Young Artist Injects Renewed Vigor into Guangdong Embroidery by Innovating, Advancing the Technique for a New Era

 November 16, 2021

28-year-old Liang Xiaoman is a sixth-generation inheritor of traditional Guangdong Embroidery techniques from a family of artisans, having started to learn the craft from her mother when she was about 5 years old.

Young Artist Injects Renewed Vigor into Guangdong Embroidery by Innovating, Advancing the Technique for a New Era
Liang Xiaoman works on a piece of embroidery work featuring litchi fruits. [Chinanews.com/Sun Qiuxia]

 

Liang's family has been earning a living from making embroidery works since the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). The Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), together with the Qing Dynasty, witnessed the peak of Guangdong Embroidery's development, during which craftworks were exported to European countries and the U.S., the items becoming fashionable accessories in these regions.

With a history of more than 1,000 years, Guangdong Embroidery is known for its elaborate designs, lifelike patterns, rich and bright colors. There are more than 30 stitching techniques involved in Guangdong Embroidery, with the artworks often featuring patterns of flowers, birds, insects and fish. It has been listed in the first batch of national intangible cultural heritage.

Young Artist Injects Renewed Vigor into Guangdong Embroidery by Innovating, Advancing the Technique for a New Era
Photo shows ornaments embroidered by Liang Xiaoman. [Photo courtesy of Liang Xiaoman]

 

While carrying forward traditional techniques, Liang also created works featuring cartoons and animations, in a bid to inject dynamism into Guangdong Embroidery so that it keeps up with the times.

Embroidery used to provide an important source of income for every household in Liang's village, a birthplace for Guangdong Embroidery. "When I was about 10 years old, almost all people quit their job due to a lack of export channels and sluggish domestic demand. But since I really loved embroidery, I think I could try harder to explore its charm and revive it," said Liang.

Liang created an artwork on her own featuring a cartoon character and it was quite different from what she learned before in terms of themes and skills. It took her three years to finish the work by combining modern designs and painting the item with traditional techniques.

Young Artist Injects Renewed Vigor into Guangdong Embroidery by Innovating, Advancing the Technique for a New Era
Photo shows ornaments embroidered by Liang Xiaoman. [Photo courtesy of Liang Xiaoman]

 

"I realized that there were infinite possibilities for Guangdong Embroidery, and I could create works based on themes that I'm interested in, on the premise that I'm able to display the cultural connotations of the artworks," Liang explained. To further tap into the potential of Guangdong Embroidery, Liang chose environmental art design as her college major.

To attract more attention from the younger generation to appreciate Guangdong Embroidery, Liang designed and embroidered a series of ornaments for young consumers, including earrings, necklaces, and hair ornaments. She also created embroidery artworks on Hanfu clothes to make the craft more accessible for young Hanfu lovers.

Liang has also popularized Guangdong Embroidery at schools. "We hope the students can not only know about Guangdong Embroidery, but also become interested in learning about the craft," said Liang.

Young Artist Injects Renewed Vigor into Guangdong Embroidery by Innovating, Advancing the Technique for a New Era
Photo shows an ornament embroidered by Liang Xiaoman. [Photo courtesy of Liang Xiaoman]

 

Young Artist Injects Renewed Vigor into Guangdong Embroidery by Innovating, Advancing the Technique for a New Era
Photo shows an embroidery work featuring a cartoon character by Liang Xiaoman. [Photo courtesy of Liang Xiaoman]

 

Young Artist Injects Renewed Vigor into Guangdong Embroidery by Innovating, Advancing the Technique for a New Era
Liang Xiaoman teaches students to embroider a piece of artwork at a school in Guangzhou. [Chinanews.com/Sun Qiuxia]

 

Young Artist Injects Renewed Vigor into Guangdong Embroidery by Innovating, Advancing the Technique for a New Era
Photo shows a folding screen with landscape patterns embroidered on it by Liang Xiaoman.  [Photo courtesy of Liang Xiaoman]

 

Young Artist Injects Renewed Vigor into Guangdong Embroidery by Innovating, Advancing the Technique for a New Era
Liang Xiaoman teaches embroidery techniques to students at a school in Guangzhou. [Chinanews.com/Sun Qiuxia]

 

Young Artist Injects Renewed Vigor into Guangdong Embroidery by Innovating, Advancing the Technique for a New Era
Photo shows a piece of Guangzhou Embroidery artwork repaired by Liang Xiaoman. [Chinanews.com/Sun Qiuxia]

 

(Source: People's Daily Online)

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