World Embroidery Series II: Miao Jiaoxiu Embroidery

A Virtual Class with Selina Ben

A Virtual Class with Selina Ben on Thursday, September 21, 2023


The Miao, an ethnic minority group living in deep mountains of the most remote areas in Southwest China, who have no written language, have been using their textile patterns to record cultural information and history for over two thousand years. With more than 100 clans, each Miao clan has their own costume code so that they can
be identified easily. Such cultural code is handed down from generation to generation among Miao women, who make works of art inspired by traditional Miao songs and legends.

In this class, Selina will walk you through the brilliant textile heritage of the Miao. She will present images of historical Miao costumes and baby carriers, talk about Miao traditional patterns and material culture. She will also discuss the changes that Miao embroidery has undergone and Miao artists’ contemporary practice.

You’ll have the opportunity to learn Jiaoxiu, an ancient Miao embroidery technique which means embroidery with decorative wrapped thread. Traditionally Miao women wrap a cotton core thread with silk threads by hand, which is a very time consuming and complex process. Selina will invite you to experiment with a simplified
approach of using commonly available ready-made gimp, which is accessible to today’s makers. You’ll learn how to embroider a traditional motif extracted from a stunning Miao baby carrier from Zhijin, a county in the middle of Guizhou province in China, where 48% of its population are ethnic minorities including Miao.

A PDF design pattern will be shared one week before the class for participants to transfer the design pattern to the fabric before the class, so that during the class we can focus on the stitching techniques.

Thursday, September 21st, 2023


12pm – 2:30pm EST

Zoom, a link will be send to participants the day before class

$60 for the individual class, $350 for the series

*This session will be recorded. A link to the recording will be emailed to all those who register following the live session. This link is live for one month for you to watch at your convenience.


  • Base fabric top layer (minimum dimension 17x14cm): quilt-weight non-stretch woven cotton fabric, preferably in color red.
  • Base fabric bottom layer (minimum dimension 17x14cm): loosely woven non-stretch cotton fabric. It should be heavier than quilt-weight cotton. Azumino-Momen Sashiko fabric is preferred. Wash, dry, iron all fabrics in advance to avoid shrinkage and color bleeding.
  • Lamination material to fuse the top layer and bottom layer of base fabric: Mistyfuse sheer fusible web in white. The 2 layers of base fabric should be laminated before transferring the design pattern.
  • Cotton thread for chain stitch: DMC pearl cotton size 12. Color 644 is used on sample Silk thread for blanket stitch: Au Ver à Soie Soie d’Alger. Color green (5024) and dark purple (3336) are used on sampler.
  • Gimp for couching: Painters Threads Rayon Gimp from Tentakulum. Color Suricata is used on sampler.
  • Silk thread for couching: Au Ver à Soie Soie d’Alger. Color dusty pink (2578A) is used on sampler.
  • Needle for gimp: Bohin Embroidery Sharp Point size 18 (with a big eye)
  • Needle for other stitches: John James Quilting Mi-Longues size 5
  • A pair of small sharp scissors for cutting threads
  • A small bowl of water for smoothing silk thread
  • Fabric markers: Pilot FriXion heat erasable ball pen 0.7mm
  • Other equipment you need for using Mistyfuse sheer fusible web and transferring the design pattern.

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Selina Ben

Selina Ben is a textile artist and mender based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. With a professional
background in textile product development, her passion for textiles has existed for as long as she can remember. Selina is inspired by historical textiles around the world. Her curiosity about why the textiles were significant to a place, what materials were used and how they were made stimulates her creativity. With her practice, she hopes to preserve disappearing techniques, honor unknown makers and their cultural heritage.

Witnessing landfills overloaded with textile waste, Selina chooses to work with pre-used fabrics. All
the signs of wear and tear on the fabrics are a source of inspiration for her creative process. With her hands, needles and threads, she brings the fabrics to a new phase of their lives so that people can start looking at our relationships with textiles differently.

Selina believes stitching by hand is the best form of meditation. The repetitive motions of arms,
wrists, fingers, needle and thread bring peace of mind and a sense of accomplishment. As time goes by, the grounded feeling arises, the positive energy grows, and a new work is born.

Selina’s practice can be found at and Instagram @selinaam05.



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