Maneki Neko - My Art Stuffs

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3-D Art (Figures, Dolls, Gourds) / 2-D Illustrations

Last Updated:  03/15/2009


Figures, Dolls, Gourds

They lift up their paws
to invite luck and fortune
into shop and home

The paper used to cover these little guys came from an amazing origami shop in Japantown, San Francisco called the Paper Tree.  Linda there helped me pick out a beautiful handmade yuzen washi paper that suits them purrfectly!  They are also larger than the usual Minis.

PRICE:  $20.00 US
made to order

March 3rd is the Hina Matsuri or Girl's Day Festival in Japan. Many homes with little girls display traditional dolls of an Emperor, Empress and their court. The simplest displays just consist of the royal couple, then with the addition of accessories or members of the court the sets can get very elaborate.  Though not technically Maneki Neko, hina dolls can supposedly bring fortune and protection for a family's daughters.

Both Minis are covered in yuzen washi paper and their accessories are polymer clay. 

PRICE:  $35.00 US for set
made to order

In Japan, gourds are linked with success and happiness.  They were used as vessels, and are often seen with Maneki Neko.  So when I found these little bottle gourds in a local bead and textile shop, I loaded up.  Only later did I decide to paint neko on them!  Their pillows and collars are made from chirimen, a common fabric in Japan for dolls, art, and kimono.

PRICE:  $20.00 - $35.00 US
made to order

The Maneki Neko Geisha:  Tamagin and Tamakin.  Each stands around 21 inches high and are hand-carved foam rubber covered in chirimen.  Their kimono and kanzashi (hair ornaments) were all handcrafted by me as well.  For their full stories and larger photos, please visit The Catnip and Pussywillow World.

The neko is carved from foam rubber, and then painted to resemble stone.  The coin is polymer clay covered in gold leaf. And I made his wee collar myself! (with the assistance of my Chinese knotting book...)

The treasure chests are filled with Chinese new year chocolates. The kitty and the chests were a present for the great folks at Rinkya, who have bent over backwards to help me add to my neko and puppet collections.


"Big Lucky"

This is my new mascot, Banko.  I have one mascot for my business already, but this little guy gets to represent the lucky cat end of my retail business.  This image was created as part of a local art postcard project.  And lucky for me he sold to a close friend!  The Kanji to his left reads "big good luck"  To his right are koban coins of assorted values.   The Kanji on his apron is 'fuku' and means 'luck'

"Cherry Blossom Maneki Neko (white) and Plum Blossom Maneki Neko (black)"

Created for 2006 Cincinnati Artworks Secrets project.  The white one was chosen as one of the top one hundred entries in the project and was published in a paperback collection of the works called Exposed.
*acrylic paint, various art cardstocks and washi papers, Swarovski crystals and real bells*
"Maneki Portabella"

I was telling my hubby about my buddy "foreverknight" and how her big Maneki Neko got broken by her kitties. He asked if she was going to make them dress up as one until she could replace it and this image came to mind. I don't know if Portabella was the one who broke it, but since I didn't want to spoil the surprise by asking...she had to take the blame.  Sadly, not long after this drawing was done, Portabella damaged her spine and moved on to kitty heaven...

"Maneki Tasi"

A little cartoon version of my Maine Coon, Tasi, for one of my websites.

"Tokyo Sushi Neko"

This image is a hand-painted cel with a printed photo background.  This was a gift for a local sushi restaurant.  They even printed it as part of their newspaper ad!

"Karakasa Maneki Nyokai"

Yokai are traditional Japanese monsters and spirits.  They can be silly, scary, dangerous, or harmless.  I decided to start doing a series of these traditional monsters - if they were cats.  I named the series "Nyokai" which is a play on 'nya,' the Japanese form of 'meow.'
The yokai here is the Karakasa, the umbrella monster.  A prevalent belief in the old Japanese culture was that neglected or discarded objects can take on a life of their own and will haunt their owners for not thanking them properly for the years of service they provided.  The Karakasa is described as an umbrella with one large eye, one leg where the handle should be, arms and a long tongue.

If you would like to know more about yokai I suggest the Obakemono Project and the US released film, "The Great Yokai War."

Visit the Western Artists page to see the sculpture of this my husband made for me!

Meet the Mahou Neko (magical kitty) team of Itsutsu Nya (essentially "five meow"). This is a story in the vein of Super Sentai (like Sailor Moon or Power Rangers) based on my favourite Japanese legend "Tama-chan the Beckoning Cat." So in my lil' tale, these five kittens go on a pilgrimage to Gotokuji and after much playing and excitement, fall asleep just after praying at Tama-chan's grave. Her spirit is moved by their visit and decides to bestow magical powers on them. She gives them each a different coloured bell that allows them to transform into kitten embodiments of Love, Luck, Wealth, Intelligence, and Health. Their fur changes into the colour of their bells.   The colours are based on the principles of Feng Shui (I have a set of Feng Shui kittens in my house in these five colours - and that inspired me too).
Love= Pink, Luck= Purple (wards off evil), Wealth= Yellow, Education/Intelligence= Green, Health= Blue

I am in the process of redesigning these characters and illustrating their adventures.

This was an invitation I designed for my birthday party one year.  On the actual cards, the coin was a separate piece that lifted up to reveal the date and time.
The Nekobasu (Catbus) from Tonari no Totoro (My Neighbour Totoro) as a lucky cat.  His sign reads "ooiri" meaning "full house."  Learn more about Nekobasu at the Bake Neko Bus Stop.

All artwork in this site is copyright to the respective creators.  Please drop a line if you are interested in using any for your own site. Thank you!