A welcome reception is in a creative garden where customers first discover XQ centre with help of graceful female guides. XQ means the first, capital letters of the couple: Xuan -the wife and Quang -the husband. Full names are Hoang Thi Xuan and Va Van Quang. The idea to produce embroidery paintings was born from the wedlock between Quang – a talented painter and Xuan, a Hue-born woman, who has inherited all techniques and skills in embroidery work and thread-dyeing secrets from Hue royal embroidery artists. Patiently and creatively she ushered in a new trend of the profession: a combination between embroidery techniques and sense of beauty in paintings to turn out masterpieces of Viet Nam’s identities. After a few successes, they decided to establish XQ centre in Nha Trang in 1997 both for sales and training.
In a small creative garden: tranquil and poetic, samples on display: sample-pictures, drafts on paper, chiseled samples, colored powder, oil, clothing, colored threads, picture-frames… help visitors imagine how to have an embroidery painting. Initially, the sample is made by an artist. A choice among samples is decided to make a draft then paint again and stitch very carefully and skillfully. This costs time and efforts. There is sample that costs 30 days of 4 artists. Then, a mixture of oil and colored powder is sprayed on by the painter that make the perfect sample, and now it’s tasked with highly-skilled embroiderers.
A finished painting depends much on the artists’ talent, patience and inspiration. Normally, the most impressive painting costs at least half a year to be finished by a highly skilled artist’s passion and creation.
XQ centre Nha Trang is always widely opened to welcome those who are really interested in the job. There are now 50 embroidery artists; some of them won golden hands prizes in yearly national painting exhibition.
Accompanied by charming guides, visitors will see with their own eyes the artists working hard in the garden. They dress ao dai and work in pairs by a frame. They look like fairies busy making life more beautiful. Finished works are displayed in a showroom where there are hundreds of paintings descriptive of daily life activities, natural beauties, and the soul and heart life of Vietnamese. They look beautiful in modesty. Typically, the double-faced paintings can be seen in the room centre. Double-faced paintings are made on white silk. Two faces look alike as if it were a looking glass. These masterpieces could only be done by really experienced (at least 5-year experience) and highly-skilled artists.
There are albums of the pictures of most beautiful paintings convenient for customers’ choice. XQ paintings are neither cheap nor expensive but each one is worth the artist’s efforts and talents. Lowest price is some thousand VND for a small flower-picture but there are paintings that cost US$400 -500. Foreigners to the shop can buy paintings and the artists will help to put on frame and packing to bring home. Pictures will be placed in wooden boxes produced in Dalat.
But the most impressive is XQ hospitality. Whoever you are, you will be warmly received and have friendly instructions or advices by charming girls. That’s why XQ centre comment-book is fully of memories, impressions and emotions by those who came here once or twice.
(Vietnam Tourism Review)