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Nantong craftswoman committed to embroidery art

en.nantong.gov.cn Updated: 2020-04-21


Feng Li produces an embroidery work at her studio in Nantong. [Photo/ntfabu.com]

Feng Li is a master of Nantong emulational embroidery and a senior consultant at the Shen Shou Art Gallery, which commemorates embroidery master Shen Shou (1874-1921) and is dedicated to developing traditional embroidery techniques.

The 60-year-old has been engaged in the production and research of embroidery works featuring Shen's style for 41 years. She recalled that it was her neighbors who inspired her interest in embroidery.

"When I was young, I just imitated embroidery workers living in the neighborhood and created some patterns on my clothes," said Feng, who was soon being praised for her talent in the traditional art form.

At the age of 19, Feng gained a special admission to a local crafts art research institute for her outstanding embroidery works and took Wu Yu, Shen's student, as her teacher.

Thanks to her enthusiasm and hard work, she stood out from her classmates and started to perform her skills at government diplomatic activities.

However, the research institute declined in the late 1990s and Feng lost her job. Even so, her passion for the art form never waned.

"The institute was gone, but the embroidery technique had to survive," said Feng.

In 2002, she took the post as an art consultant at the Shen Shou Art Gallery and her works have been popular among domestic and foreign collectors.

Since 2011, she has also taken part in the production of national gifts sent by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to foreign government leaders. The works include portraits of the king and queen of Belgium, Russian President Vladimir Putin and  Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic.

Like many other traditional techniques, the embroidery featuring Shen’s style has few  inheritors, and that greatly concerns Feng.

Since 2016, she has cooperated with several art schools to cultivate students and has organized intensive training courses in Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing to teach basic theories and stitches.

Over the past few years, she has formed a systematic teaching mode. Feng believes that with her perseverance, more young people will learn the charm of Shen's embroidery and devote themselves to the development of this tradition art form.