Published: Feb. 26, 2020

by Karen Elting Brock (Engl'86), Linda Ligon, Jun Wang
(Thrumus Books, 2020; 160 pages)

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Every Thread a Story coverThe book introduces more than a dozen contemporary artists from four ethnic groups working in the techniques of their ancestors, including indigo dyers, embroiderers of varying techniques, weavers, a metalsmith, and a paper maker whose family has been making paper from mulberry trees for a thousand years. Meet Yang Wen Xiu living high on a mountain pass, working in the centuries-old Miao technique of laran (batik) to create stunning depictions of spiritual beliefs on cloth. Learn how embroidery artist Tai Lao Xing splits her silk thread ten times to embroider folklore symbols in meticulous detail onto her festival jackets, and how Dong artist Shi Hong Yan folds hundreds of pleats into her indigo-dyed skirt. Every Thread a Story concludes with a wide-ranging look to the future through the lens of a curator, a collector, and an educator, who ponder the effects of tourism and modern development on the craft and culture of southeast Guizhou Province.