My first time attempting to do Su embroidery!
Su embroidery is one of the many styles of Chinese embroidery. It originated in the city of Suzhou over 2,000 years ago.
Fine silk threads are the threads mostly used to create elegant Su embroidery. However, threads such as cotton, nylons, and gold are also used.
Traditionally, Su embroidery consisted mainly of nature scenes such as birds and flowers. However, over time, the themes evolved in order to suit the tastes of the different dynasties. For instance, in the period between the Tang and Qing dynasty, birds like ducks, peacocks, and mythical Phoenix were popular themes. Also, due to artistic influences from the West, many Su embroidery of “impressionist paintings and lifelike portraits were created.
Due to the many possible themes in Su embroidery, it was difficult for me to decide which theme to embroider. Finally, I decided to go with the floral theme. The particular flower that I chose for my embroidery is the peony. I chose to embroider a peony because it is a flower which has great importance in China. For centuries, The peony has been highly praised for its color, shape, and fragrance. Also, peonies are a popular theme in embroidery because they symbolize the richness of life.
-Medium size Wood hoop and a Regular needle.
-Due to the expensiveness of silk threads, I decided to use cotton threads for my embroidery. I wanted my peony to be purple because it is my favorite color. My embroider focuses on only 2 colors which is purple and green because I want it to look very simple, effortless, and classy. Therefore, I bought different shades of purple threads as well as shades of green for the stems and leaves. The tones of colors would show the delicate shapes of the flower.
I decided on a Crepe-back satin fabric to embroider on. I picked a light lavender fabric so that my purple peony can really stand out. I chose this fabric because it is very silky, soft, and elegant.
The stitches that I used were the Satin stitch for the petals, stems, and leaves. As for the seeds, I used French knot stitches for the seeds
It took me so long to embroider just one small flower. The stitchings did get annoying and tiring because I’m just doing the same stitches over and over again. However, the outcome makes the whole process all worth it. I am happy of the finished product because the embroidery is neat, uniform, and elegant. Though, I do feel that there are elements that I need to improve on, It is nonetheless a great example of Su embroidery. I am proud of myself. This whole process has made me admire Chinese embroidery even more than I did before. Also, I have great respect and admiration for those Chinese artists who actually do Embroidery for a living. It is a difficult job which takes time and patience. More importantly, it takes unbelievable skill that one cannot acquire in a short amount of time. Artists literally have spend their whole lives practicing this skill in order to perfect it.
Collaborative Project with Candi Corona and Jackie Lee
We derived our inspiration from the Mayan’s use of repetition. Like many ancient cultures, the Mayan believed in different cycles of life. Their use of repletion was seen not only in their living beliefs but also in their art. They used a lot of patterns that were constantly being repeated, over and over again to resemble a deeper idea. Thus, in our garment we utilized the process of braiding as a form of repetition. The spiraling of the braid itself around the body represents the Mayan calendar’s cycles and the astronomical influence. The purpose of our piece not covering the entire body is to symbolize the Mayan’s use of light and shadow. The Mayan resembled life and death through the use of light and shadow. The braid represents the shadow, for it is dark and mysterious. On the other hand, the body represents light as well as life. Our architectural design is not meant to be perceived as a garment, but rather as a piece of art.
Process and Tools
Blood, Power, and Soul
Our inspiration for our collection came straight from the meaning behind the Mayans’ life. This civilization was known for creating a fully developed written language, their art, wonderful architecture, and their astonishing mathematical and astronomical systems. As civilizations the Mayan were a very powerful culture of people, we represented their power through the use of the color black and the use of some strong and extravagant silhouettes, as well as the use of feathers and animal skins, which symbolize power. Blood was a very big aspect of the Mayan civilization, for they would often perform sacrifices like many of the pre-modern societies. The Mayan culture’s sacrifices included; the killing of animals and of human beings. Often these sacrifices were rituals devoted to their gods. We carried out the blood in our project with the color red, and gruesome imagery on our mood board. The last part of our concept was the idea of their soul, many ancient civilizations and cultures still today believe in the notion of the soul, the part of the human being that never dies. And this idea was not an exception in the Mayan civilization, for they believed in an after life, a rich and vivid life that was predicted to be lived in a greater place after the life on earth. We mimicked the use of their architecture’s lines, because it was through those lines that they truly gave life to the notion of an elevation towards a higher place, a heaven.