Miniature Maneki Nekos in Clay

The 3D Printer has been useful in creating a customised impression-maker. One of my projects made with the impression is being fired to bisque presently and I will write about it soon.

The pottery wheel, on the other hand, is not my forte – yet, and so far I’ve managed to spend two sessions processing fresh clay into slurry and something resembling a bowl with a weak bottom.

I went back to hand sculpting for a while, as I had a component project in mind for the holidays, and the first step was to make clay half-spheres. I weighed out 50g portions of white clay as I went along and ended up with 6 half-spheres, and one 100g half-sphere. I also salvaged some red clay from the wheel and made an eighth half-sphere, which was formed with the assistance of a tennis ball.

Each half-sphere would have a small Maneki Neko strung through it like a bead. This is the most time-consuming step, as each Maneki Neko takes a good hour to complete, and requires to have a hole bored from head to the the bottom of the cushion it sits on. These maneki nekos are about 1.5 inches in height or less.

Maneki_Neko_01I finished the first one in class (Nov. 11) and put in the in the kiln room, and took a small ball of the scrap white clay with me to work on the rest over the course of the week. These kinds of things are good to work on if you’re watching a movie or TV at home.


Most of the second one was completed over 45 minutes during a lunch break at work. (Nov. 12)


The third Maneki Neko (left) was completed watching Craig Ferguson’s The Big Tease (1999) on Friday Night (Nov. 13).


Maneki Neko 4 (the bigger one on the far right) was completed while watching the biopic Georgia O’Keefe (2009, starring Joan Allen and Jeremy Irons) on Saturday (Nov. 14) and Maneki Neko 5 (on the far left) was completed on the Sunday (Nov. 15).

The clay ball stiffened up between Sunday night and Tuesday when I intended to make Maneki Neko 6.


The four finished Maneki Nekos went to the kiln room at class on Wednesday the 18th, and the 8 half-spheres were added after they had been drilled through.


Maneki Neko 6 was made during class with a small lump of fresh clay and was put aside to dry more before going to the kiln room. Only two more to go…


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