Title: Kitsune Tattoo Cross Stitch
Date Completed: September 2020
Design: Lord Libidan
Pop Culture: Japan
For the recent Xstitch Magazine issue, the theme was ink. To my, this initially seemed like a hard idea. When you think of cross stitch, ink isn’t really part of the picture. Threads are dyed, the fabric is dyed, and whilst there are inks in those cross stitch gridding pens, I couldn’t make a pattern about those. But there are a few things that I looked into, and ended up combining.
The first of these is my love of all things Japan. Due to the seclusion of Japan for hundreds of years, paint wasn’t something that resonated with the art scene. As a result, they worked almost solely in inks. The best known of these are ukiyo-e prints and shin hanga prints, of which I’ve stitched up a few times, like my Moon Light In Yasaka Pagoda Cross Stitch and Morning at Hot Spring Resort in Arayu Cross Stitch. But Japanese people are still heavily invested in paper and ink, and so often send modern kawaii prints to each other in the same way we send cards.
The second theme I combined it with, was a different definition of ink; tattoos. I’ve made a few cross stitch designs based on tattoos over the years, such as my Portal Tattoo Cross Stitch and my Pokemon Tattoo Cross Stitch, however both of these are in unrealistic tattoo designs, so I wanted to make something someone could actually get.
Luckily for me, the kawaii prints that people send each other are almost in a vintage tattoo-like style. So I designed one.
I chose to design one around the kitsune, a mythical fox that can shapeshift (which can both be a good thing and a bad thing depending on the situation). In Japan, a kitsune mask is worn during festivals for fun and is a common thing found in Shinto temples.
I also wrote a written piece for this issue and spoke about the cross stitch tattoo connection.