Artist interview: Manami Oomae

The inside of Oomae Nunoten showing sashiko supplies from Yokota and other brands.

Drawing of Ms. Oomae in pencil on white paper.

Ms. Manami Oomae is the owner of おおまえ布店 Oomae Nunoten, a handicraft store in Miyazaki, Kyushu. She has recently opened a second store in the city of Hyūga and is well-connected with other sashiko stitchers in the region and beyond.

Her stores are pure treasure troves of enchanting handcrafted items, beautiful fabric and wonderful handicraft supplies.

Running into other fans at the store makes for heart-warming conversations and bucketloads of inspiration.

She agreed to let me share her sashiko story with you.

Various Japanese traditional items at Oomae Nunoten.

What got you into sashiko?

I really got into embroidery around 2016, when I started selling daruma sashiko cloth at my shop. While working on a couple of samples, I got hooked and sashiko became a consistent part of my life.

Now, my husband is also into sashiko and we share  our projects on YouTube under the name "さしこちゃん."

Do you use a thimble for sashiko?

Normally I do sashiko without a thimble, but I recently got one, so I'm planning on trying it out.

Who is your favorite sashiko artist?

I love AYUFISH. When I browsed through her book 刺し子デザイン帖 sashiko dezain-chō, I was so amazed by the patterns she had created with sashiko.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I get inspired by my costumers who sometimes show me their creations when they visit the store.

It is always interesting to see their different color combinations.

Do you have a sashiko book recommendation?

I love the book 「刺し子デザイン帖 SASHIKO Modern Style 31」 "sashiko dezain chō SASHIKO Modern Style 31" by Ayufish.

What is your go-to needle?

I use Yokota Co., Ltd. needles. I also liked the Tulip needle you gave me.

Sashiko and kogin goods on a shelf at Oomae Nunoten.

And your favorite thread is?

I use thread by Yokota Co., Ltd..

Different colored sashiko thread by daruma hanging on a wall at a store.

Which of your own sashiko creations are you most fond of?

It's difficult to decide. Maybe these?

Two sashiko creations featuring Jujihanazashi.

What about sashiko do you like?

I love that it is so easy to start. You just need some cloth, a needle, and a piece of string and you can start whenever you have a little time.

Anyone who can do a running stitch can enjoy sashiko, no matter if they are a schoolkid or an elder. That's one of the charms of sashiko.

What is sashiko to you?

Sashiko is something that I am looking forward to every day.

What should I stitch next? Which colors should I use? Just thinking about sashiko is fun! And the actual stitching process is quality time that I enjoy to the fullest!

A tote bag with sashiko stitching hanging in a store.

Tips for anyone getting into sashiko?

Don't start with a difficult pattern – you may end up never finishing it. Use a simple pattern and finish one sashiko project if you are a beginner.

Something you hold dear when doing sashiko?

It doesn't matter if you mess up sometimes. Don't stress out about the details and instead enjoy the process!

Anything you want to add?

Sashiko is easy to start, so if you've never tried it, you should give it a chance!

If you want to take a peak into Oomae Nunoten but you are 500 miles from Japan, you can check out her online store.
And be sure to sure to connect with her on instagram.

Entry door of Oomae Nunoten decorated with a cute paper mobile.