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Where is Susho from?                                                                                                        

The story of Susho (刺绣 Ci Xiu), Suzhou, the House of Zhang and King Silk Art begins with silk.

Silk production in China began over five thousand years ago. Chinese museums display remnants of ancient silk embroidery dating back between three and four thousand years. The origins of Susho date back more than twenty two hundred years. The collective of trade routes that eventually became known as The Silk Road, did not export silk out of China until a generation after Susho’s birth.  

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The story of Susho and Suzhou begins with the beginning of imperial China. More than two millennia ago, the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, designated 11 families as his official royal embroiderers. The Emperor placed the families in a serene water village called Suzhou, about 60 miles west of Shanghai. One of these families was the Zhang family, our ancestors.

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Until the end of imperial China, this silk artwork was only available to the aristocracy of China. Even today it is little seen outside of China. Many of the 11 families are still in Suzhou today creating Susho. Forest Qing Zhang, the President of King Silk Art and his sister Mei Zhang, who manages the House of Zhang in Suzhou, are proud descendants of this treasured legacy.

Suzhou became an important stop on the Silk Road and evolved into a large and prosperous city. Today, Susho is one of the most renowned traditional folk arts in China.

Susho is known for the elegant design of the patterns, the vividness and depth of the colors, the mastery and application of intricate stitches and the overall craftsmanship of the silk artwork.

King Silk Art is a completely holistic family business. The House of Zhang in Suzhou is managed by Mei Zhang. The House of Zhang cultivates silk worms, produces silk thread, dyes the thread and weaves each canvas. Our skilled and talented artists use these proprietary raw materials to stitch handmade Susho.

When Susho leaves China, King Silk Art takes over. Forest Qing Zhang, Mei’s brother and President of King Silk Art, travels the 21st Century Silk Road, paving the way for our Susho.

King Silk Art’s mission is to build the 21st Century Silk Road, making our beautiful silk artwork, Susho, as famous in the rest of world as it is in China.

Our own Marco Polo, Forest Qing Zhang began paving Susho’s 21st Century Silk Road in 2002, when Forest, his wife Emily and their daughter Nancy immigrated to Canada from Suzhou.

In 2004, King Silk Art evolved out of Susho’s growing local popularity. Our success in Canada brought us to a new location in 2006, our current home, Tustin, California.

Susho is now growing in popularity worldwide. We introduced Susho to Japan in 2007, the UK in 2008, the Middle East in 2009 and Australia in 2011.

 
     Forest Qing Zhang paving the 21st Century Silk Road.

 

 

 
Suzhou Silk Embroidery Art creation process   Forest introduces Susho to the UK in 2008

 

 

21st Century Silk Road hits the US in 2006

 

Susho in Australia, 2011.

Each work of Susho is completely handmade. Even when made from the same design, handmade silk art will always have slight variations in color and stitching

To ensure the complete satisfaction of our collectors, we only sell at special events. We feel it is important to see your Susho in person when you are collecting. Please contact us for information about upcoming events.

  

How is Susho made?                                                                                                          

Susho (Suzhou Silk embroideryArt) is often described as "Paints with Silk Thread and Needle", but compared to silk embroidery, the process of painting is fairly simple . . . a brush, paint, and a canvas. The nature of the silk itself adds complexity to the process of creating Susho. In addition to the variety of stitches that need to be mastered and combined, the silk thread itself must be separated and the number of layers of stitches must be determined and applied.

The silk embroidery process begins with tightly stretching a canvas over a wooden frame. The design is then roughly outlined, directly on the canvas. At that point, the artist begins stitching the most intricate parts of the pattern with tiny needles and colorful silk threads, bringing the image to life.

Each strand of silk fiber can be divided in up to 16 individual threads. 1/16 of a strand of silk thread is finer than a human hair. The thinner the thread, the finer the art work. The artist then builds layers of threads of varying colors and thicknesses to create dimension, shadows, and highlights. A small piece of Silk Embroidery Art takes one artist a few days to complete, a masterpiece may take several artists a few years to bring to the final stage. This array of techniques and materials come together to create unique and multi-faceted works of art. 

  

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Step 1: Draw the outline, Free hand  (click here see video)   John Dailey tells the silk art creation process

 

 

   
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Step 2: Bring the image to life (click here see video)    Step 2 - Yanqing Xu stitches

  

 

 

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1. Simple outline, drawn free hand   2. Bring the image to life with silk   3. Framed artwork
         

 

Who make susho?                                                                                                       

King Silk Art is a completely holistic family business.  The House of Zhang in Suzhou, is managed by Mei Zhang.  The House of Zhang cultivates silk worms, produces silk thread, dyes the thread and weaves each canvas. Our skilled and talented artists use these proprietary raw materials to create handmade Susho. 

Once the Susho is perfect, King Silk Art takes over.  Qing Zhang, Mei’s brother and President of King Silk Art, travels the 21st Century Silk Road, paving the way for our Susho.  Like two members of the same family, The House of Zhang and King Silk Art are separate entities, but forever intertwined.

King Silk Art is now based in Southern California.  We are proud of our new aesthetic, where we create both this ancient form of art, and add a touch of modern thought into some of the original designs. We believe that with our continuous efforts, this ancient art will never become extinct and will evolve with time. 

