious Bleecker, who used to cross his paws like that (one of his nicknames was "Toes-on-toes Boy"). He had a heart on his shoulder and a diamond on one front toe. I will love him until the day I die. My husband bought me a Webkins that looks much like Bleecker and I treasure it. Therefore, I am thinking that I would want a sculpture of my darling Willow, one who shares my life now. She has a tiny beard! Really, have you ever seen a cat with a beard like a little old Asian man? There is a short video of her here that shows her beard pretty well (the one long white whisker she had at the time dropped off and never returned).

  5. Oh Mommy just loves this artwork. Thanks for sharing with us.

  6. Oh wow, they are just amazing. What a clever lady. :) xx

  7. @Benny & Lily, I know! I am totally in love with them!

    @Artemisia, I do too! So happy you and your Mom enjoyed it!

  8. @lydia I just watched the video and OMG yes that whisker is amazing!! it is sooo long! Too bad it didn't grow back, it was so interesting. I love how both kitties were so focused on what you were saying...they clung on every word! Thank you for sharing your story! Your video was precious!

    @Princess Jasmine, I know...I am in love with them!

    @Novroz I love them too! Glad you enjoyed the interview, Judy didn't say who originally did it, if I had known I would have credited them.

    @Cat from Sydney, I am thinking of ordering two...have to wait for a bit though...but I really think I am ordering two! Glad you loved these as well!

    @Michelle I "hearted" it for future reference too because i really want two of them!

  9. I am so glad you shared this with all of us. I didn't know about this fantastic artist.

  10. Oh, she does have very bootiful stuff. One day I saw a kitty on her site dat looks like me.

  11. Oh these are so lovely. Just beautiful Judy. I like hearing your opinions on etsy to. I'd never heard of it till I joined blogger. I am thinking of starting my own shop, but don't know much about it, or if my crafts are good enough.

    Thankyou for sharing this Caren.

  12. I love her artwork. I just spent a lot of time in her etsy shop... Wonderful! Thanks for sharing. I think HH will go back later to look around.

    pawhugs, Max

  13. Wow, these are just beautiful. Bet she's overwhelmed with orders when all your million readers get the word . . .

    Just -- remember what my Bugs did with Hootie? Hootie was wool . . . . I would hate to see these little beauties end up like Hootie, as a potential bowel obstruction . . . .

    Not to rain on anybody's parade, though. If there were a place in my house where Bugs could not reach -- there isn't, but a girl can dream -- I would LOVE one of these!

  14. . . . and can you believe this? The scrambled word I got, before I could enter my last comment, was: CATED! Ta-dah. Synchronicity. Wonder what word I'll get with this one. Dogged?

    Nope. "FATICH." Ha. Good one.

  15. They look so life-like it is scary!!! They are beautiful!

  16. Those sculptues are amazing!

    Mindy, Moe, Bono, Cookie & Mike

  17. What lovely cats they are and must be so tactile being made of wool.
    luv Hannah and Lucy xx xx

  18. @Fisher and Staff, I am so happy you enjoyed this! I was thrilled when I found her, I was completely mesmerized!

    @Hannah and Lucy I love your comment about the cats being "tactile"...I think that is what intrigued me so much when I first saw them. That and they look so life-like. xoxo

    @Team Tabby, I know! Aren't they the best!!??

    @Bloggin bout my Boys...I know! I really have to have two made of my them!

    @Nadbugs your point is well taken! I have a cabinet with doors where I would probably display mine. Actually Cody doesn't bother things like these...he goes after dry plants (you know the dry floral arrangements?) trying to eat those...I think these he would leave alone. Many people have curio cabinets and that would be the purrfect place for these I would think. You made me laugh with your capcha (sp?) I always like seeing what word I get too! lol

    @Max The Quilt Cat I am so happy you enjoyed this! I have to go back later myself and poke around. I would love a statue of Bobo and one of Cody....I have some things to mail at the Post Office today that I think might be kind of expensive so I may have to wait a little bit, but these are definitely on my MUST HAVE list! I love creations that are unique and these are quite unique, beautifully crafted. happy you liked ARE...."good enough!!!" Go for it!! Do some kitty things, set up your shop and you will be on here!! xoxo

    @Mario, I think the very first kitty in the photo looks a lot like you! xoxo OMG Mario, just dawned on me...we are online....AGAIN.....MOL!! ((((hugs))))

  19. I love them too. And I'm heading right over to check out her blog. Great find!

  20. Oh wow! Caren these are excellent!!Thank you for sharing this most excellent artist with us! Mommy is heading over to look at her cats right now!
    Kitty kisses and purrs

  21. @Sharon I knew you would! Thank you! I think they are a great find too!

    @Macho and Nicole I think so too!

    @The Cat From Hell I am sooo glad you enjoyed these! I knew you would like them as well!!! xoxo

  22. Those are amazing, not to mention beautiful! Thanks for a great post!

  23. We really love the sculptures! So life-like!

  24. Thank you so much for all of your wonderful comments! I hope that each one of you will come visit my shop. Don't forget to register with Etsy and mark my shop as a favorite to get in on free gift giveaways. See my shop policies for the details.

    Caren, You're the best!

    Thank you,
    ~Judy =^..^=

  25. The apricot blossoms does not smell as a apricot...but very beautiful...

  26. @Brian aren't they?? I KNOW!! OMG! They are charming and fabulous! I could look at these photos over and over again. I would love to touch one, I bet they feel so nice!

