Nancy Fox, a skilled photographer, recently returned from her exploration of mainland China. High on her must-visit list was an embroidery factory in Suzhou, and her experience exceeded expectations. Upon arrival, she found dedicated artists diligently crafting these incredible silk thread paintings. To her delight, they graciously allowed Nancy to capture their artistry in action.

Indoors, the embroidery artists work under soft, indirect lighting, much like quilters, with their canvases stretched on frames. They draw inspiration from various sources, including photographs, printed illustrations, and even existing paintings, using them as references to create their masterpieces.

These remarkable embroidery pieces are hailed as great works of art, and many of them demand an extensive commitment, taking from a year to a year and a half to complete. They are often sold for thousands of dollars, and while smaller pieces are available at a more affordable price point, the larger, intricate works justify their higher cost, given the sheer dedication and time invested.

Custom Portrait Embroidery from Photo

Custom Portrait Embroidery from Photo

While witnessing these intricate creations, Nancy couldn't help but wonder about the time and effort put into producing such detailed landscapes. The fine silk threads and minuscule stitches suggest a highly time-consuming process.

Notably, some artists at the factory specialize in two-sided embroidery, featuring entirely different designs on each side of the fabric. For instance, one piece showcased a portrait of Princess Diana on one side and Prince Charles on the other, both remarkably true to life. What's even more astonishing is that these dual-sided masterpieces are created on a single piece of fabric, with both sides worked on simultaneously. The intricacies of this technique remain a closely guarded secret, leaving one to imagine the meticulous skill required to craft two distinct pictures in tandem.

Beyond the world of embroidery, Suzhou itself holds a special allure as a tourist destination. This historic city, often referred to as the "pearl of the Yangtze Delta," boasts a rich heritage and stunning natural beauty. With a population of around one and a half million, Suzhou has been a preferred retreat for affluent retired mandarins from the Ming and Qing dynasties, drawn to its picturesque landscapes and cultural charm.


by Su Embroidery Studio (SES), Suzhou China

SES is dedicated to Chinese Silk Embroidery Art and High-End Custom Embroidery 

Find SES's embroidery work at Chinese Silk Embroidery for Sale

silk embroidery 'snow leopard' hand embroidered