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Chinese Needle Lace-making Workshop

Whether for Mother's Day presents or personal curiosity, Heritage Museum of Asian Art specially invited Rivers Zhu, a young artist from the Art Institute of Chicago and the inheritor of Xiaoshan culture, to lecture on Xiaoshan lace culture. During this special event, participants not only gained an in-depth understanding of the history and development of traditional lace culture in Xiaoshan, China, but also made unique lace decorations for their mothers and their loved ones under the guidance of Rivers.

The event attracted a total of more than 10 handicraft lovers as participants. Rivers Zhu first briefly introduced the history and tradition of Xiaoshan lace. Through vivid narration and rich picture display, she brought everyone into this ancient and exquisite art field. Then, she demonstrated several lace-making techniques to the participants, showing the skills and finished products of lace-making with different stitches and threads. The amazing delicate craftsmanship is breathtaking, and the participants also got inspiration from it.

Xiaoshan lace was first introduced from Europe. At the end of the 19th century, Italian missionaries taught lace-making techniques to 24 Chinese weaving women workers, and in 1919, Shanghai businessman Fangqing Xu introduced it to Xiaoshan. Subsequently, this folk craft born in Europe was inherited and carried forward by Xiaoshan lace workers, quickly digested by the powerful folk system, and gradually incorporated local patterns and themes. In 2021, Xiaoshan lace was included in China's national intangible cultural heritage list.

During the remainder of the workshop, participants practiced and applied the learned techniques by getting hands-on, practicing and making their own lace ornaments. They chose the weaving shape according to their personal preferences and carefully weaved their unique works. Everyone was immersed in the fun of doing it themselves and was delighted to see their creations gradually taking shape.

This time, the Xiaoshan lace culture workshop not only inherited the ancient Chinese skills, but also spread it from China to Chicago through Rivers' explanation, and also let everyone learn and experience the skills of lace making by themselves, as they felt the unique charm of Xiaoshan lace culture. Lace is not only an ornament, but also a link to convey emotions and blessings. By participating in workshops, we were able to integrate traditional art into modern life, showing personal creativity and unique taste.

The Heritage Museum will continue to hold similar activities to bring you more interesting and meaningful cultural experiences. We look forward to continuing to cooperate with Rivers and other artists in the future to bring you more exciting activities and cultural exchanges. Let us explore the charm of traditional culture together, inherit it with heart, and create it with love!

Museum of Asian Art


Heritage Museum of Asian Art is a non-profit organization with IRS 501 (c) (3) tax exempt status. 

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