Living Condition of Suzhou Embroidery Craftswomen and Artists

It is estimated that there are 80, 000 embroidery craftswomen and artists in Suzhou, a city famous for silk and silk embroidery, east China's Jiangsu Province. Most of them are from Zhenhu, a small town where almost every woman can do hand embroidery work. Women there learned how to embroider when they were little girls, 7 and 8 years old. Since almost every woman can embroider well, young girls have a very good environment to learn and can learn the embroidery skills quickly. They first watch their mothers or grandmothers embroider, and after some time their mothers or grandmothers would teach them how to embroider by showing step by step. They would try some very simple images at the beginning, for instance flowers that can be completed in one day. Though skills and techniques can be learned from mothers and grandmothers, young girls normally need to spend 2 to 3 years on embroidering average images before they can embroider animals and portraits well.  

 
Almost all the families in the silk embroidery town have at least one embroidery worker. Most embroidery workers were born in farming families and embroidering is one important part of their family income. Though embroidering is a very tiring job because of levels of concentration, workers are allowed to rest when requied. Aday's work brings in about 120 RMN and skilled workers can earn more. As the workers skill is being recognized world wide wage rates are increasing. Young girls are learning to embroider because they like it. Gone are the days when girls had to learn to embroider to heelp the family income. Mothers now have education and company training as a priority for their daughters. 
 
Few of the embroidery workers are well known in China, though there are many embroidery workers whose works are really masterpieces. They never sign their embroidery works and don't know who buy their works.


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