World Threads

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Hand-stitched Vietnamese Embroidery Painting

Viewed from a distance, our Vietnamese silk "embroidery paintings" are easily mistaken for the handiwork of an artist's brush magically blending raw color into a timeless masterpiece.

But up close, the eye feasts on the intricate density of thousands of silk strands exquisitely embroidered on cloth in such a way that the detail in the hand work rivals the detail of the imagery itself.

Tiny Threads in Talented Hands

For embroidery artists, the needle is their brush; thread is their paint. With extraordinary patience, the artist carefully selects each thread they use, and in some cases may incorporate up to 500 different types and colors of thread into each piece of art.

Each "brushstroke" is an individual stitch, built up layer upon layer, enhancing the realism of the image they're painting. Embroidery paintings can take from three weeks to several months to complete, and require that the artist be not only a highly-skilled needle artist, but have the "eye"and artistic talent to accurately render the scene before them.

By means of comparison, embroidery work of this nature is more difficult than any other form of embroidery, requires much more patience than either sculpting or traditional painting do, and yields a dimensional effect that even oil painting cannot achieve. And only in Vietnam will you find this particular embroidery technique.

A Brief History of Vietnamese Embroidery

Recent decades of conflict not only ruined many priceless relics but also destroyed ancient traditions and led to the disappearance of many centuries-old arts and crafts. Happily, peace and stability are restoring Vietnam's arts and handicrafts to their proper place, and many are now being given a new lease on life.

Hand embroidery holds a unique place in Vietnam's cultural history. Along with cooking and sewing, it is one of the most popular extra-curricular activities in which young high-school girls engage. It is, in fact, almost de rigueur that a family's young girls can skillfully decorate a pillowcase, a curtain, or a table cover with hand embroidery. Since the 1960's, hand embroidery in Vietnam has been raised to the level of an art, and there are as many male as there are female embroidery artists. Look in on our gallery of pictures

For a fascinating, more comprehensive overview of the craft, we invite you to browse our collection of related articles.

About the World Threads Collection

Our collection of embroidered paintings includes several large pieces in various sizes, some of which are as large as 2.5 by 2 yards.

Worked completely by hand, each painting is intricately stitched using select strands of silk or cotton thread in coordinated colors and hues reflective of the scene being depicted. On the reverse, you can see the hand-made knots used at the end of the stitches. Upon completion, each piece in our collection is matted with Thai silk and handsomely framed.

From a distance our Vietnamese embroidery paintings are easily confused with traditional paintings. It is only by seeing these masterpieces up close that you begin to appreciate appreciate the magnificence of each work of art. Truly, you must hold the embroidery in your hands, feel its weight, to properly understand that thousands of tiny hand-stitches can blend together to form such beautiful and authentic art.

Under special circumstances, we accept requests for custom orders and certain of our works may be reproduced by the original artist by special request.

Embroidered paintings from World Threads are guaranteed to brighten up any home, and we are certain that you will enjoy the unique and artistic value of these masterpieces


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