Sal the travelling cat

Sal Paradise getting around

As I wrote earlier, I have made over 100 amigurumis since 2006 and the first of them was Sal the travelling cat. What I have not yet told is how the idea of crocheting a cat came into my mind.

It all started already ten years ago (it’s about time to write it down, I guess) from the need to tell a story – or a bunch of small stories, actually.

A few months before starting with my own amigurumis I bumped into KURO, a black crocheted cat in Flickr. A Flickr user from Japan called Junku had created a large photoset of KURO posing for the camera in different places. The presence of a funny small toy turned an otherwise pointless and random photo into an interesting tiny story that feeds the viewer’s imagination: what is he doing there? Where is he going?

A black crocheted cat is crossing the road.
Here’s KURO, the forefather of Sal, crossing the road somewhere in Japan (photo by Junku in Flickr).

I thought it would be nice to do something similar. At the time I was also inspired about the “shoot from the hip” philosophy of Lomography (some of my photos about Sal have been taken with a Lomo LC-A) and I was excited to see if changing the perspective would add something to my photographic experiments. Looking at the world from the point of view of a small cute animal toy was a way to make taking photos of tourist attractions and other not-so-interesting places more fun – and the photos more fun to look at. I wanted to turn my travel photo album into a collection of small stories about a small cat in the big world, a bit like the travelling gnome prank in the film Amelié.

Sal got his name from Sal Paradise, the protagonist of Jack Kerouac’s legendary road tripping novel On the Road. When I started to design his looks I had an idea about a cat with a classic beatnik style, a beret and a scarf. I made Sal from some random yarns I had at home, that’s why he became a siamese cat with green accessories (I happened to have white, brown and green yarn).

For a few years Sal was my loyal travelling companion. We visited Barcelona, Copenhagen, Berlin and Madrid together. Here you can find some photos from our trips:

Sal at Potsdamer Platz, Berlin
Sal at Potsdamer Platz, Berlin, July 2006
Sal and the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen
Sal and the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen, April 2007
Sal in El Raval
Sal in El Raval, Barcelona, May 2007

Nowadays Sal is mostly retired from travelling. He spends his time in my bookshelf with my other amigurumi dolls.

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