THREADS OF LIGHT: CHINESE EMBROIDERY FROM SUZHOU AND THE PHOTOGRAPHY OF ROBERT GLENN KETCHUM

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Edited by Patrick Dowdey with essays by Zhang Meifang, Robert Glenn Ketchum, and Jo Q. Hill

Long intrigued with the possibility of integrating texture in his work, American landscape photographer Robert Glenn Ketchum was struck upon seeing a photograph of an extremely realistic embroidered portrait of Chairman Mao produced by the Suzhou Embroidery Research Institute (SERI) during the Cultural Revolution. This remarkable depiction suggested to Ketchum that his own photographs could be reinterpreted as embroideries. In 1986 the photographer paid the first of many visits to Suzhou and, after intensive negotiations, initiated a highly successful collaboration that continues today.

This splendidly designed volume describes the history of SERI with illustrations of its traditional embroidery and then proceeds to pair Ketchum’s stunning photographic images with their exquisite embroidered counterparts. Essays by SERI director, Zhang Meifang, Robert Glenn Ketchum, Patrick Dowdey, and the Fowler Museum’s director of conservation, Jo Q. Hill, locate the achievement of the Suzhou Embroidery Research Institute within the context of traditional Chinese embroidery and trace the willingness to innovate that has longed characterized this remarkable institution and has led to the unprecedented collaboration with Robert Glenn Ketchum.

9 x 12 inches, 172 pages
138 color and 17 b/w illustrations
1999
ISBN 0-930741-71-4, paper, $45
$19.50 — 50% off original price

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