The story of the craftsman of Li Xiang-skillfully embroidered

A piece of cloth, a needle, a bunch of lines, a clever hand flies down, a blooming peony slowly jumps out. This is the work of Li Xiang, the inheritor of Manchu folk hand embroidery. The 47-year-old Li Xiangsheng was born in the Weichang Manchu Mongol Autonomous County. She studied hand embroidery with her mother and practiced her skills. Her embroidery always makes people shine.

LiXing in workshp

△Technical heritage

Home embroidery,

The Weichang Manchu Mongol Autonomous County is located in the northernmost part of Hebei Province. The Manchu people who lived here for generations have passed down a Manchu unique skill from time to time.

Li Xiang, born here, it was the most impressed in his childhood: His mother sat under the lamp and took the needle. The lights were shining, . then her mother took the needle to do the embroidery from time to time.

lost father in her childhood, Li is brought up by his mother. In a poor family life, the mother suffered a lot, not only to go out to work during the day, but also to fly the needle in the candlelight at night.

Li and her brother’s childhood memerory is full of mother’s one-on-one string, and Li Xiang is deeply fascinated by the embroidery, the embroidered patterns are so beautiful, they are better than the paintings; an old dress, embroidered with a little decoration, pattern, Can be reborn.Li, with full of curiosity about embroidery, wants to learn from her mother, but mother feels that the embroidery is hard and not willing to teach her,so most time, she secretly embroiders when her mother is not at home.

 Li at work

What if there is no raw material? Clever little Li  have a solution. she asked the relatives to hand over the shoes and quilts  and let her embroider various patterns on it.in return ,she will help them to take care of children and do some housework

“The most record is that I have taken 7 children at same time.” Recalling the “small cleverness” at that time, Li couldn’t help smiling. From that time on, she developed the habit of pinching the needle tip embroidery, and has not changed it until now.

At the age of 12, mother saw that Li Xiang was very talented and finally promised to guide her to learn the various needles of embroidery. Since then, she has been more fascinated with embroidery. She used to study Manchu folk hand embroidery all the time except school, which was the greatest fun of her childhood.

△ double-sided different color embroidery screen Persian cat

Her real serious business for whole life

Li Xiang had served as an elementary school art teacher and opened a housekeeping service company. However, no matter what career he wanted, Li Xiang never gave up embroidery. At the age of 26, Li  get marriaged. The quilts and pillowcases when they got married were naturally from the hands of Li Xiang.

After getting married, as long as there is time, Li Xiang will take out the needlework and embroider various patterns. “What kind of beautiful scenery, patterns or photos I usually see, the first reaction is how to embroider it, what kind of thread to use, what kind of needle method.”

Sometimes people around me would say that she was a little bit mad, and advised her not to delay the real serious things, but whenever she picks up the embroidery needle, she knows that she will never quit the craft, she will never quit. I have thought about it many times, making embroidery the most serious thing for me.”

In order to be able to concentrate on his creation, with the support of her husband, Li Xiang and her husband opened the embroidered workshop. Li Xiang, who came from the “precipitation” in life, not only strives for excellence, but also designs close to life. Once the works are launched, they are deeply loved by the market, and orders are constantly coming. “I really didn’t think that I could  turn embroidery into my main business,  and even bring the fellows together to get rid of poverty and get rich.” Li Xiang said.

It is pleasing to be able to do what I like with full heart and mind. Li wants to throw all the love of the  embroidery into the embroidered workshop. In the Li Xiang studio of Xiufang, in addition to a beautiful embroidered piece on the wall, all it is the necessities of embroidery: various scissors , one bag of different lengths Sewing needles or embroidery needles, a variety of colorful silk threads, an embroidered fabric, and various sizes of flower sheds (embroidery frames)… The cleanliness of the interior is in stark contrast to the outdoor cymbals.

The small studio became the longest place for Li Xiang to stay. Here, she printed the carefully selected patterns on the cloth and tightened them on the flower shed (embroidery frame) that had been polished for years. When she embroidered, she forgot the time. Sometimes the husband came to pick up her even know that the deep night. More often, she concentrates on a pattern for long time .

There is no doubt that embroidery is a very delicate job, and the two key factors affecting the work in embroidery are the needle and the thread. For these two points, Li Xiang is even more obsessed with research. “Lines should consider color and gloss, otherwise it is easy to fade with time; also consider the fastness, a silk thread, often divided into 4 to 6 thin lines and then embroidered, so it is also very test the embroidered eyesight. ”

Li wants to describe his regular day: 4 hours in the morning, embroidered into a small branch trunk, working 4 hours in the afternoon, and re-adjusting the color transition of the branches embroidered in the morning.

Gradually, her work has a qualitative leap: Xu Beihong’s “Eight Horses”, in her embroidery, is more three-dimensional and lifelike; she also used the four-wire technique of embroidery, which took 260 days. With the 1.76 million needles embroidered the golden Great Wall… Her work has won many awards.

Her work “Shou Shoutu”

Want to pass on the embroidery craftsmanship

Like many traditional handicrafts, embroidery is also facing the impact of machine embroidery. However, in Li Xiang’s view, hand embroidery has an irreplaceable development space for machine embroidery.

“Compared to machine embroidery, hand embroidery is soft and energetic.” She said that in the process of needle embroidery, it is inevitable to experience the emotional changes of the embroiderer, including the test of patience and strength, and repeatedly consider the choice and giving up. “In the past, many girls gave their embroidered wedding dresses, the vividness of the colors, and the emotional changes in her present.” She said, this part of emotions is hard done by machine embroidery.

In her opinion, such excellent traditional skills as Embroidery should let more people understand . In 2017, Li Xiangyuan went to Belgium to participate in the Flemish International Trade Fair. Not only did he sell the embroidered goods, but he was also invited to perform on the spot., Li Xiang took out the pin bag that he carried with him. At the meeting, a fan of tassels was on the line, and soon a fan was presented on the cloth, making the merchants on the scene amazed.

Today, Li Xiang, who has been “companioned with embroidery” for more than 40 years, has become more and more enthusiastic about the  embroidery. She is looking forward to more people who can fall in love with embroidery and learn to embroider the traditional handicrafts.

In her studio, embroidered lovers come constantly , no matter who asks for advice, she will be warmly received, and tirelessly explain it, not only in her studio, she also went out to Elementary schools and universities  work as part-time teachers to teach children.

“In the past, the inheritance of embroidery relied on the family, and it was passed down from generation to generation. Now, with the social rhythm getting faster and faster, embroidery is no longer willing to learn this traditional craft because of the cumbersome hand-embroidered embroidery.” Li Xiang said that she hopes that through her efforts, through courses, the children will experience the charm of embroidery and enjoy the fembroidery.

Li Xiang also said that the completion time of each piece of embroidery is related to the complexity of the embroidery and the size of the finished product, but whether it is a small handkerchief or a huge embroidered painting hanging on the wall, the embroidery is completed by one stitch. of. She is willing to dedicate her youth and wisdom in this line, and would like to let everyone who loves this craft learn from her, and pass on the precious skills left by ancestors.

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