Wearable Art: Inspiration in Thread

The Chung Young Yang Embroidery Museum

Inspiration in Thread
Emphasizing the richness and historical breadth of the CEM collection, the exhibition reveals the ways that contemporary artists and designers can look to the techniques, ideas, and objects of the past to create new expressions that speak to their own time, place, and aesthetic. This dynamic pairing of the old and the new presents CEM’s historic textiles as a living collection and a valuable educational and inspirational resource for the benefit of scholars, artists, designers, and the general public alike.
CEM's cross-cultural exhibitions that combines time and space
In this exhibition, the museum’s historical textiles were introduced along with artworks of contemporary fashion designers at home and abroad who were inspired by these historical textiles. In this collection it was clearly demonstrated that the engagement of fashion with time was very important. 

Artist recreated xiapi, a ceremonial vest for Qing noble women, by connecting tube-typed circular units.

Tube units of loose circles are pliable and can change their forms. Artist connected all these units to represent a modern xiapi.

Artist reinterpreted the beautiful antique Miao costume on tyvek. Tyvek is a new material made of polyethylene. It is durable, light, eco-friendly and easy to express natural and pliable texture.

To make the textile look old, and covered with the traces of time, artist used an unusual technique, as good as creating a new texture - she burned some holes on the material. On the front, she made decorations with silver and bronze threads to represent the beauty of old Miao costume. At the bottom, she hung tassels made of the same material.

Artist paid special attention to the straps of bojagi that covered wooden geese during the wedding ceremony.

Artist enlarged straps that were hanging around bojagi. She borrowed the form and patterns from bojagi straps, but used vinyl cotton cloth and acrylic threads, enlarged the size, and colored them. Now, an abstract piece was created.

Diamond-shaped motifs are connected by rings and stitches and expand to form a long and short-sleeved robe.

In the artwork of artist, the pattern of a pair of cranes was simplified and repeated throughout the whole piece like cell division.

Historical Textiles
What is interesting, the wave patterns at the bottom of yongpo as well as on rank badges are diverse. Some are expressed as diagonal lines or called standing wave (立水), and some are overlapping semi-circles that signify calm and silent wave or called lying wave (臥水). And there are also curled one at the ends of the other waves (浪水).
Modern Design
Artist used paper to reproduce wave patterns at the bottom of yongpo in vivid color and soft material. In her <flow> artist turned these ever-changing waves on a flat surface into dimensional waves that give different looks according to where they are viewed. 

Red U-chi-ka-ke was Japanese wedding dress and was embroidered with luckiness image meaning long life on the base of red. This work of Kimono shape by artist used muscles of human body as epidermis and applied it into tapestry.

Artist incorporated the patterns of yongpo (royal ceremonial robe) into modern design. The ends of the jumpsuit were decorated with modified images of Chinese characters, which are the same patterns we find at the bottom of yongpo. Artist used all embroidery techniques yongpo used, but rearranged the design by skipping some of them.

Embroidered coat for older women (百壽文袍) was made by embroidering the Chinese character longevity (壽) in different forms with gold thread using couching stitch on black satin. Artist used gold metal thread and glossy rayon or silk to represent the unique color on the coat. Artist expressed her affection for life, in particular, with the red color that comes through her artwork.

From Historical Textiles to Modern Design
Xiapi was a vest of a formal robe in Qing dynasty in China. John Riis copied the shape of harpy and recreated it into tapestry. Quilt artist Kim Mi-Sik quilted her work using old Korean traditional cloth pieces on the base of the original form of Xiapi. left: Kim Misik, <A trip to the past>, 2014 middle: xiapi, Qing dynasty in the 19th century right: Jon Eric Riis, <Princes> 
The Chung Young Yang Embroidery Museum
Credits: Story

The Chung Young Yang Embroidery Museum, Sookmyung Women's University

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