You may have seen or heard about the trophy heads of wild animals, such as tigers, elephants, deer and the like that used to be embalmed and mounted on a shield as a display in the living rooms of colonial Britishers. These were real wild animals killed for their heads and much else.
However, what this Japanese artist Wakuneco does is nothing so reprehensible. She creates charming fuzzy cat portraits out of fuzzy fibres of wool and frames them. These hyper-realistic hand-felted cat faces look like the real thing, what with shining eyes, soft fur and serious cat faces. Of course, these cats are not as big as the real ones.
Wakuneco makes amazing three-dimensional felted felines by painstaking needlework to put layers of wool until the fibres firm up and turn into compact solid shapes. It involves interlocking wool fibres together with a barbed needle. She then puts realistic fur, lifelike glass eyes and real-looking whisker on the palm-sized faces of these cats.
This delicate work takes long in completing but the results are really stunning. Once this is done, Wakuneco shapes the face and ears by trimming them with sharp scissors to achieve a realistic look. On completion, the faces are put into beautiful frames.
Wakuneco takes the photographs of real cats as her reference that may range from striped tabbies to ginger toms. She is so meticulous in the work that she spends hours on her creations, trimming and adding until she gets them absolutely right. Since it is only cat faces she creates, it becomes necessary to put them inside wooden frames, much like the trophy heads.
The final impact is something really awesome and it looks like a real cat is sitting inside the frame! Wakuneco has gone commercial with her creations and sells them via Yahoo! Auctions. However, presently she is only catering to buyers in Japan.