Chinese embroidery artist uses needle and thread to recreate universe (5)

(People's Daily Online) 11:07, April 09, 2021
Chinese embroidery artist uses needle and thread to recreate universe
Photo shows Chen Yinghua's embroidery work of sunspots. (Photo/guancha.cn)

Chinese embroidery artist Chen Yinghua is an expert at capturing the beauty of astronomical spectacles, including the Horsehead Nebula, the Leonid meteor shower, Neptune, sunspot, and the Orion Nebula, using just a needle and silk threads.

Chen started to create universe-themed embroidery works in 2006, when Mei Bao, head of the Suzhou Observing Station under the Purple Mountain Observatory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, showed her some pictures of various galaxies and nebulas and asked her if she could embroider the images.

Impressed by what she saw, Chen decided to attempt to embroider these subjects, which have almost never appeared in conventional Chinese embroidery before. She started with Crab Nebula, but found it very difficult because of its vague shape. After seven months of trial and painstaking work, she completed the embroidery work, which involved using ten kinds of stitching.

Chen's dreamlike embroidery works were exhibited at the 28th General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union and became a hit. Several representatives from the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration showed interest in buying her work, but Chen turned them down.

"I have a very strong sentimental attachment to these works. I would prefer for them to be collected by Chinese science and technology museums and planetariums, rather than sell them abroad," she said in an interview in 2018.

Born in 1973 into a family with a long embroidery history in Suzhou, a city in east China's Jiangsu province well-known for delicate silk embroideries, Chen started to learn the exquisite art from her mother when she was 14.

Apart from the breathtaking universe collection, she has also produced many other fine embroidery works on new subjects including famous oil paintings, such as Van Gogh's masterpiece ‘Sunflowers'.

She has also helped reproduce and restore over 100 pieces of embroidery for the Palace Museum in Beijing since 2006.

As an inheritor of Suzhou embroidery, Chen has made great efforts to promote this fine art. In 2009, she became a volunteer teacher at a special education school in Suzhou to teach embroidery to students who were deaf or suffered hearing loss on a regular basis. In 2013, she launched a three-week embroidery training program in the China Cultural Center (CCC) in Mauritius.

"I want to spread the craftsmanship of embroidery to more people. As long as they want to learn, I will teach them," Chen said. 


(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)


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