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"A Steel Rose": Unable to Walk but "Growing Flowers" through Embroidery

By Vivian YanICHONGQING|Oct 22,2020

The 2020 Chongqing International Culture & Tourism Industry Expo (CICTIE) started on October 15, attracting visitors’ streams. Many of them stopped at the Fengjie Exhibition Zone in N7 Exhibition Hall, where Shenglan Shi embroidered quietly.

Shenglan Shi has been innovating in recent years to make Kuizhou embroidery known by more people.

“I had an accident when I was 12-years-old. Doctors said I might not survive, but I did, only losing my ability to walk,” Shi said she could move around in a wheelchair after a long period of rehabilitation training.

“At that time, I could not go out, so I began to learn embroidery from my neighbors. I was enchanted to see flowers, birds, insects, and fishes come to life in my hands.” Then, Shi stepped on the journey of embroidery. In 2007, she came to Ciqikou Ancient Town and met her teacher Daqiong Shan.

Hard work pays off. Shi was awarded Chongqing Arts and Crafts Master, May 1st Labor Medal, National Self-resilience Model, and other honorary titles with her masterly skills.

Shi has been innovating in recent years, making Kuizhou embroidery known by more people. She hopes Kuizhou embroidery can really take it into people’s lives through its art and culture. According to Shi, different Kuizhou embroidery varieties mainly fall into two categories: single-sided and double-sided embroidery. The former includes interior hanging pictures about local cultures and landscapes. They have all kinds of sizes, and the views are vivid. The double-sided embroidery works are usually embedded with blessings. Workers will embroider patterns on each layer of silk, and the finished product will have the same pictures on two sides.

“I consider her as a ‘steel rose,’ who is tender outside but strong inside. Her exhibits are beautiful and can be called works of art. After learning her story, I think they are extraordinary,” Yun Hou. Hou lives in Chenjiaqiao of Shapingba District. She came for the exhibition and thought it was a rewarding trip because of the works of Shi Shenglan.

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