of their products from an enterprise, which was about to use the items during a commercial activity. "The enterprise was our studio's 'lifesaver.' Within a short time, our business took a turn for the better," Zhang recalls.
Zhang in recent years has put a lot of effort into improving and innovating embroidering techniques, to add beauty to her artworks. Through repeated experiments, she eventually mastered the skill of softening the "summer cloth," so craftspeople could embroider easily on the cloth.
Zhang during the past decade has led her employees to create embroideries with unique local features. Many of their embroideries, with patterns of traditional Chinese wash paintings, embody the unique culture of the Chinese nation. The exquisite artworks have enthralled people throughout the world. Many of the craftswomen's works have earned them prizes for the national arts and crafts. Some of their works have been housed in China National Arts and Crafts Museum and China's Embroidery Art Museum.
In 2005, Zhang obtained a national patent for a new method of embroidering on the "summer cloth." Since then, the craft has been hailed as "China's top embroidery on the 'summer cloth'."
In 2009, Zhang established Xinyu Summer Cloth Embroidery Institute. In 2014, Zhang established Xinyu Summer Cloth Embroidery Museum, the first of its kind in China. Many of the works, which have been displayed in the museum, have amazed people with their charm and unique artistic beauty.
During the past eight years, Zhang and her employees have provided free training to more than 1,000 women, including university students, laid-off workers and rural residents, to help them develop the skills needed to make embroideries. Given the sound development of the craft, jobs were created for more than 2,000 women.
Zhang and her employees in recent years have put much effort into developing the craft, promoting sales of their embroideries and cultivating inheritors of the craft. As a result, they have created tremendous social and economic benefits.
Zhang recently told media she hoped the "summer cloth" embroidery would become one of the best-known embroidered crafts in China. She said she planned to develop a multifunctional base, in which craftspeople produce and exhibit embroideries. She also said she hoped more visitors, from home and abroad, would have a better understanding of traditional Chinese culture through the exquisite artworks created by the base.
"I have just celebrated my 60th birthday. If I can live to the ripe old age of 90 years, I'll spare no effort in developing and promoting the traditional craft during the next three decades," says Zhang.
Zhang Xiaohong, who was born into a worker's family in Ruichang in 1958, is a provincial-level inheritor of the craft of making "summer cloth" embroideries. Given her efforts to promote the traditional craft, she has received accolades and special titles, including a master of embroideries in China, a master of arts and crafts in Jiangxi Province and a National March 8th Red-banner Holder.