Embroidery of Embroidery

Original: FEI Xinwo
Embroidery: Gu Wen-Xia Studio, Suzhou
Time: 1990s
Dimension: image: 30×166 cm; text: 30×62 cm
It takes months if not years of meticulous needlework to complete an embroidery piece. It is mostly done in team effort. The painter FEI Xinwo went to Suzhou to observe the lives of embroidery artisans for two years. In the end, he picturesquely depicted the work scenes of the 24 artisans at the Suzhou Embroidery Research Institute in the 1950s on a long scroll in plain drawing, capturing the various processes of embroidery from stretching, sketching, color choosing and thread splitting to embroidering, fine-tuning, peer-tutoring, detachment, and inspection.
In the 1990s, GU Wen-Xia, one of the figures in the painting and a Master of Chinese Arts and Crafts, produced this picture in embroidery. With the contours outlined via the Straight Stitch technique, the lines are embroidered smoothly in a swift, simplistic fashion. Thus, the motions and expressions of the figures are lively presented. At the end of embroidery scroll, there is an inscription by the descendent of Fei’s, altogether leaving a vivid picture of embroidery artisanship.