Old-school practice has manga lovers in stitches
Some art forms were just born to be together -- music and film, for instance. Others, well, can be a bit of a stretch.
For instance, there's the old-fashioned, labor-intensive utilitarian art of cross-stitching and then there's the garish, sensory-overloading Japanese style of animation known as manga. Not exactly a match made in heaven.
Yet, British author and manga afficionado Helen McCarthy has done just that with her new book "Manga Cross-Stitch" (Andrews McMeel Publishing, $19.99). She thinks there's more overlap between the two things than one would otherwise expect.
"From speaking to groups of young artists in schools and libraries, I knew lots of them were into making their own characters in manga style, but I met very few who were using stitching," McCarthy says.
"Needlecraft isn't taught in many British schools now, and most of them had just never encountered it as a way of making images. So I thought it would be fun to make a book that showed how the two art forms could come together - pixels into stitches, manga and anime into counted thread embroidery."
The book comes with a CD of more than a hundred manga designs to print out and stitch, and software that lets you create your own manga-styled cross-stitch designs.
"Crafters make up some of the fastest-growing and liveliest online communities," McCarthy says. "There's so much creativity out there in every form of craft. Most people still think of counted thread work and cross stitch as very old-fashioned, but then you look at some of the amazing work that's being profiled on etsy or on sites like Mr. X Stitch, and find that it's a very flexible way of working.
"And manga is based in the traditions of Japanese graphic art, which go back centuries."
McCarthy's creations definitely lean more toward the cute animal character "Pokemon" side of manga than the more adult side, making the majority of these projects fairly kid-friendly. There are chapters on the historical and artistic traditions that inform and explain the very distinctive, strangely consistent manga style, which is helpful if you just don't get it -- but your kids do.
"I often talk to parents who are worried that their child's interest in manga and anime will lead them into some weird geeky world where everyone is socially inept," McCarthy says. "Whereas, the fan community is very creative and attracts highly intelligent kids.
"In the same way, people assume that cross stitch is about old ladies stitching cute flowers and animals, yet I know of stitchers ranging from retired military men and tough guys in prison to trendy types who go to clubs so hip most people never even get to hear of them.
"If this book goes even a little way to help the process of dismantling stereotypes and saying it's OK to be who you are and do what you love, I'll be very happy."Additional Information:
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Chinese hackers crack database of federal workers, contractors
- Route 28 accident victim suffered ‘moderate’ injury; expressway reopens after 5.5 hours
- Divorcing? 5 things to do online now
- Spadafora’s next opponent has faced his share of top boxers
- The VA’s culture of retaliation
- Volquez goes distance as Pirates roll to victory over Cardinals
- The IRS scandal: Is a shocking new email the smoking cannon?
- Boyfriend of Thomas Jefferson grad charged in her killing in Washington
- Roundup: Unemployment aid applications fall to 304,000; wholesale inventories rise; more
- Microsoft CEO shares plan for turnaround
- LaBar: Kurt Angle preparing for WWE return