Maneki Neko Pinch Pot Teapot

I seen a picture online of a porcelain Maneki Neko (“beckoning cat” talisman) teapot, and thought about how I could make something similar, but as a slab or pinch pot piece.

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I started by sketching out a very rough version of the Maneki Neko, deciding that adding a Japanese-style conical hat would be handy for lifting the lid, otherwise the temptation would be to pick the lid up by the ears, which will be the most fragile part of the pot. I also decided the handle and spout should be on the opposite side in order for the cat to face out when serving tea. The face in the sketch looks a little like Shironeko or “Zen Cat” (this Internet cat) at the moment.

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Since I’m still not very experienced at the wheel yet, and since I really like the pinch pot method, I decided to make the Maneki Neko from two pinch pot balls. The picture above shows the two balls formed after about an hour.

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I just rested the balls on top of one another to get a feel for what the body and head would look like, and to see which way they sort of lined up best.

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With some help from Linda Guiho, the class instructor, the two edges of the balls were flattened out for connecting. I then scored the edges with a wire brush and brushed on slip to help “glue” the pieces together.

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Almost an hour later, the Maneki Neko has had a collar added (also doubling as a coil to reinforce the neck seam, and has had her hat with ears poking through added. The hat and ears are one unit, and they are just resting on her head for the picture. The ball in the foreground will put put to use on one of her accessories to be made in the next session. She looks a little reminiscent of Totoro at the moment.

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Here is a view of her from the back. (The purple “blob” in the picture is my covering up a corporate logo on the shirt I was wearing as a smock.) This view shows she leans a bit on the side where her tail (the teapot handle) will be; I will have to try balancing her out a little better when I come back to class next week.

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