Swing and a miss

  • by ShodoPan
  • posted Oct 12, 2009

This shirt... it's a great idea. I really want to like it. But there's a fatal flaw in the design that I'm a little astonished has not been brought up prior to this. When the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland disappears, only the grin remains. Not the whole face.

`All right,' said the Cat; and this time it vanished quite slowly, beginning with the end of the tail, and ending with the grin, which remained some time after the rest of it had gone.

Well! I've often seen a cat without a grin,' thought Alice;but a grin without a cat! It's the most curious thing I ever saw in my life!'

Someone less grumpy than me might argue that this is a minor detail and not all that important. I'd counter that it's indicative of a culture that values vapid pop culture references over artistic literacy.

Go read Alice in Wonderland. It's an amazing piece of work. And it's a shame that Lewis Carroll's brilliant wordcraft is being slowly buried under a tide of simplified, sanitized drivel fed to the ignorant TV-watching masses.

Watch this
tracerbullet profile pic Alumni

Go read Alice in Wonderland. It's an amazing piece of work.

I disagree. I actually really dislike that book. But I think this shirt design is great.


i actually prefer that the whole face stays

ps reminds me of totoro or w/e also cutee! :D


Well, that's being over-literal, and it's hardly a 'fatal flaw'. One can easily argue that a grin requires more of the facial expression than just the mouth.

For Carroll's book, it is enough that you know there is a persistent grin, and one pictures it well enough, because your brain makes all the right connections to catness etc on account of the explanation. But for a visual translation of the Cheshire Cat -- especially when there are three modes of viewing (normal, glow, and UV) that don't necessarily overlap -- it is arguably necessary to have the eyes included for there to be proper communication.

I think it's an awesome idea, and some of the best use of special inks around. I hadn't seen it in the voting stages, but it is a 5 from me. Well done Skylar. I wish I'd thought of it.


And yes, the pop-drivelising of everything good in the world is a shame, but a) this is not a great example of that; and b) Threadless almost by definition trades in much of that (albeit the cream of that crop).


I support Alice in Wonderland and since I'm rather in love with anything related, esp the Chesire Cat, I'm a bit disappointed with this shirt. The Chesire has now officially been done by threadless, and this in no way meets awesome standards.

celandinestern profile pic Alumni

I'll just delicately step in here and say I'd also kinda like it to be just the grin........... it's the way I've always imagined it from the book.


i'm with debzanne on this one :)
also a grin encompasses more than just the mouth, it's a matter of interpretation.
don't go getting all fundamentalist on us now.


Honestly I think this argument is a little reactionary. As debzanne said, Skylar is representing the cat mid-transition, not all the way gone. And the grin itself is still partly mid-transition anyway, since it too eventually disappears.

More importantly, Threadless is a site for DESIGN, not for literary accuracy. Since the design is so stylized, were the eyes, nose, and whiskers not present, you would have a somewhat ambiguous shape that is not obviously a cat, and so the connection wouldn't made at all until the wearer went out in the sun to reveal the rest of the cat. WITH the eyes, nose, and whiskers, it becomes obvious that they and the grin are parts of a disappearing cat: who else but the Cheshire Cat?

In addition, the mechanism of disappearance is the UV ink, which does not show up as strongly as regular ink. Were the face printed only in UV ink, they would likely be pale next to the grin, and therefore look strange and incohesive.


well, this is the most stupid argument I have seen in a long time.
Nowhere does the artist state that this is the Alice in Wonderland Cheshire Cat.


I see where your coming from.
but the gen pop probably wouldn't get it if it was just a big mouth on the shirt.

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