Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Lucky Cats ! Maneki Neko.

As you may, or may not know,  I am a member of a Face Book group called The Arts and Crafts Emporium. This is a fantastically supportive collective of artists and designer/makers who,once a month, create work towards a common theme. This can be anything from Home & Garden to Fairy Tales and beyond. For this month's event the eclectic title is Coffee, Cakes and Kittens. I was a bit stumped until suddenly I had a light bulb moment. I looked over at the chest of drawers in my bedroom and a favourite collection caught my eye and imagination.
My lovely lucky cats, gathered from China town, charity shops and friends. I thought this would be perfect and as I drew and designed I decided I wanted to know more about the significance of the cute felines.
When we want to know something what do we do ?  We look to a well known search engine and it came up trumps with a blog all about the varieties of Maneki Neko or Lucky Cat.
The origin is primarily Japanese, but the cat has been adopted as a good luck figure in China especially for businesses. The meanings of the different colours have developed and changed over time, but to summarise; a white cat is for purity and happiness, gold for wealth and prosperity, green is for success in education, pink for romance, red to protect from illness, black to ward of evil and a three colour cat is traditionally for general good luck.
The raised paw invites money and good fortune and the cat's bib, collar and bell are for protection. Some cats carry a golden coin, or koban, this again relates to wealth.
I find the whole tradition fascinating ,  so my new cat design was born. The brooches are around 7cm, made in pure silk very appropriate for a Chinese cat don't you think ? They have lots of embroidered details and are finished with hand beading and a tiny golden bell.
 White for purity and happiness.
 Gold for prosperity and wealth.
Green for academic success.

The cats will go on sale on September 13th at the Face Book event and afterwards in my Etsy shop or by ordering directly.