A Japanese artist bends over another of her ultra-realistic 3-D cat portraits. Her faux felines are so lifelike that people have chosen to become pet owners because of them. The crafter hopes her art will inspire even more folks to save a cat.
In Japan, an artist called simply “Sachi” carefully paints black marks onto tiny glass semi-circles. She fits the orbs over water-colored circles to make cat eyes. Later, she plucks felted wool—like wads of fine cotton—from jars lining her studio shelves. She presses the tufts onto felted heads using tiny tools.
The process is painstaking. “I have dozens of types [of felted wool] just for white,” the cat enthusiast with three felines of her own says. “I would carefully select the material from them so that it will look like the real cat.”
Sachi calls her creations Wakuneco, translated “frame cat.” They are just that: cats in frames. To make each portrait authentic, she keeps about 200 different types and colors of felted wool. Sachi uses at least a dozen varieties for each Wakuneco head to achieve an appearance and texture nearly identical to real cat fur. She even places actual cat’s whiskers into the form.
Sachi started making cat portraits as a hobby in 2015. But after posting her work on social media, her pastime became a job. Custom orders came from around the world. She now has close to 600,000 followers on her Instagram and YouTube accounts combined.
The crafting process begins with dozens of photos of a single real-life cat. Sachi checks the size of each facial part and the color of the fur. Then she prepares her materials. It takes her at least 10 days to create the foundation of the portrait, including the ears, before she starts mounting more felt.
A single cat portrait emerges complete after an average of 10 hours each day for a month—about 300 hours.
Sachi says her artwork has encouraged people to rescue cats. After posting images of a tortoiseshell cat on Instagram, people began messaging her about finding similar cats.
“It was a big event for me that the [tortoiseshell cat] I made reached someone’s heart,” Sachi says.
Inspired, Sachi plans to hold an exhibit to showcase various cats, including ones with physical handicaps. She hopes to encourage more people to make permanent homes for the creatures. “It’s still a vague idea,” Sachi says of the shelter cat exhibition notion, but she hopes ultimately, “more people will take them in."
Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast. — Proverbs 12:10
Why? God the Creator loves and keeps careful watch over each member of His creation. Using the gifts He crafts in us to show kindness to animals and people alike reflects God’s mercy and compassion for life.