'favourite things' girl - cat temple
This 'favourite things' wood girl was inspired by Gotokuji, also known as the 'cat temple' in Setagaya ward, Tokyo. This Buddhist temple in a lovely quiet suburb of the city is said to be where the maneki-neko, or “luck-inviting cat figurine" originated.
The legend around it varies, but describes a passing domain lord being invited into the temple by a beckoning cat, escaping a sudden storm which in turn made him raise enough funds to dedicate the temple to his family in thanks to the cat.
The temple itself is very serene, and the cat figure offerings purchased there by visitors are confined to a small area around the side of one of the temple buildings. But in this small area there are thousands of the ceramic mould-made cats, in all sizes. Grouped together they look amazing - with the sunlight streaming through the many trees the shadows make them all look as though they are about to pounce. Maneki-neko can have different paws raised - the left paw is said to attract customers to your business or place of work and the right paw raised brings in money and good fortune - and Gotokuji's lucky cats are the right paw raised type.
Artist's notes on style, materials and inspiration:
My 'favourite things' wood girl series, new for 2021, will share the places and things I love, a repeated object or theme, or be inspired by a microseason. Turned from American Tulipwood, a sustainable and interestingly grained timber, the pieces are turned by a production wood turner in the UK to my designs, then painted by me, a British artist. They are approximately twice the size of my regular wood girls, and finished in a semi-matt acrylic protective top coat.
This girl is approximately 29cm in height. The cat is a ceramic Japanese figure that I have hand painted and added to the top of the dolls head.
My pieces are painted in a naïve and simple style, with visible brush strokes and differing paint consistencies. It is important to note that these dolls are made from real wood which will have naturally occurring markings and grain, and sometimes there will be small amount of bleeding along the grain, or knots, which is to be expected when using untreated wood - please make sure you consult the pictures carefully before purchasing.
My wood girls are made in the 'spirit of kokeshi', being originally inspired by the 'creative' kokeshi branch of the traditional Japanese folk craft of wooden limbless dolls which are turned on a lathe and hand painted. Dentō kokeshi are the traditional kokeshi, deeply rooted to their places of manufacture (often onsen towns) within Japan and made with very specific body shapes and pattern designs, often by generations of a same family. Dentō kokeshi can today be classified under eleven different types: Naruko, Tsuchiyu, Togatta, Yajiro, Sakunami, Yamagata, Kijiyama, Nanbu, Tsugaru, Zao-takayu, and Hijiori. By contrast, 'creative' or shingata kokeshi are not associated with any particular region or style and often made by artists unconnected to craft families, and apart from the fact that they are still turned on a lathe, their styles and decoration are pretty much limitless.
PLEASE NOTE: Wood girls should be kept away from water which can damage the wood and painted surface, and also away from direct heat/ sunlight which also can affect the surface colour and the timber itself.