In 2004, when we first introduced our handmade Susho in Canada, we were thrilled by the response. As the years have passed and we've visited new countries and continents, we continue to be delighted by the universal admiration for the tradition that is so dear to us. In the future, we hope that more and more people will have a chance to appreciate the beauty of this ancient fine art. 

King Silk Art’s mission is to build the 21st Century Silk Road, making our beautiful silk artwork, Susho, as famous in the rest of world, as it is in China.

 

Honors and Awards                                                                                     

Numerous awards beginning from 2002,

the introduction of Susho™ to North America


Philadelphia International Flower
Show – First Place, Botanical Art,
Large Booth, 2011

Los Angeles County Fair - Fair's
Finest Exhibits, 2007

San Diego County Fair - Most Eye
Catching & Most Popular New
Vendor 2007
             
  Sydney Royal Easter Show - Commercial Exhibitor Awards, Sliver Award, Craft Corner, 2012 
  

  

   

Forest was Interviewed by Sydney Radio in 2011

 

 

Emily Accepting the Mandarin

Profile Award, Canada, 2010 

 

   
    2013 Royal Show Gold Award     2012 Easter Show Silver Award

  

The House of Zhang - Featured Artists                                                                           

Grand Master Artist, Mei Zhang

Grand Master Artist, Shirley Zu

Grand Master Artist, Lily Wang

Master Artist, Juan Xue

Master Artist, Lily Hu

Master Artist, Chunhong Lu

Master Artist, Juan Wang

Master Artist, Jaiolan Xu

Master Artist, Xuezhen Fei

Master Artist, Meifan Zhao

Master Artist, Lulu Yan

Master Artist, Wen Juan Zhang


Master Artist, Shuxin Liu

 

 


Master Artist, Joey J. L. Zhang

 

 


Master Artist, Xuehua Wang

 

 

 
Artist demonstrating thread separation   Artist demonstrating parallel stitch
 
 Silk Tiger in the Water    Mei Zhang demonstrating random stitch

 

 

Suzhou, China                                                                                                   

The home of the House of Zhang and the birthplace of Susho (刺绣 Ci Xiu) is a city called Suzhou, located in the deltas of the Yangtze River in Southeastern China, about 60 miles west of Shanghai.

Suzhou has a history of more than 2,500 years, dating back to the late Shang Dynasty. Marco Polo called Suzhou "The Venice of the East“. An old Chinese saying calls Suzhou a "Paradise on the Earth“. Centuries of tourists have praised the beauty of Suzhou’s nature, classical gardens, bridges, waters, traditional operas, and the soft tone of the dialect. Suzhou is still a favorite tourist destination with a rich history and a fascinating present.

Over the years, Suzhou has evolved into a modern industrial city. With a total area of nearly 8500 square miles and a population of just over 6 million, Suzhou is a major manufacturing, technology, investment and exporting base in China.

       
       

Here are some works from our collections, inspired by the beauty and rich history of Suzhou.


Procession in Water Town

Houses Along the Canal

West Lake in Autumn

Sailing into the Sun

Red Lanterns in Water Town

Fishermen in Water Town

Suzhou Fisherman at Sunset

Suzhou Canal Bridge

Bamboo Bridge

Three Docked Boats in Water Town

Under the Bridge in Water Town

Venetian Water Town

Four Docked Boats in Water Town

The Canals of Suzhou

Fortress in Suzhou

Two Bridges Over the Canals

Bridge Over the Canal

 

 

Suzhou Gardens                                                                                                        

Suzhou, China is a city of rivers and canals and is also famous for being a city of gardens. The Ming and Qing dynasties between the 14th and 20th century, were prime periods of garden building. At one time there were more than 200 private family gardens in Suzhou. A dozen of them are still in good condition today, including the top four classic gardens. They are the Fisherman's Net Garden, Lion Grove, Humble Administrator's Garden, and Lingering Garden. Two of them are listed as the Great World Heritage Sites.

The Humble Administrator's Garden is the largest garden, occupying four hectares (between 9 and 10 acres). This garden was built in 1522 during the Ming Dynasty. Water accounts for three-fifths of its total area and all the major buildings are facing the water. Centering on the pool, bridges and corridors harmoniously link up isles, rockeries, pavilions and towers. The garden shows a natural and flowing artistic style.

From the 14th century onwards, Suzhou’s wealth attracted many dignitaries, scholars and artists who transformed the city into a flourishing cultural centre. They built elegant mansions and gardens while top artisans weaved and embroidered for Chinese rulers and royal families across Europe.

Suzhou is famous for its gardens in the classical Chinese style. Each Garden has its own unique layout. In many of these gardens, water is emphasized, with artificial hills around it, connected with elegant corridors and pavilions.

Here are some works from our collections, inspired by the beauty of the gardens of Suzhou.


The Moon Gate

The Carved Door

Hooded Lady by the Lotus Pond

Garden Moon Gate

Lady in a Moon Gate

Ladies in a Garden

The Emperor's Garden

The Water Lily Garden

The Willow Garden

Pagoda on a Lotus Pond