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Frequently asked questions
Simply, its exquisite beauty, masterful craftsmanship and unique history. Silk Art is the art of painting with needle and thread. It is done by hand using silk thread on silk fabric. Susho is highly prized in China and recognized as the art of Emperor's.
As one in the western culture learns about Van Gogh and the great western art masters growing up, Chinese children learn about Susho. It's ancient heritage comes from the royal embroiderers, families placed into Suzhou China thousands of years ago by The Chinese Emperor to embroider his robes. The art produced by these families all belong to the Emperor, hence the art of King's.
The skills to produce silk art are passed from generation to generation and require years of learning to master the techniques. While embroidery arounds through the world, high quality Susho is rare. Only a tiny handful of people can produce Susho to the point of touching your heart and soul.
The real reason, however, to have Susho, is its beauty. The gentle kiss of love, the warmth of a summer afternoon, the wind on your face, the water flowing by, the delicate touch of the feathers fluttering, the majestic animal become poetry in the Susho form.
There is a sense of life you can taste with your eyes, a sense of spirit captured as no other media can. Having a piece of Susho leaves no regret. Please enjoy.
Susho is very easy to maintain and keep in perfect condition. There are just three important rules to care for this natural product.
- No Direct Sunlight
- No Dust
- No Moisture
The most important rule for maintaining Susho is no direct sunlight. Direct sunlight will fade the colors of the silk. Silk artwork should be artificially lit, we recommend using halogen lights at about 50-60 Watts. You can find halogen picture lights online or at any hardware store.
Other types of lights cast color, which filters the natural colors of the silk. Higher wattages tend to visually flatten the sheen of the silk, and you lose some of the natural dimension we create by layering the silk stitches. When your Susho is lit properly, you will notice the 3-D effect. The colors of the silk will appear to change if you look at the Susho from different angles.
For proper care, Susho must be protected by glass. Silk artwork, made from natural fibers, attracts dust. Frames with normal glass will be fine in a somewhat dark room, but you might consider using UV glass with glare protection, in a room with more light.
The last threat to the longevity of your Susho is moisture. The silk fibers are sensitive to moisture, so a moist or humid environment can do damage. We do not recommend hanging Susho outdoors, even away from direct sunlight. Indoors, it is better to avoid areas with a lot of steam.
Absolutely, yes. Keep in mind this art form has been around for thousands of years and top end pieces sell in the hundred of thousands of dollars. Please visit the work of some of our Grand Master Artists.
BUT, it is with hesitation I would accept any claim of long term value for any art. The only way to truly see if art has investment value is when it is resold. Find art because you love it, not because you expect it to be worth thousands of dollars in years to come.
One of the big reasons we believe Susho will increase in value is simply what is happening to the industry. One way to get a 2000 year history for artwork, is for your artists to have no other career choices. In today's China people have lots of choices. A major concern is, as China industrializes, the hand arts, especially one where you spend hour after hour after hour stitching, will disappear.
It's easy to judge high quality Silk Art, just by looking at it.
- Colors – The more colors, the higher the quality.
- Length – The shorter the stitches, the higher the quality.
- Thickness – The thinner the thread, the higher the quality.
- Layers – The more layers, the higher the quality.
- Design – The more curved lines, the higher the quality.
Please click on Quality Comparison to learn more.
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Susho is 3D - Paint flattens on a canvas, even as an artist blends layers of color. Silk fibers stay intact and as the stitches are layered, creating a true 3D effect.
- Susho is more colorful - Silk Art is comprised of a multitude of tiny, colorful stitches instead of cruder brush strokes. Silk Art has a much higher resolution than most paintings. High Definition TV versus Standard TV.
- Susho colors last longer - The chemicals in paint degrade over time, pure silk and vegetable dyes can last far longer.
- Silk Artistry - Silk Artist must master several important skills and require a lifetime of training to create Silk Art. Painting is a far simpler process.
- Stitches - Only handmade Susho varies the types of stitches, creating depth and dimension.
- Appearance - Compare original artwork to a print. Only one has life and character, and is unique.
- Thread - Handmade Susho uses pure silk threads of varying thicknesses. Embroidery machines cannot handle the delicacy of silk and use synthetic threads of one standard thickness.
- Background - The backgrounds of handmade Susho are filled with small knots. Silk Artists change thread frequently and knot the ends. Machine-made embroidery is perfectly uniform, several pieces can be made with a single thread, so there are no knots.
- Collectible Value - Handmade artwork is inherently more valuable than mass-produced.
Please click on Versus machine made embroidery to learn more.
The red stamp represents the “House of Zhang”. The Zhang family has been creating Susho in Suzhou for 2,500 years. This stamp identifies Susho created for King Silk Art by the artists of the “House of Zhang”. The name of our company, King Silk Art, is a bit of a play on words. “King” not only references Emperors, but it is also the pronunciation for our President’s first name “Qing”.
The top Susho Grand Master Artists in China are quite famous for their talent and craftsmanship. The prices of Susho in China are based on the reputation of the Susho artist.
Professional Susho artists go through a lengthy learning process to develop their skills and talent. The very first lessons begin on grandma's knee. For Susho families, teaching our children about the family legacy is a centuries old tradition. For those with talent and an interest, formal training starts in their late teens.
Artists must spend ten years as a student and another eight years as a teacher in order to meet the time requirement to be a Master Silk Artist. After five years as a Master Silk Artist, an artist may apply to become a Grand Master Silk Artist. These are general guidelines. Time alone does not necessarily make you a Master or Grand Master. Talent and skill must be demonstrated as well.
No. When artwork is handmade, each work has its own unique execution. Our artists are not machines. Even when working from the same design, individual silk artists will put their own human touch into each work.
There may be very slight variations in color, as each artist will interpret tone as the image emerges. In addition, each piece is hand-stitched, so no two pieces will have identical stitching, even if the same artist created both pieces. As with musicians playing a familiar composition in concert, there will always be slight variations from any other performance, bringing each individual piece to life.
Please click on Understanding Susho to learn more.
The short answer is complexity. Some of the more complex pieces have backgrounds that are completely stitched; some simpler pieces have silk-screened backgrounds.
The complexity of stitches is also a factor in the pricing. As you can see with the flowers below, while the red tulips on the left have depth and shading, the stitches themselves have a greater degree of simplicity when compared to the detail and variation required by the irises on the right.
Again, the answer is complexity. As you can see with the two parrots below, two Silk Artworks based on the same design can vary the complexity of the stitch pattern. The parrot on the right has far more definition and resolution than the parrot on the left. Complex stitch patterns take much longer to execute, are much more expensive to produce, and are priced accordingly.