Owl Know How – Meet Isobel and Cat!

by Jenny Butler
Monday 2nd April 2012

This week is a really exciting week on The Design Files- we are having our first ever Kids Week and we couldn’t have dreamed of more perfect Guest Bloggers than Isobel Knowles and Cat Rabbit! The talented duo have just released their first kids book, Owl Know How, published by Thames and Hudson and it is FANTASTIC! This week they will be sharing how this book came together with lots of behind the scenes details and even a tutorial to make your very own Owl Know How Owl! Thanks so much Cat and Isobel! -Jenny x

Owl Know How by Cat Rabbit & Isobel Knowles

Isobel playing trumpet for Architecture In Helsinki, and her short film I Fell Off My Bike playing at Fed Square

Isobel is an animator and musician. She decided on animation as a career in high school, studied it further at RMIT Media Arts and has been making short films, animated art installations and commissioned work professionally ever since. She also spent several years touring the world, playing trumpet for Architecture In Helsinki and as a result found herself making music videos for bands she met along the way. She works collaboratively with many different people. Her work with artist, Van Sowerwine has won several awards including a Special Distinction at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival and the 2010 Premier of QLD’s National New Media Art Award.

Cat and her solo exhibition, Secret Animal Realms (For You to See)

Cat Rabbit, the label, was born out of a compulsion to sew, an appreciation of anthropomorphism and animals, and unexpected colour combinations. Cat, the person, studied a Bachelor of Arts and Fine Arts, Honours and Masters at the University of Tasmania, at the same time as drawing and making plush characters for various stores in Tasmania and interstate, as well as exhibition work with other artists such as Ghostpatrol, Tom O’hern and Tara Badcock. In 2010 Cat moved from Hobart to Melbourne to concentrate on making plush full time. With a little help from an Australian Arts Council grant she set up a studio, bought a whole lot of felt and got to work.

The filming of Owl Know How film- watch it below!

Owl Know How happened when Isobel and Cat met through their mutual friend Andrea Innocent (who shares a studio with Cat and once lived with Isobel). They saw each other’s work and were enthralled.

Cat’s debut solo exhibition, Secret Animal Realms (For You to See), at No Vacancy Project Space presented itself as the perfect opportunity to work together. They met in Cat’s studio one day and Isobel had the amazing idea of Cat’s rabbits creating owls in a big cardboard factory. To Cat’s mind, this was the most excellent thing she could imagine and they set to work. They constructed the factory together, Cat supplied the characters and Isobel made the animation. They filmed it over a weekend with the help of coffee and cupcakes and before they knew it, they were exhibiting their first collaborative work.

Owl Know How the movie!

Isobel and Cat x

by Jenny Butler
Monday 2nd April 2012


  • Cathg1g2 5 years ago

    How divine!
    the movie was gorgeous!

  • lollipoppet 5 years ago

    Need…. want… and a HOOT it would be to have in my daughters collection!!!

  • Mary Anne P 5 years ago

    Gorgeous gorgeous creatures! Just read about you this weekend in The Age too! Very talented ladies!

  • Amanda Falson 5 years ago

    I’m always inspired by creative people who cross over and into various disciplines to make a living from art. It’s so necessary to be multi skilled as an artist. I’m completely in love with these gorgeous creatures and can’t wait to buy the book and a creature for myself!

  • Nat power 5 years ago

    Movie is fantastic.

  • Karen 5 years ago

    Owl baby…would love this book as would her parents…exciting to have new ideas to explore with her…owl know how.

  • Emma 5 years ago

    What lovely imagination these ladies have. Such gorgeous little bunnies and owls. I wanted to join their workshop and then discovered it’s for all those creative kids out there! Love that they have a pattern I their book – such fun!

  • Jen 5 years ago

    So very cute and tactile!

  • Mel 5 years ago

    that is just adorable!

  • Laura 5 years ago

    i love these little owls! so cute! x

  • Hailey Mc 5 years ago

    What beautiful characteristics all of these lovely creatures have! Love love love!

  • julie @ tractorgirl 5 years ago

    fabulous! so very cute, and I LOVE BOOKS ;)

  • Tina Foley 5 years ago

    Loving owls at the moment would make a lovely gift.

  • Kerri 5 years ago

    ohhhh, love it, love it, love it

  • Rebecca 5 years ago

    What a beautiful little animation!! LOVE it!!

  • Karena 5 years ago

    I just fell into craft heaven – those little owls are the cutest thing ever! Every little & big kid needs to see the Owl factory sooooo cute xxx

  • brette lockyer 5 years ago

    Hello Cat Rabbit and Isobel
    I was thrilled to discover your beautiful book, and consequently have bought a copy as an Easter present for my granddaughter – more sustaining than a chocolate egg!
    Did it take you long to develop your story for the book?

