In 2010, my daughter Isla spent six months studying at Peking University and in August my husband went out to visit her. They spent two weeks travelling together along the ancient Silk Road in the far west of China and took some wonderful photographs.
Xinjiang Province is exotic even in China, and the photographs reveal the alien landscape that has fascinated Chinese storytellers for centuries. It is a region that holds many surprises: immense wind-farms stretch across the Gobi desert for miles upon miles; Turpan, the grape-growing capital of China, is a strangely green oasis nestled among terracotta mountains; and the ancient remains of the Great Wall are nothing like the restored sections far to the east, but rather resemble bleached mud-brick hillocks.
These bold forms, carved against a rugged and parched landscape, became the inspiration behind two embroidered pictures – I’ll be writing another post soon to tell you more about the different processes I used to make them. For now, here are some of the images that captured my imagination.