Yao Jianping is a practitioner of Suzhou embroidery, a national intangible cultural heritage item. [Photo/jswyw.com]
The story of Yao Jianping, a practitioner of Suzhou embroidery, a national intangible cultural heritage item, recounting how she has helped women from the Dong minority group in Guangxi out of poverty through embroidery, was recently aired on TV, local media reported on April 26.
She first came into the minority women during a visit to Sanjiang county in Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region last year. She learned about the history and development of Dong embroidery, a regional intangible cultural heritage item.
During her visit, Yao observed that the women had a keen aesthetic sense and continue to use traditional one-handed embroidery techniques. But what fascinated Yao even more was that all local women, regardless of age, know how to embroider. Yao then had the idea of using these skills to achieve more tangible results.
However, it usually takes a long time to finish just one embroidery, which makes it difficult to earn a stable income from the art form.
"After starching, the embroidered fabric becomes thicker and harder, making it harder for the embroidery needle to penetrate the fabric. That's why Dong embroidery takes such a long time," Yao said.
She thus came up with the idea of using more needling machines to increase output. The first 50 machines were transported to Sanjiang as soon as Yao returned to Suzhou.
"We are honored to work with professionals like Yao, as they have helped bring our traditional skills into the modern era," said Tang Licun, deputy head of the county's literary federation.
Yao and her team have helped cultivate nearly 50,000 embroiders in Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. They have focused on teaching the younger generation in order to widen the appeal of Dong embroidery.