Shi Jiumei Hubei, China

Shi Jiumei, born into a family famous for its cross-stitch skills in Huangmei County, Hubei Province, started to learn the craft at the age of 7.. Five decades have passed, yet her passion for the art never wanes. Producing a cross-stitch work each year, so far, she has created over twenty cross-stitch varieties, around a hundred patterns, and has collected and protected cross-stitch varieties and patterns that were on the brink of extinction. In 2007, she was recognized by the Ministry of Culture as a representative artist for Huangmei cross-stitch craft included in the first National Intangible Cultural Heritage List. In 2013, the Ministry of Culture awarded her Chinese Intangible Cultural Heritage Inheritor Award – the Xinchuan Prize.

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Q

What's so fun about cross-stitching?

A

I’ve liked it since I was a kid. I become very happy as my skills get better and more works are sold.

Q

What is the key to learning the craft?

A

You need to know the whole picture which must be well structured. You start stitching from the center of a pattern, and decide where the needle should go in advance. There can be no mistakes; otherwise you will have to start over.

Q

What makes a cross-stitching artist? And how long does it take to master the craft?

A

It takes passion, ingenuity and patience. It only takes a year and half to learn the basics. However, more than 10 years of practice is necessary to be adept at the craft.

Q

What are your wishes?

A

I'm the fifth inheritor of Huangmei cross-stitch skills in my family. I'm passing it on to my daughters, sons and daughters-in-law in the hope that the craft will be practiced forever and that more young people will join us. I hope to see our products become popular on the market and bring us more incomes. I wish it a brighter future.

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