Jin Yuanshan Heilongjiang, China

An outstanding patchwork artist; she belongs to the Korean ethnicity. Currently, she is a chief expert in the China Fashion and Color Association, an expert consultant for the Beijing Institute of Clothing's Ethnic Costume Museum.

Jin Yuanshan has visited many ethnic areas to study their culture and handicrafts. She is dedicated to the research and production of the Korean ethnic patchwork, as well as the art of other ethnic groups. She has participated in numerous international quilt art exhibitions, and won prizes in International Quilts Competitions. Her works have been collected by art institutions and private collectors in South Korea, Japan, Australia, the United States, and other countries. In September 2012, UNESCO awarded her the "Outstanding Handmade Goods Certification"; the same year, she was elected as the World Studio Art Quilt Associates China representative. She is known as "the key person who can represent the artistic level of China's handmade quilts."

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Q

What kind of art do you think Patchwork is?

A

Patchwork is a kind of art that everyone can engage in and it’s an art of motherhood to me. When organizing things at home, Chinese people usually used the pieces of fabrics they found in their rooms as wrapping materials. When a child grew up and left home, especially when a daughter was getting married, the mother would use patchwork to make a jewelry case for her child. So patchwork means the love from a mother.

Q

How Inheritance Connects the Past and Future

A

Inheritance is more than just passing down traditional craftsmanship but rather a combination of tradition and innovation, which requires the involvement of modern design to create pieces that cater to the modern society. A supportive environment in our society and nation is necessary for young people to carry on the torch of traditional culture. How to intrigue their interest is at the core of passing down the art. Patchwork in China is still at the initial stage of imitating foreign styles and I hope the younger generation will be able to incorporate the local culture into the art.

Q

Patchwork and Philanthropy

A

To me, patchwork is also a social activity. Patchwork enthusiasts sometimes get together to do charity work. We sell our pieces to raise money and donate it to charitable organizations. In this way, participants become more and more kind-hearted. I have two requirements for my students: first, the candidate must have some experience with patchwork; second, the candidate must have a harmonious family. One of my students once complained to me about her problematic relationship with her mother-in-law during our first class. And her complaining went on into our second class. In our third class, I said, “Ms. Wang, you don’t have to come to our next class.” “Why?” she asked. “Because this is not a place for complaining. I want my class to be like a harmonious family. I’ll give you half a year to make things right.” And four months later, the student managed to mend fences and build a nice and warm relationship with her mother-in-law.

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