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Drape, sculpture by Ellen Woodbury

“Drape” is a stone sculpture kitten that epitomizes security and relaxation. 


My husband, Brian, and I adopted a new kitten who is an absolute delight.  I found her draped on a shelf one afternoon in an iconic cat pose and realized the humor and irony of her young age and (logical) propensity for classic cat behavior.  

Kitten Gestures

Most all species of felines are quite similar.  An adult house cat and an enormous tiger have similar gestures and actions.  Cats have marvelous stretching poses and eloquent relaxing poses.  One of my favorites is the drape.  Leopards luxuriously drape themselves from tree branches much like cats drape themselves from a shelf or the armrest of an upholstered chair.  A tiny kitten adopts these iconic cat poses and it is out-of-this-world charming.  Cat gestures take on new dimensions of fun when they become kitten gestures.

Kitten draped on a shelf
Chai’s first kitten drape gesture.

Bringing Joy to One’s Life

My last sculpture was finished in August 2022 and titled “Lift”.  It was inspired by my need to create joy amidst the chaos of life.  I made a list of things that lift my spirits, and carving stone is one of those joyful activities.    

Last summer I injured my knee and was not able to work in my studio for four months–a large chunk of my creative year.  I needed some happiness–hence our new kitten, because Baby Animals are a profound source of joy for me.  My draped kitten was an irresistible subject for a stone sculpture.

A cat drapes on a shelf
A more sophisticated drape by 1-year-old Chai.

Security and Trust

I realized this draped pose is the embodiment of trust.  Our kitten felt safe in her new home, which added another level of happiness to my life.  I can create a safe place in a culture where we can be unsafe at the grocery store, the movie theatre, a place of worship, or a school.  Her pose reminded me that innocence and trust still exist in our world and I want to protect and encourage that lifestyle/philosophy. 

It also reminded me that there are those who do not feel safe in their homes.  This is one of the tragedies of our times; security and trust are precious and can never be taken for granted.

Drape, view 2, sculpture by Ellen Woodbury
“Drape” back view.  Photo by Ellen Woodbury.

The Stone

Sivec (sa-VETCH) Marble is pure white with no vein.  It has remarkable crystal which glitters like fresh snow when finished just right.  Sivec Marble is from a quarry in Macedonia that has been in continual operation for 2,500 years.  This is the stone from which the ancient Greeks built their civilization.  Knowing the history contributes to the profound experience of carving it.

The graphic beauty of this marble makes it one of my favorite stones to carve.  Edges break light into light and shadow.  Curves bend light into gradations of shadow. The block in “Drape” is made of all broken light–edges.  The kitten is composed of curves and edges that create a visual path for the viewer’s eye to travel through the kitten form.  I love the stark contrast between the hard block and the soft kitten.    


Stone is a magical medium that can be presented as both hard and soft at the same time.  It is a joy to carve and a joy to touch.  The reality of being unable to carve stone for an extended period of time makes me even more grateful that I am able to create in this medium. 

To paraphrase Joni Mitchell:  you don’t really know what you’ve got until it really is gone.

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