Graduate Story: Courtney Cooper – Hand Embroidery

Courtney Cooper recently completed our Skill Stage 2 course in Hand Embroidery. Her life long dream has always been to sell her creations and now, thanks to her new found skills and creative confidence, she has a successful business! This is her incredible story.

About Courtney Cooper

Like many creative people, I dabble. I have dabbled in sewing, in beadwork, in embroidery. I’ve even given stained glass a try.  My dabbling led to a Bachelor of fine arts in studio art where I learned printmaking, weaving, sculpture, welding and lots and lots of ceramics, which I absolutely loved and continue to love. So, with all these skills why take a Skill Stage 2 Hand Embroidery course? The short answer is that unlike ceramics, I can sit on my sofa and embroider.

Courtney Cooper Graduate from the SST

Obviously, there is more to it than that! I had played around for a long time with hand embroidery, learning the basic stitches and following patterns. However, there is a difference between making something and expressing creativity. I yearn to be creative rather than to make by following someone else’s designs.  2-D skills such as drawing, painting, etc., are an area of real challenge for me and this, I feel, really holds me back from getting the ideas in my head out into the world.

Why the School of Stitched Textiles?

With the design aspects of the school of stitch courses I knew I could challenge myself to improve my areas of weakness while staying with the skills that I enjoy and are more in my comfort zone. With the accredited course I had confidence in the path of the curriculum to lead me for one skill to the next in a logical progression and I knew that I would be supported by a skilled team of instructors to help me over the hurdles I encountered, trying things I never would have attempted before.

Hand embroidery was the vehicle on my journey of skills improvement and confidence building but, ultimately, all the different skills (such as stitching, transferring, designing, choosing materials) have carried over to all my creative pursuits. I can now much more confidently plan projects from a beginning design concept to a well-executed end piece. The nature of hand embroidery has enabled me to slow down and give more attention to detail. Equally, I have learned to trust my own style and design choices. As a result I am seeing a more professional outcome in my work.

How has the course helped?

Selling the work I have made has been a dream of mine for a long time. Due to the confidence that I have gained in my work and my patience in working through a design I have opened two Etsy shops (selling guitar straps, tote bags, headbands, embroidered badges and embroidery patterns) and have plans to expand beyond Etsy (into in-person sales events and selling to shops and through my own website.) Even though the things I am making now are not all embroidery, I don’t feel I would have realised my dream without the skills and confidence gained through this course.

My shops Coco Guitar Straps and Coco Rand Creations can be found at:

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