Winter is pretty rough in Japan. Houses and apartments have varying degrees of insulation, making unheated rooms unbearably cold. Moreover, anyone commuting to and from work is largely exposed to the snow and elements as they traverse the city. Depending upon the situation, indoor heating—more often a wall unit than central heating—often leaves a lot to be desired.

This is true despite the fact that the season is remarkably beautiful in the land of the rising sun. Frozen lakes provide fantastic photographic opportunities, while snow-covered hot spring towns begin to feel like some otherworldly winter getaway. Very inspiring.

Footprints in the snow

Yet, all things considered, I was under the impression that winter was essentially over. Sunny days no longer require a coat, and I find myself reaching for the space heater much less than usual. Needless to say, I was surprised to see a recent Twitter post by user Narumi Takada (@nrm_takada) of human and dog footprints in the snow.

Reproduced with permission from Narumi Takada (@nrm_takada)

Upon first glance, it's easy to assume that the internaut was posting a picture of some snowy scene, perhaps from the northern island of Hokkaido. However, zoom out a bit, and the viewer can see what's really going on:

Reproduced with permission from Narumi Takada (@nrm_takada)

Reproduced with permission from Narumi Takada (@nrm_takada)

The item is actually an embroidered piece, with painstaking attention to lifelike details, by the artist. Naturally, followers of the designer were impressed. They reacted to the post:

  • “Amazing...I want to put it in a frame and decorate my home with it.”
  • “It’s all made from thread. I enlarged the photo and finally realized it was not really snow.”
  • “It’s amazing that you can accomplish this via embroidery.”

Engaging embroideries

Embroidery seems to be growing in popularity in Japanese art. For instance, we also recently covered fantastic Franco-Japanese inspired embroideries floating around on Instagram.

That said, Narumi was generous to explain her artistic process to the many curious fans who reacted to her post:

"'How do make snow in an embroidery?' I was asked this many times. To make the snow, you need to use a tool called a punch needle. When you sew with it, the thread comes through the fabric as a hoop, and you just cut it. As you might expect, Smyrna stitches are too challenging. Lol. I don’t have a picture of me doing it, but here is one of an early prototype."

You can find more posts by Narumi takada, including flower designs of cross-stitchings, on her Twitter. Check it out.

By - Luke Mahoney.