This week at the Embroiderers' Guild we interviewed a new tutor. Her speciality is Su Sew embroidery from China. She is in fact Chinese and served her apprenticeship there. Up to date she has mainly taught within the Chinese community, as her English isn't good, but now another woman, Helen, who also teaches in her studio, will translate for her. We plan to have her give her first class at the Guild later this year.
This screen is all stitched in silk. Some pieces have over 1,000 different shades of threads used in the design.
I am a keen follower of Chinese History and had done some reading about the embroidery of China. It is in fact a vast field and although the stitches used have different names, e.g. straight stitch is in fact our satin stitch, The techniques are very similar. What is different is the philosophy behind the work, that it has a spiritual aspect. I have found the same thinking in most forms of Asian embroidery. In the west there are embroideries done for the church but the actual stitching is seen as a task and not of a spiritual activity although I am sure that a lot of embroiderers who stitch for the church do approach their work as a sacred task.
The other technique I find interesting is how the work is painted or printed onto the fabric in the colours to be use. Today western painting are often used as the source of the design.
Then the threads, in this case silk, are stitched over the top of this to complete the 'thread painting'. For the beginner these stitches are not dense but spread out. It is all very similar to western thread painting used in embroidery and quilting. I look forward to doing this class.