    @The Monkeys, yep that is what I love about them too, they are fabulous!

    @BayColonyDesigns/Judy...told ya everyone was loving them! (as they should!) I know great things when I see 'em!!! I think I am registered with Etsy but have to check. Would love to try one of those give-aways myself! You are most welcome Judy!! Glad to help spread the word! You are sooo talented and I wanted everyone to see your creations!

  27. I love these designs! I could look at them all day long!

  28. Oh my gosh Caren we love these kitties!!! I went right over to Judy's Etsy page and put it in my favourites. I saw kitties there that looked like my boys...just begging to be adopted I think :-)

  29. We love her stuff and she's so nice to work with. We ordred one of Koko and are planning to get two more of our other kitties. ~^..^~

  30. She is very talented !!!!
    Pretty cool, The cat sculptured look pretty similar as real cat.And Caren, Thanks to put the tuxedo one on top because I think you must miss me in some way...hee..hee...I'm pretty positive : )

  31. @Amin thank you! I was wondering!

    @Mr.Puddy yes she is! LMAO!!! Ohhhhh yessss I always miss you Puddy when I haven't seen you in the day! I am on my way over soon!! You better be there! Love you Puddy! xoxoxo

    @Kokoro I can't wait til I can order two of them! I had to do donations for the give-away and then mailed the bumper stickers today, as soon as I can I am definitely going to order two of them! Oh and the comment about Dakota having "nothing to do" YEAH RIGHT!!! xoxoxo

    @Cat I have to go over again too!!! I am in love with these! Can't wait til you adopt yours! When everyone does you should put them on your blogs! xoxoxo

    @Vicky me too! I can't wait to see what they feel like

  32. Those are so sweet and what a lovely keepsake it would make.

  33. Hmm, I wonder if she'd make a sleeping Human for me? Would she look cuter if she were all sprawled on a little pillow?

  34. Oh theese are wonderful! Our favorites are the Chantilly one and the long hair but all of them are so cute. It's something to think about for the future when we are able, thanks for sharing.

  35. @Julia I agree...I have to order two for sure!

    @Spitty OMG you kill me! A "sleeping human" roflmao!!! You are HILARIOUS!! I love you! lol

    @Cloon I agree! I am thinking about it too as soon as I can

    Thanks everyone for your enthusiasm...I thought these sculptures were truly special and unique and I am so glad that all of you thought so too! xoxo

  36. They are superb little creatures, I love creative art. I'll forward this post to my friends. thank you for sharing :)

  37. Judy is so creative and artistic! I think her sculptures are perfect for prezzies as they are so unique and special, they are really adorable!!!

  38. @KrafteKat yes they are superb! Love your choice of word! Thanks for sharing the post and for sharing Judy! So nice to meet you!

    @Priscilla yes they are purrfect!! I have to get my paws on some!

  39. Hi Caren,
    I'm not sure my comment went through, but if it did please erase the double. I'm head over heels with those terrific tiny kitty creations - I'll have to pop over and soak them all up. They are simply GORGEOUS. Thanks so much for sharing. Brilliant!

  40. @Amin thank you!

    @Gods Little People, all is ok! I deleted your other comment as you requested! I use comment moderation so you can comment but it won't post til I approve it. Sometimes if I am not online or busy I don't check/clear the comments super fast and I am sorry! I love those kitties too!! I am so happy that you like them! I am not surprised! :)

  41. I have recently become fascinated with felting products (gloves, scarves, little animals, etc) and swore I'd try this craft out on my own but of course that never happened so I will let other talented (and focused) people create one of each of our pets when I get some extra money! What a great way to remember pets who made a difference in our lives!

  42. Oh thanks for sharing with us - those are so adorable! She is very talented - I need to remember this when I have some cash because I would love to get some of my group!

  43. I have seen these on Etsy, and I think they're absolutely beautiful! You can tell she puts a lot of time and care into making them! Thanks for helping us get to know the artist, Caren!

  44. This is mommy of Admiral. It would be fair to say I am absolutely swoony about this! THANK you SO much!!!!!


  45. @Hilary, I know! I think so too! :)

    @Admiral Hestorb, as I KNEW you would be!!! You are sooooo welcome and I am thrilled that you are sooo excited!!! xoxoxo

    @Catsparella I do too! I know....I can't even imagine how she creates these. You are welcome!

    @Amy that makes two of us!! Thanks much for stopping by, I know things have been crazy for you. I stopped by tonight but tonight I was a "lurker"...I didn't comment...sometimes I just lurk around! lol

    @The Teachers Pets...I soooooooooo agree!!! I can draw but when it comes to doing something like this there is no way...I am not that talented!

  46. Oh my gosh, these sculptures are wonderful! Great interview, and thanks for the introduction to Judy's work.
    Plus I loved the pic of Sebastian, what a cutie! :)

  47. Beautiful!! I would love to have a whole 'litter' of these on a mantle or shelf. They are adorable. How gifted she is!

  48. These are amazing! What excellent work!

  49. OMC these sculptures are lovely! And what a nice interview, well done!

  50. Greetings,

    These are incredible works of art and so very beautiful and realistic looking and when compared to the image of the model after which they were based, then it is truly astonishing.

    Thank you for for bringing this to our attention especially since dad is an artist to but of a different spectrum.

    Sorry it took so long to get back to you for having visited our site and commented.

    Warmest regards,
    Miss Kitty and Egmont