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Makoto Oozu

Makoto Oozu (1979) is a designer who specialises in cross-stitch embroidery, a technique that uses repeated x-shaped stitches to form an embroidered image. He uses colourful fabrics and yarns and creates designs that are reminiscent of the culture of the 1990s, the period in which he grew up, with digital and 8-bit video game images and synthpop. After graduating from university, he spent several years working in a shop that sold handicrafts before branching out on his own as a cross-stitch designer.

As a man he occupies a relatively unique position within the profession. When he first started producing designs in this traditional craft industry he was thought to be encroaching on female territory. But these days his work is enthusiastically received, not only by the world of handicrafts, but also within the broader culture and art scene. Similar to pop art, his creations are works of art in themselves. His designs look like little dolls. The fact that they are created by such a big man simply makes them all the more appealing as unique male creations. His work is fresh, cheerful, colourful and brimming with humour.

Makoto Oozu has published several handicraft manuals. He also produces work for magazines, frequently appears on television and organises embroidery courses throughout Japan. Game & Stitch! (Gakken Education Publishing) is one of his more recent books on cross stitch. His fashion accessories, marketed under the name The Mint House, are sold in boutiques and museum shops. Together with ceramics designer, Abe Kaoru Taro, he produced a series of porcelain items decorated with his cross-stitch designs, which are sold under the brand name of The Porcelains.
nijntje maakt een wandeling in een met de hand gemaakte wortelbloes
‘I chose Miffy’s favourite food, carrots, as the theme of my Miffy statue: nijntje maakt een wandeling in een met de hand gemaakte wortelbloes [Miffy goes for a walk in a handmade carrot-pattern blouse]. The blouse was made with rich embroidery on a vivid yellow fabric. Look! There’s a half-eaten carrot! Who’s been nibbling at it?’