I can’t say enough nice things about my friend Andy Ozier, who brought years’ of improvisation and know-how to this project, and who gave hours of his own time to a monument to my cat, Nina La Gata (2004-2022.) Here are some process pics for the people. Andy’s art is beautiful… check it out.
This was the original sketch I made for Nina’s grave. Andy’s very generous and always gives me a lot of kudos for this design.
Fred made a frame for the base, which matches Stanley’s grave next to it. We poured concrete into the frame and then stuck some rebar into it.
We used an inverted tomato cage for Nina’s body.
We filled the hollow space with Great Stuff; in retrospect there was surely a more economical way, but Great Stuff is fun so who cares. We sanded it down to make a nice cat shape.
Paprecrete applied. At this point I think we sealed the base as well. Some of the cement work and curing depended on ideal temperatures, which Kansas City only very rarely has. The project took about a year, from May 2022-June 2023.
Nina and her flowers, c. 2017
Nice photo of Andy and Blue Jean.
We mapped out Nina’s dominant color scheme. It took a few months to source all the stained glass from three primary sources: Suzanne’s dad, Tom (“Hoagie”), Gene’s Glass in North KC, and of course, Scraps KC. Andy described this as a “winter project” though I would caution that using glass cutters inside the home still creates a lot of infinitesmal glass shards and I think fall/spring is preferable, so you could work outside. I cut down all the glass into tiny squares and then glued it according to the shapes I’d mapped out, allowing space for grout and flexibility, like a puzzle, on pieces of fiberglass mesh that could then be lifted and applied to the grave with mortar. Each piece looks like Manhattan to me. Andy helped, of course. Sometimes listening to music and cutting glass, I thought I might be the happiest I have ever been in my life.
Then we mixed mortar to apply the sections of glass. This was the first time Andy had tried this technique in the round, with a 3-D object, and we were both thrilled about how well it worked and how good it looked.
There were a few gaps to fill and we used an imperfect technique of mixing very small batches of mortar to apply individual pieces of glass. Some things I might do differently next time but it worked. Don’t forget cleaning the mortar with a toothbrush.
Then we applied the grout and wow, what a transformation. Nina would have loved this part; it was like a four handed massage. Later I would apply 2-3 coats of grout sealer, but I had already sent out invitations for a grave reveal on June 23th. Andy put in a lot of overtime that week. Thanks Andy.
It was a hit!!! Everyone loved Nina’s grave. It looks so nice.