Cai Meiying, a master embroiderer
2017-12-25 15:56:00

Cai Meiying (R)

Cai Meiying, a master embroiderer and inheritor of national intangible cultural heritage, was born in a small town by the Taihu Lake in Suzhou. She began to learn embroidery with her mother as early as six years old, and took it up as business when she was 15, or nearly 40 years ago.

Each piece of embroidery poses different challenges. She sometimes dreams learning embroidery in her sleep.

Color matching is critical for embroidery. Although some pieces are done by Cai herself and some by her students, she always selects and matches the colors herself.

To make the embroidery vivid and lifelike, the embroiderer has to observe the objects carefully. "If I have to embroider a tree, I would see what color is on top of the tree, in its shade and under it, how the leaves look under the sun, in the rain and in the wind. I need to take into consideration the color, the thickness of lines and the distance between two objects to make the embroidery lifelike."

In addition to embroidery, Cai Meiying also learns from painters, wood carvers and jade carvers. "Different crafts have common features and can complement each other and give me new inspirations."

According to Cai Meiying, cultural exchange is very helpful. "When I stay at home, I only see myself as someone good at the needles, but when I walk out of Suzhou and China and see others appreciating my works, I feel very proud. It's a craft that is worth passing on."

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