Netsuke (pronounced 'nets-keh') are beautiful carved toggles that originate in 17th century Japan. There are several types of Netsuke. These are 'katabori'. Each is a fully functional toggle as well as a delicately sculpted miniature work of art. My preferred material for making Netsuke is wood as it is warm and natural. Combine that with the rounded shape and they are perfect for cradling in your hands. All my Netsuke are hand made and designed by me. They look through ancient eyes made from bog-oak dug up from our local fens.
I make only 6 individuals of each design in any one type of wood. They are serial numbered using Braille. Six is both the first perfect number, a Chinese lucky number, and in numerology signifies the peace lover so it seemed the ideal number for these cute wee beasties.
If you are interested in buying one of these please email or Facebook me to say which design you like. I'll send you photos of the ones in that design that are still available so that you can choose the perfect one for you. Every Netsuke is unique.
If you want to learn more about Netsuke why not visit the International Netsuke Society.
Bats are a common subject for Netsuke. They are usually modeled on Fruit Bats but for Pip I have used the Common Pipistrelle which we often see here over the garden. These tiny but fascinating creatures are only about 4cm long and weigh just 5 grammes but they can eat over 3000 insects in a single night.
Rob is modeled after a Harbour Seal, the common seal found around Britain and northern European coasts. Before I moved to England I worked at Ecomare in Holland. Each summer and autumn we would have some young Harbour Seals in our care that had either been orphaned or separated from their mothers before they were able to properly look after themselves. I love their streamlined bodies and dark gleaming eyes.
Here in Cambridgeshire, we have seen these seals as far up the Great Ouse as St Ives, and they are common on the tidal stretch around Earith.