The soft library is an extraordinary new project by Melbourne-based textile artist Cat Rabbit. Bayside Gallery is transformed into a fantastical library run by bears, or ‘libearians’, many of whom are famous literary characters. Lovingly made by the artist in felt and fabric, the library houses books, portraits, animations and a special giant ‘storytime’ bear who invites visitors to sit and enjoy an audio story.
Cat Rabbit 'Soft library index' 2021 felt, fabric, thread, wire, paper. Courtesy the artist.
This whimsical exhibition highlights the positivity of imagination and play for all ages. The artist pays tribute to the library as a place of learning and wonder, a home for the endless possibilities of the imagination. Local primary school children have worked with the artist to create books that tell the stories of their makers presented in digital form.
The soft library is for all ages and celebrates those moments when we give ourselves the freedom to imagine alternative worlds.
These images appear larger in the gallery box
Cat Rabbit is a Melbourne-based textile artist and designer. She makes plush sculptural works of imagined characters and the worlds they might live in. Working predominantly in the medium of felt, her practice also extends to quilting, embroidery, illustration and design.
She has also made books for children and other fantastical artworks with collaborator artist Isobel Knowles under the name ‘Soft Stories’.
Her many projects include working with the National Gallery of Victoria, Lunch Lady Magazine and Frankie Magazine. Cat has held 19 solo and collaborative exhibitions since 2007, most recently at Craft Victoria, Boom Gallery and Outre Gallery, in Melbourne. Recent group exhibitions include Fantastic worlds, Counihan Gallery, Melbourne, Reimagine: the world according to children’s books, Geelong Gallery, Vic., and Slice of life, Craft Victoria, Melbourne. Her work is held in the collection of Loreto Mandeville Junior Library, Melbourne, and Melbourne Girls Grammar School.
We are going on a Bear Hunt!
To celebrate Cat Rabbit: The soft library, 13 famous literary bears can be spotted in windows of cafes and libraries throughout Bayside. Click on the link below to find out where to find the bears.
Make sure you visit Bayside Gallery to tell us about your bear hunt and enter our special Bear Hunt Competition for the chance to win a furry bear of your own!