Friday 29 November 2013

Meetings With Remarkable Men - Christopher Leung & The Art of Silk * Suzhou Embroidery

Born and raised in Northern California, Christopher Leung holds two degrees in Computer Science from UCLA and USC. He has worked to develop software for robotic space exploration missions at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and founded Project:Possibility, a non-profit organization that innovates free technology for persons with disabilities. Christopher moved to Shanghai, China in 2008 and established the University of Southern California's satellite office for managing the operations for its College of Engineering. In 2011, Christopher formally founded Art of Silk, the first company to offer the world's largest selection of affordable silk embroidery art.

It goes without saying that embroidery is one of the most skilful and labour intensive art there is. To see fine Chinese Suzhou needlework being practised is absolutely breath-taking. While the needleworker may resemble you and me, she belongs to a different world, where it is almost impossible to arrest for a single moment the speed and accuracy of her fingers - do watch the video clip below.
These pieces of hand-stitched art sell for thousands of dollars, way beyond the reach of many. But now some technological wizardry has been put together to translate gems of hand-crafted embroidery into a machine stitched version that can be enjoyed by a greater many. The technology can sketch each individual stitch and replicate it by machine. While one might shake one's head and sigh at machines taking over hand work, the original skills are not being lost and now there is more incentive to commission hand-made pieces when the burden of the sheer cost of the undertaking can be shared amongst a larger number of purchasers - in the same way we may own numbered prints of artistic drawings and other works. To see more of Christopher's work and The Art of Silk Website - click here.

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