How the Women in Suzhou Learn Silk Embroidery

suzhou silk art

It is said in every household in the embroidery town in Suzhou, there is an embroidery frame. Almost all the women in the embroidery town can do silk embroidery work. They learn the silk embroidery skills from their sisters, mothers and grandmothers. They start out by embroidering flowers on cloth shoes and pillowcases, and then graduate to easy embroidery patterns whose designs were copied from small paintings. The key was to spend a lot of time watching others do embroidery, to ask questions, to learn from others, and to continue to improve their own skills.

A fine piece of embroidery is essentially an embroidered painting, composed of silks of different colors used to make stitches. The luster of the silk, sometimes bright and sometimes dim, produces a sense of motion. For example, when embroidering the fat, thick petals of camellias and lotus flowers, the embroidery ladies use bold lines. The concave and convex shapes, and the front and back of the petals come to life thanks to the different silks and numbers of strands used.
The embroidery ladies have handed down their embroidery skills orally from generation to generation. They have understood and adapted to the changes of the stitches and silks and strands, and studied the color values in paintings.
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