Last night, in Soseki restaurant, I opened a most extraordinary gift from Zheng Jieying, one of or two Chinese interns at Volans who left us recently to work in New Zealand. She had commissioned a silk embroidery based on my ‘counter-current’ motto, titled ‘Against the Tide’. The artist, based at the Su Embroidery Art Studio in Suzhou, China, was Wang Ling. Astounding.
Jieying explained some of the background in an email this morning:
The embroidered characters are “counter current”, in Chinese Zhuan calligraphic style. I did not ask the artist to translate it back to English; but apparently he did, and to a different version. [‘Against the Tide’]
Traditional Chinese embroidery has four styles; one happened to come from my home province Sichuan. However, I talked to a few artists and could not find what I really liked — until I saw the work of this one based in Suzhou city, close to Shanghai.
Su embroidery is usually more colourful, but this piece is a little different, although it still took 14 colours (I think, and with threads as thin as 1/16 of the normal) to create the shades around the fish flock.