Chen Daiyu’s Goldwork Embroidery Chinese Style explores the history of the elaborate craft and illustrates how to produce objects in a similar style with modern materials.
Chinese goldwork embroidery includes padding, wherein a nonwoven fabric is sewn to the project and stitched over to add emphasis to particular areas—to add weight to a rock formation, for example, or depth to a crab’s body. Historically, crafters used gold and silk threads to accomplish this; this book incorporates more diverse materials, too.
Daiyu, who learned embroidery in England, combines traditional Chinese designs with a painterly approach. Her embroidery projects incorporate a variety of techniques, often in the same project. The introductory project, for example, teaches padding, couching, long and short stitches, and beading techniques. Step-by-step photographs lay out the processes involved in creating these small, beautiful works, revealing the huge amounts of time, patience, and practice required to master the art.
Examples of Daiyu’s work are included to illuminate the variety of objects that can be made using goldwork embroidery. Five projects are included in the book: one of a cattail leaf fan that illustrates basic techniques, and four others that are larger or more detailed. While it’s difficult to see all of the details in the finished object photographs, the process photographs zoom in on particular parts of the projects well. Printable templates for the four main projects allow crafters to copy the designs onto fabric, which is essential for replicating them.
Goldwork embroidery is laborious and hyper-focused on the details, as each stitch adds to the overall effect. Though the number of steps to complete a project is daunting, Goldwork Embroidery Chinese Style lays out the steps in such detail that it is both supportive and encouraging to adventurous crafters.
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