Lu Liuqing, a native resident of Huangpu district in Guangzhou, is an inheritor of an intangible cultural heritage of Guangdong province and Guangzhou. [Photo/Yangcheng Evening News]
Lu Liuqing has been involved in Canton embroidery for 63 years. Products of all that experience, Lu's works are usually presented to foreign guests who visit Guangzhou. Her Canton embroidery works can also be bought at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport for transport to anywhere around the world. In addition, her works for the Shanghai World Expo were collected at the VIP hall of the pavilion.
Some handicrafts are only made by experience in a kind of pattern, but to Lu "every Canton embroidery work is innovative to me."
Lu took out her just finished embroidery work which she spent half a year completing. "Canton embroidery is innovative in every single part. In this work, I embroidered flowers, birds and threes. Most of the flowers have their outline embroidered with white edges; as was one of the birds on its wings. Compared with those two objects, the wings of other birds barely show white outline. The tree trunk and leafs also don't use this embroidery method," Lu explained.
"There are no identical flowers, birds and trees," she said, noting that every innovation comes from self-learning in the embroidery process.
In order to pass down the Canton embroidery technique, Lu and her students often go to the traditional arts and crafts center of Guangzhou to teach students interested in the folk art so they can pass on the techniques at Guangzhou's universities, middle schools and primary schools. The teachers must master basic techniques before they can teach students in schools.
"This short-term training class is a hard way to directly pass down Canton embroidery," Lu said.
She noted that the skills must be practiced for several years. Besides the training classes at Guangzhou traditional arts and crafts center, Lu and her students also give lessons in intangible cultural heritage activities at primary and secondary classrooms.
Although such training can't produce professional craftsmen, Lu thought that it can spread the basic techniques of Canton embroidery widely among young people. "Maybe we can find the future inheritors of Canton embroidery among these young people," Lu said. "I don't want Canton embroidery to fail to be handed down from past generations. I want to teach more people so that Canton embroidery flourishes." Lu said that as long as her health allows, she will continue to practice and teach Canton embroidery.