Handmade Artists & Their Cats - Miho Yamane

Kujira

Kujira

Miho is a New York City-based textile artist who also knits professionally. Her Etsy shop is on hiatus now, but she has sold some beautifully knitted accessories in the past

(1) Please introduce yourself and your cat.

Hello - my name is Miho Yamane, and I mainly design apparel fabric in New York. I currently work for a swimwear company, but until last year, I was a freelance designer and worked on a wide variety of designs. 

I also love to knit, and had an Etsy store - I would love to get involved in handmade again when I have the chance.

Dandelion necklace by Miho

Dandelion necklace by Miho

We adopted Kujira from the ASPCA this April. My husband and son also love cats, but ever since we lost our previous cat, Kuma, we'd been content with what contact we had with our friends' cats or the cats in the neighborhood. But as time went by, we could no longer bear life without a cat, and we visited the ASPCA together.

We had agreed to adopt a "round, whitish female cat", but we ended up getting a "slim, gray male cat". When our eyes met, some how I felt that he was the one. Because his back is gray and his tummy is white like a whale, my husband named him "Kujira", which means whale in Japanese.

He was 8 months old when we adopted him, but boy, was he mischievous! He would run around the house, scratch the carpet, knock things over from the top of furniture. He's gotten into trouble a countless number of times! But because my son is quiet and I've always wanted to complain about a rambunctious boy, my wish was granted. 

Kujira watching a cat on TV

Kujira watching a cat on TV

Kujira loves to watch a TV program called "Sekai Neko Aruki (cats of the world)", featuring the work of the renowned Japanese wildlife photographer, Mitsuaki Iwago. When it begins, he sits right in front of the TV, and when he sees a cat eating something, he would lick the screen, and when a cat disappears from the screen, he would look for him behind the TV. Now we enjoy this program so much more!

(2) Has your cat affected your art? If so, in what way?

I used to draw on paper with ink, so I always had to be careful that the cat didn't mess up my work, but these days, most things are done on the computer, so I worry less. 

Cats are in trend now, so I often use them as a motif in my prints. Sometimes I surreptitiously mix cats that look like Kujira in my designs. 

But the biggest influence Kujira has on my work is to help me relax when my work isn't going anywhere, by just being there.

(3) Are there cat-related items by other artists that you love?

I love all the cats that Matte Stephens paints! My current favorite is this laid-back giant cat. I think it was Hine, the last featured artist in this series, who introduced me to Matte's work.

I also love Lou Lou and Oscar's stylish cats. They bring back the excitement I felt as a little girl when I think about the outfits they could wear! 

On a side note, I've been a fan of oktak's purses. They last a long time, and I'm on my third purse from her shop now. I love the warmth of handmade and her designs, and since I started using them, my fortune has improved! Maybe it's because I use money more carefully? You should all try too!

 

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Thank you Miho!

Her portfolio can be found here, and her Flickr page is here