Inuit shaman garment that inspired the outfit I made for Juju.
Due to a recent trip to the Natural History Museum in Manhattan, I was greatly intrigued by a particular panel in front of a wax display of a man healing a sick child with ashes of burned herbs. The description panel said something along the lines of: Shamans were often killed when it is discovered that they have no actual medicinal or magical powers. I thought this to be tragically hilarious and when I heard that the idea was going to be focused on an anti-hero concept, I thought it was a perfect match.
I created Juju, a village shaman that is pretending to have ancestral guidance and have god-like powers in order to feel special and cool. She often ends up in bad situations due to her enthusiasm to take on any request to demonstrate her non-existing powers, which of course leads to her being attacked by the village for being a fraud.
When I was a kid, I would tell obvious lies in order to try and impress random people. Like, “I have a pet tiger, he’s super friendly and sleeps in my bed.” or “I got my first car when I turned 10.”
Juju is a representation of that feeling. She embodies the want to be accepted yet she goes about lying and maybe hurting some people in the process because of her desire to be noticed. She wants to be a hero but really she’s just a dishonest and immature cat.
The head is made with Model Magic as the base but the details (brow, nose, and ears) were added later on with paper clay which dried significantly faster. The body was hand sewn and I found that stick outside. I took great inspiration for her head/body from my own cat Lahey and Lucy from Puppet Heap.