  • laura 5 years ago

    love your work doesn’t really explain how delicious your creativeness is! That short film is dreams and unicorns and rainbows rolled into one. My kids just watched it with me and are still trying to pick their jaws off the floor. They adored it. Thanks for the share Lucy. xx

  • Samm 5 years ago

    Everything about this post is exquisite! I can’t wait to read your book to my nephew, to teach him to sew with your owl pattern when he’s older and even to make a little animated film with his owl and other toys! Thank you for this wonderfulness!
    A very doting auntie Sammie!

  • Kylie 5 years ago

    In a day and age when even Thomas the tank engine is digitally animated, Owl Know How gets back to creative basics in the such a beautiful way. The next book for all my little friends birthdays/ christmas or nothing in particular :)

  • margie 5 years ago


  • Emma 5 years ago

    My son and I just watched it twice, we love it! It’s very clever, Leo my son loves making things, and especially likes machines and cogs and conveyor belts and bodies. Gold star to all!

  • Kate 5 years ago

    Yay, I love Cat Rabbit. I have one of your pieces on my book shelf :) Excited to get the book!

  • Em 5 years ago

    SO much talent! I have mind envy!

  • Brenda 5 years ago

    Oh my! Gorgeous!!

  • Corinne 5 years ago

    So lovely!

  • Alisha 5 years ago

    Absolutely love this!! Fantastic!

  • kate 5 years ago

    Gorgeous! My daughter would love this.

  • victoria 5 years ago

    Love the name, concept and lovely and tactile, quirky and fun, congrats!

  • Antonia 5 years ago

    So lovely! What clever Cat.

  • Luz 5 years ago


  • Meg 5 years ago

    original,beautiful,creative plushy work – what a great collaboration – look forward to reading more posts this week!

  • Amber La Bozzetta 5 years ago

    so cute!!!!

  • memtree 5 years ago

    how adborable!

  • Bec 5 years ago

    Oh my stars, this giveaway is so gorgeous! I’m gonna keep all my fingers and toes crossed, which might make things awkward, but it’s totally worth it.

  • Brydie 5 years ago

    Ahhh! I love Owl know How! I read about Knowles and Cat Rabbit in Frankie, and am so excited by this very clever collaboration. I’m going to watch the film now.

  • Sarah Ellis 5 years ago

    Ooh – wouldn’t this be a great book to take to work for the kiddies! Please can i win one, please!

  • di 5 years ago

    too funny!!! love making owls as baby shower gifts, myself! di

  • Robyn 5 years ago

    Amazing and adorable! I’ve just sent the movie to everyone I know who makes softies or has kids. Surely this is going to be the most popular children’s book of the year?

  • Sally 5 years ago

    Thanks for sharing your talent. Hoping to get to Fed Square for Exhibition.X

  • sarah 5 years ago

    oh my goooossshhh!!! Cat Rabbit animated! I’m so excited! I’m so in love!

  • Natalie 5 years ago

    I came across your Devine creativity at the markes in fed square. I love love love your quirky pieces. Keep up the great work!

  • E-Gene 5 years ago

    Coolest owls I’ve ever met.

  • Helen Frances 5 years ago

    Oh my goodness these gorgeous creatures have just perked up my monday! Being a stop motion fanatic myself your animation was truly inspiring especially all the lovely textures used. So lovely to come across such talented ladies!

  • k. 5 years ago

    these ladies are amazing – i can’t wait to get my hands on the book!

  • Rebecca 5 years ago

    What pure delight! Im sure every page of the book is too.

  • Penny 5 years ago

    Awesome! Can’t wait to read the book!

  • Jo 5 years ago

    It all looks fantastically innovative, creative and fun.

  • Bec 5 years ago

    Such gorgeous characters. The book looks just lovely. Well done ladies!

  • sara 5 years ago

    awww… delightful

  • Christina 5 years ago

    The perfect alternative to chocolate this Easter! My nephews are constantly putting in orders for home made toys – they are going to love this!

  • jaime 5 years ago

    Oh My God!!!! Truly inspired and genius creation…LOVE it!

  • bron 5 years ago

    what a lovely whimsical story!

  • Olivia 5 years ago

    such a fantastic concept, i absolutely love it! Amazing work.

  • marion 5 years ago

    is there anything that felt doesnt improve

  • Amber 5 years ago

    Gorgeous animation!! Book looks lovely too

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