Lisa Larson started working at the legendary Gustavsbergs Pottery in 1953. Her mid-century modern design manifested in more ways than just cats, but for some reason it’s her felines that are all over the internet (probably because that’s what the internet is for – cats).
As a wedding gift, Björn gave me this modern cat figure designed by Lisa Larson. He picked this one because, well, “it looks like an Aby.” Can’t argue with that!
But my love of Lisa Larson cats goes way back to the first time I saw one in 2000. I had gone on my first trip to Europe, to Amsterdam with people from work, and while they went to a conference, I spent a few days in Holland before skipping off to meet my old penpal Björn and his girlfriend in Sweden.
I flew in and out of Göteborg, and one of the first places he took me was an antiques shop, where I saw this big kitty! And he is big, too – look at him compared with my hand! He was designed in 1957 for the “Stora Zoo” collection, and at the time he was pretty expensive (I think I paid around $100 USD for him)…and it turns out that he was a pretty savvy purchase!
In fact, in this photo of me with Björn (the first ever taken of the two of us together), you can see my Stora Katt in the bag I’m holding.
On that same trip, I picked up three small cats from the “Lilla Zoo” collection, circa 1955. I found them at various thrift shops and flea markets that Björn took me to.
One of them had an accident when he fell through a hole in the paper bag and crashed to the cement floor. He shattered to bits…but Björn insisted that we pick up all the pieces, and that night he sat down at the table with some glue and did what all the King’s horses and all the King’s men couldn’t do…he put my cat back together again!
Can you believe he did that?
I was amazed. I hadn’t actually been carrying him when he dropped (Björn’s girlfriend was), and I was sad that he had broken but there wasn’t much to be done…or so I thought. I was absolutely blown away that he was able to repair the cat so well.
I think that was when I started my crush on him forreals…
He has stripes down his back!
One of my more odd Lisa Larson cats is this Necono Digital Camera! The camera’s website even explains: “Lisa Larson is a world’s famous Swedish ceramist. She lives in the nature with her husband who is also an artist, and continues to produce ceramics even in her 70s. Before Japan learned about the Scandinavian ‘kawaii,’ she had always been teaching us how charming Scandinavian designs were.”
Mikey is the star of this camera and matching bag.
It’s a fun little remote digital camera. Not really sure why a digital camera needed to be cat-shaped, but…
…Oh, right. Because Japan.
Another modern usage of Lisa Larson cats is in the form of the typically Scandinavian pedestrian reflector. Born of a combination of the combined Nordic passions for creative design, the love of the outdoors, and safety, the pedestrian reflector is a extremely common thing, seen dangling from the snowsuits of toddlers to the fancy handbags of their grandmothers.
So of course there are Lisa Larson cat reflectors!
Finally, I have this Japanese keychain/hanging charm…another gift from Björn, of course…I guess he and these cats will always be intertwined in my memory.