Patchwork artist finds international fame

Updated: 2014-04-25 10:49

By Zhou Huiying (China Daily)

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Patchwork artist finds international fame

Jin Yuanshan,68,has long been an expert in needlework, which she was taught by her mother and grandmother.

Since the 1990s, she has visited many ethnic groups, exploring and studying their traditional needlecraft.

She is especially interested in the study and design of Korean-style artistic patchwork.

Patchwork artist finds international fame

Sichuan in stitches

Patchwork artist finds international fame

Students learn weaving Li brocade in Haikou 

"Patchwork can be found in the national dress and everyday products in the majority of China's 56 ethnic groups," says Jin. "I get lots of inspiration for my work."

Jin has always insisted that she is Chinese, although her ancestors are well-known nobles of the Kim family in Gangneung City, South Korea.

Since 1997, Jin has been an honorary consultant for the municipal government of Gangneung City.

In the past, the governors of Gangneung City have invited her to acquire Korean citizenship, and promised to award her the title "Master of Patchwork", but she has refused.

"Every time I take part in important events overseas, I always wear a cheongsam because I want to tell everybody I am Chinese," says Jin. "But in China, I would like to choose traditional Korean-style clothes because I am Korean."

In most of Jin's works, she uses three backward stitches, which is not the usual kind of stitch used in patchwork.

"In the past, when I attended some patchwork expos, I found that some foreigners didn't believe Chinese could create excellent patchwork," says Jin. "So I chose a different stitching method: After three steps' backward, there is a stride forward. Chinese always say look before you leap. I think it's a very good expression of Chinese style."