Split Thread Embroidery

Split Thread Embroidery

Among one of the most intricate subtypes of Miao embroidery, the Split Thread Embroidery has been coined “microscopic art” and is highly recognizable with its vivid colours and silky, almost iridescent sheen.

While the stitching technique is similar to that of flat embroidery, the silk thread is first split into even finer strands (into 4, 8, or even 16) and combining that with the coating of honeylocust glue, the artisans are able to create these masterpieces of exquisite detail and smooth finish. However, as you can imagine, it is extremely time-consuming and labor-intensive; as such, these garments are mostly reserved for special occasions, such as weddings or festivals.

In Danzhai Wanda Village (Guizhou, China), we had the good fortune of meeting Zhuying Long (龙祝英), a female embroiderer, collector, and business woman. After spending 10 years in Shanghai, she decided to return to her hometown to share her love for Miao embroidery - she now runs a beautiful shop in the village selling authentic Miao handicrafts, as well as hosting embroidery workshops for tourists to provide a full immersion experience. On low traffic days, you can catch her sitting by the door, heads down creating embroidery pieces which will eventually be made into a traditional garment for her daughter!

After spending a week in the village, we not only conducted a full interview and recording of her process, we had tried out the technique for ourselves while basking in the sun, listening to Miao songs, or listening to the many stories she has to share about her life and her people!

Check out our video on Split Thread Embroidery to learn more and you may just walk away wanting to collect a piece for your special day as well!

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