Wang Lihua is a Chinese artist known for her Suzhou embroidery work. Born in Zhenhu, China in 1969, Wang began embroidering under the instruction of her mother, and over time, honed her expertise through extensive exploration and innovation. Initially specializing in portraiture, her subjects have developed to cover a wide breadth, ranging from oil paintings, to historical relics, to photographs.
Wang continues to focus on ever more challenging subjects; in particular, she favors photographs of bronze and jade wares. In order to execute these embroideries with life-like detail, Wang has made special visits to thread factories to find suitably colored threads which resemble the surface of bronze. She has also created a unique technique, “Bagong (八工)stitch”, which employs the shape of the Chinese characters, “八” and “工”, to embroider bronze and jade wares. This technique adds more contrast and depth to her work, and has spurred a shift in the focus of Suzhou embroidery in recent years. On multiple occasions, Wang’s works have won both state-level and provincial-level awards.
Suzhou embroidery, also called Su embroidery or Su Xiu(苏绣), hailing from Suzhou, China, is the most celebrated of the four main regional styles of Chinese silk art. With a history of more than 2,000 years, it is renowned for use of the finest threads, elegant colors, dense stitching, and smooth finish. Suzhou artists typically work with more than 40 stitching techniques and 1,000 different types of threads to make embroidery. Usually the threads are as fine as human hair, though embroiderers often split each silk strand into thinner threads to achieve the desired thickness.
Two well-regarded techniques ofSuzhou embroidery are the “running stitch”(平针绣)and the “random stitch”(乱针绣). The running stitch is a traditional method stressing uniformity, and the avoidance of overlapping threads. By contrast, the random stitch breaks that tradition– rather than neat, parallel stitches, it employs crossing lines to form figures. It also welcomes threads other than silk. The random stitch method is often used in silk embroideries that resemble oil paintings, bringing dramatic artistic expression, remarkably life like vibrancy, luster, and texture to the pieces.