Updated March 21, 2023.
As needleartists, we are in pursuit of the beautiful. You and I may differ on what we see as beautiful, but we are in agreement that we won’t put all that time and effort into stitching something we find ugly.
I don’t know about you, but if I don’t like it, I just can’t bring myself to stitch it.
That’s why I’m always both surprised and delighted when I find beauty in places where I just wouldn’t expect it.
Take manhole covers. They are utilitarian. They tell us the city name. If we are REALLY lucky, they might be graphically interesting, as is the case with this one in Charleston, SC (I have an ornament of it.
That’s why I am so delighted with the decorative and colored manhole covers found all over Japan.
Taking simple, straightforward designs and outlining the colored areas with black lines, they take inspiration from the countryside, family crests, and the graphic language common to their culture and put it somewhere where you would least expect it.
I think about how lovely and thoughtful this is. About how my day would become bright if I happened upon one as I went down the street. I think it would make “a cloudy day sunny” and not just in my imagination.
I also think about how they make me think about adapting this idea to needlepoint.
The picture here is just one example of these. I found it on Pinterest. You can find many more by doing a search for Japanese Manhole Covers.
Where can you bring some beauty today?
About Janet M Perry
Janet Perry is the Internet's leading authority on needlepoint. She designs, teaches and writes, getting raves from her fans for her innovative techniques, extensive knowledge and generous teaching style. A leading writer of stitch guides, she blogs here and lives on an island in the northeast corner of the SF Bay with her family
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