Houston Artist Creates Beautiful Pet Products & Art
ALYSON WHITNEY OWNER/DESIGNER WWW.CHOWTIME PRODUCTIONS.COM
Alyson Whitney, an award winning artist based in The Woodlands, creates vibrant and whimsical ceramics for pets. The signature of her work is the liveliness of her color palette and her exceptional designs.
The first reaction of any new customer is amazement that the designs are so exuberant and the sentiments are so witty. How fun is that, having a special bowl for a pet! These wonderful pieces sell throughout the U.S. and selected countries in Europe. Just a list of the names of her pieces conveys fun: “Boney Macaroni”, “Spiffie”, “Got Pink” for dogs and “Feed Me”, “Psychedelic Fur” and “Sassy Cat” for cats.
“Bad to the Bone” a bowl and treat jar combination features red roses and green thorns surrounding a bright yellow skull and crossbones. Visualize a large breed dog with this bowl, and then imagine the fiercest tea cup poodle- attitude says it all. This set was included in a recently published book on luxury items for pets, along with the “blinged out” clothes and collars from other high-end manufacturers. Two other products of Alyson’s were featured in It’s a Dog’s World, Stichting Kunstboek, 2008, The Netherlands. [ISBN 978-90-5856-286-9 www.stichtingkunstboek.com
“Boney Macaroni” is Alyson’s newest design in her extensive line of ceramic bowls and treat jars. Dog bones in bright hues bounce all over the bowl and treat jar, and seem to give off an extra energy to a household’s décor when place on the floor. Alyson had been thinking about a design that could be used for either female or male pet, and somehow capture the spirit of high-energy dogs.
For the 2009 Holidays, Alyson has created a limited edition “Sassy at Christmas” design: two bowl and treat jar combinations, a set for dogs and a set for cats. “Sassy” dog has found the perfect gift under the tree- a dog bone- while “Sassy” cat is eyeing the prospect of her present going under the tree. (Or is that for the lady of the house?) No matter because both pets will have a fabulous day when these bowls and treat jars find their various ways to “good homes for pets”. And to help humans celebrate, Alyson has created just ten (10) limited edition pasta bowls for 2009. These enormous, hand-painted, open form bowls are great for serving up large parties, and then can turn around and add that unique touch to holiday decorating as a display.
Alyson Whitney started a career as the in-house marketing and graphic design person for a Texas based bank, creating all marketing materials, annual reports, and new product development. Challenging as it was, this career did not satisfy her creative soul and Alyson changed course, after studying graphic design and ceramics in Italy before her banking career. Somewhere between the brilliant sunshine, the colors of the landscape, and the history of art, Alyson found inspiration and knew she wanted to get back to her real passion. So began her new life as an artist.
Now in her third year of business, Alyson employs three craftspeople to fabricate the ceramic shapes, paint the initial background, fire the ceramics and pack/ship. Each piece may go through as many as four (4) paintings to achieve the vibrant colors. In the final stage of painting, Alyson will do the custom details for each ceramic piece, and may customize the piece with the owner’s selections of colors and breed of animal.
Alyson’s work has been featured in TIME magazine, US WEEKLY and in the gift giving section of The Houston Chronicle daily newspaper.
Owner and artist Alyson Whitney turned a love of pets and art into a business that celebrates the end of a dear pet’s life with a custom designed pet urn. These beautiful, functional and highly distinctive urns, the “Happy at Home” collection, are sold on-line through her website www.chowtimeproductions.com. Her inspiration was receiving her cat Terror’s remains in an ordinary black ceramic urn. As Alyson described her cat, “Chow” was anything but dark and dull. He was full of life and a crazy cat.” A sense of “owing him” a final resting place that captured his essence led her to the happy discovery that she could indeed design and make a fitting memorial.
These distinctive urns are unlike anything on the market today. Alyson calls them her “happy urns”, meant to memorialize the cheerful times in a shared life with an adored pet. Many of her customers asked her to customize the urn with their pet’s favorite past times, toys and their favorite sayings. “Mocha Java”, the Burmese cat, has a final resting place that was customized to reflect her habit of curling up. Mocha Java’s favorite places (the top of the stairs and her red blanket under her owner’s desk) are painted on two sides of the urn. The urn for “Joker” the cat includes her owner’s sentiments, “I am sorry I could not save you. I love you”.
What to do if the unexpected happens during the holidays? A pet’s untimely death, expected or not, is a shock for the family, the owner, and the other pets in the household. Your local vet and chapter of the Humane Society can be two of the most critical resources for owners. Through these two resources, owners can find choices that will bring closure and support throughout the grieving process. Make sure to review the local laws about burial, and check with your vet about recommended procedures and reputable providers.