|Leonardo Thank You Card from Calliope Rescue Store|
How did you decide you wanted to rescue cats and kittens?
I worked at the Ellen Gifford Cat Shelter in Brighton, MA for many years. I have seen the unthinkable come through those doors and I thought that being "in the trenches", so to speak, would be more rewarding for me.
|Wolfgang Bottle Baby|
I know you rescue, care for and find homes for a lot of bottle babies; can you tell us a bit about all the work involved?
Bottle babies are the toughest type of rescue. The reason for it is that "bottle feeders" are a rare commodity for any group. Most groups in Massachusetts do not have a bottle feeder on staff and must rely on networking to save those little lives. An orphaned kitten cannot survive without formula and care for many hours, so it is essential that the rescue group find a bottle feeder within a couple of hours.
|Junior Bottle Baby|
This is where I come in. :-) Bottle feeding orphaned animals requires lots of coffee! Depending on the age, the litter must be fed every two to four hours via a bottle with kitten formula. Also stimulating the litter with a wet cotton ball so they can go to the bathroom is part of this work since the mom would be doing this. Then come the baths: flea and ear mites infestation, de-wormers, eye infections, upper respiratory problems and the constant worry that they may not make it.
|Girl On Moon Cuff by Claudia Bruno|
You are a registered 501.3c charity and raise funds for the animals you rescue through the designs you create and products you sell. Please tell us how you became a jewelry designer?
I began my artistic career as a rock and roll photographer in the 90's. I taught alternative darkroom processes at the Institute for Contemporary Art in Boston and then pursued an artistic career using alternative photographic methods. One of my photographs belongs to the Paul Getty Conservation Institute!
Once digital photography wiped out all the wonderful films and paper, I found myself without a medium of creative expressions. Since I still have a darkroom in my house and I know my way around chemistry, I decided to patina metal components for Steampunk designers. Though I design pieces myself, my biggest satisfaction is to provide other designers with unique, artisanal components and to fuel their creativity. calliopesattic.etsy.com
|Sunflower Field Necklace by Claudia Bruno|
Please describe a typical day when you sit down to design.
These days, my designing happens mainly in the darkroom. I start with pounds of raw brass; I see them as canvas. Gargoyles, wings, hearts and medieval shields suddenly take on personalities through chemistry. I adore the alchemy involved, when something ordinary becomes extraordinary. The patterns and splashes of color turn the shiny brass look into something aged, almost as if it were coming from another world or era.
|Catnip Toy from Calliope Rescue Store|
It has to be happy when you place a cat or kitten in new home, but also very hard to say goodbye. Do you ever keep in touch with the family that adopts a kitten?
I do mostly intakes and my co-founder Brenda does the adoptions. The reason for it is that I am devastated for days after a kitten that I have nursed for months leaves me for the first time to go live in his/her forever home. I would rather deal with other agencies and rescue groups, foster homes and any medical issues at hand. I have conducted 870 adoptions in my career, and I usually cry at every single one. We get pictures and updates on a regular basis. YES!
|Venetian Lagoon Ruins Brooch by Claudia Bruno|
My husband, if he is lucky.
I have seen so many pictures of all the sweet kittens you care for, which one has touched your heart the most?
The ones that will forever be with me are 4 kittens I nursed, Sunny, Stormy, Natalya and Cupcake. I raised them from a week old and when it was time for them to spayed and neutered, they were diagnosed with a terminal feline disease and had to be humanely euthanized. I am still crying about it, I felt like four of my babies had died. I will be getting their portraits tattooed next year as a tribute to the four little lives that touched my heart and soul. The saddest part of animal rescue is to realize that you were the only home an animal has ever known.
Currently Claudia is in the process of trying to raise funds for Tao. Please read more about Tao and his story here:
Tao: Calliope Rescue
Where can we find your jewelry and information for your charity?
|Ca Dario Necklace By Claudia Bruno|
All photos courtesy of and copyright of Claudia Bruno.