Welcome to eMbroidery, a series of interviews with male embroiderers. This month, Makoto Oozu.
Main embroidery medium:
Noteworthy projects or pieces:
Wrist watch made by stitch, ‘Knit-Shock!!’, Bracelet made by stitch, ‘OLEX!!’ and Masterpiece of painting brooches
How did you come to be an embroiderer?
After graduating from college, I did not work as a company employee, worked at liquor store as a part-timer to carry liquors to bars or restaurants and so on. At that time, my friend who is a photographer gave me a book of embroidery which he used on his job. Somehow I tried to do it, because I wanted some hobbies. I found that was so fun, so I continued to do, then it became my job naturally.
What does it mean to you?
Hobby, and job. I work for clients on most of the work recently, but I always want to create something new by embroidering.
Where do you like to work?
I like to work in my empty studio after everyone went back with radio.
How do people respond to you as a male embroiderer?
I’m tall and big guy, so completely I can’t pretend to embroidering. Everyone usually surprised.
Who inspires you?
I haven’t think about it, but I like looking many kinds of books at book store.
How or where did you learn you learn how to stitch or sew?
I’ve learned embroidery by beginner’s book such as ‘Cross stitch A to Z.’ It was completely self-study, so it can be a kind of my inferiority complex, but also be my advantage which I can do anything.
How has your life shaped or influenced your work?
I’ve met many people through embroidering. I’ve been invited to embroidery/cross stitch workshop as a teacher all over Japan, and interviewed for TVs and newspapers. Now my staffs are increased, and export our products overseas. I can’t imagine what I would have been if I hadn’t embroidered.
What are or were some of the strongest currents from your influences you had to absorb before you understood your own work?
Japanese casual fashion between from the middle of 90s to 2000s, just when I was around 18 years old. I like Nike Air Jordan, Air Max, G-Shock, Ape, e.t.c… even now.
Do formal concerns, such as perspective and art history, interest you?
I may not have much interest in art history or background, but I got inspirations from going to museum and some works frequently.
Do you have any secrets in your work you will tell us?
I designed 3D embroidery when we wear red and blue 3D glasses, but actually it doesn’t work lol.
How do you hope history treats your work?
I’m considering to publish my work not only in Japan. I want to do enjoyable and funny things which lets someone who isn’t interested in embroidery to be interested in it.
Where can we find you and your work?
Everyone can see my works on my website; http://oozu.jp/ Also many of my works are available for worldwide shipping through Etsy; https://www.etsy.com/shop/THEMINTHOUSE
eMbroidery was created with the support and wisdom of the magnificent Bascom Hogue. Thanks to Nozomi Nishiyama for her translation skills!
If you are, or know of, a male embroiderer that we should interview as part of this series, contact us!