第34回 ふてにゃんってなんでしょう？[English below]
Picture 1: If you only want to reflect, even a cat can do that (and you see, actually (s)he is only pretending to do that. Don't you hear it say "I know,I know"?)
Picture 2: A Cat made of oven bake clay
Picture 3: The Statue of Venus, imitating the one in the ancient times called "Jomon" period
Picture 4: My latest "Fute-nyan" (the latest version of "If you want to reflect..."of Picture 1 above!)
Message of the Week
Hi there, I'm Harumi Hoshika, a.k.a. Poppo Jiiji, the creator of Handmade Studio also named Poppo Jiiji.
Well, I am a dog person, but I love making cats with clay; I call them "Fute-nyan": "Fute" is a shortened form of the Japanese adjective "Futebuteshi-i" or "Futekusare-ta" (perfect tense of the verb "Futekusare-ru") and "-nyan" stands for Cats mimicking the sound of their meowing, of course. So, as you see, the name "Fute-nyan" roughly means bold, hubris and eccentric cats who always enjoy their own carefree life.
Some of you who know that I am a woodworker may wonder why I am making such things with clay. There is a very sad reason for that. Let me tell you this story today.
At our handmade events, numerous creators sell their handmade jewellery at very reasonable prices such as several hundred yen (about 5 US dollars) or so. Compared with their crafts, our woodworking products look rather expensive and actually they are expensive, so it's not unusual at all that I participate the event and come home with zero sales. It's indeed heart-breaking to close my booth by putting ALL of my unsold merchandise back into the box.
So I pondered the way to get out of such a very sad situation. Is there anything that I can offer to my customers at reasonable prices? Then I got an idea of creating cats with clay though I did not very much care for clay working so far. Why cats rather than dogs? Simply because I think cats show us many curious expressions that dogs do not have. That's how my eccentric "Fute-nyan" cats were born.
I started from googling the cat pictures and images and making statues of cats with stone powder clay. Soon I found it rather difficult to create solid figures of cats out of flat images.
Let us check the evolution of my "Fute-nyan" by following the pictures in chronological order!
Please have a look at Picture 1 above: this is one of my first "Fute-nyan" figures, which had still much to be developed.
Title: If you only want to reflect, even a cat can do that (and you see, actually (s)he is only pretending to do that. Don't you hear it say "I know,I know"?)
Then check Picture 2: Through a range of trials and errors, I started to use oven bake clay (i.e., polymer clay). After modelling the figures, you can just put it in the oven at home. It's a kind of simple pottery. I was trying to make my cat figures in a rather real way in those days.
In the process of doing this and that to develop my skills to create "Fute-nyan" figures, I tried making some other creatures like dogs, polar bears, birds, fish and so on...even Buddha statues. Picture 3 is the statue of Venus, imitating the one in the ancient times called "Jomon" period (not successful at all, I should say)
Recently I am using unglazed clay, which I find very easy to handle (and reasonable to purchase, too. Actually we can buy it at 100-yen shop). Picture 4 is my latest "Fute-nyan". The title is, again, "If you only want to reflect, even a cat can do that". Please compare Picture 4 with Picture 1. How do you think? Don't you think it's a lot better?
To my great pleasure, many customers pop in my booth in order to find their favorite "Fute-nyan" figures. I guess I have already made almost 200 statues of such bold, hubris and eccentric cats.
Along with my woodworks, "Fute-nyan" figures are the featured products at my booth now. Happy, happy, happy! -- Harumi Hoshika (12, October 2021)