As an experienced embroiderer, Sara Lambert was initially unsure about studying with us. However, when the Pandemic struck she began to look for a different focus, a distraction. Having complete our Skill Stage 3 course, Sara told us that she hadn’t expected to learn such a large variety of techniques. This is her #MyStitchJourney
“I hadn’t appreciated that the course would help me think so much about how to market my work. Although I’m still working on developing my ideas and my work, it’s an area that I now feel much more confident about taking forward.”
Studying Hand Embroidery
I enrolled on to the Hand Embroidery level 3 course in August 2020. It was the start of the pandemic and like a lot of others, I was really looking for something different to focus on!
I really wasn’t sure about signing up for the course and thought for a long time about whether to enrol. Having already done lots of sewing and feeling fairly happy with the standard I’d reached, I felt I could already sew. I also had a few books about embroidery and attended workshops and courses. I’ve been sewing for years!
However, I really enjoy structured learning. I also felt as if the embroidery I’d done to that point had been about following instructions and trying to work in the same way as someone else (either at workshops, or when working on kits) so I was keen to see if I could try to develop my own style. I think I also really wanted a sense of ‘validation’. I’d see people selling their work at craft fairs or exhibiting textile art at local galleries and I wanted to feel as if I had something behind me. I wanted some formal training, or a qualification that would show that I could do that too.
I looked at a number of courses and felt as if the SST seemed to offer the right balance in terms of a formal qualification, a range of different areas of study, and the chance to work at my own pace.
I’ve really enjoyed the course and feel that I’ve really learned a lot. I hadn’t expected to learn such a variety of techniques – some of which were completely new to me, like Blackwork, that I really love. I’ve also discovered that things tend to work out better if you plan them in advance. Perhaps not one of my strong points before the course!
The other aspect of the course that I didn’t expect – but loved – was the opportunity to look more closely at inspirational artists. I decided early in the course that I’d try to focus on women artists that I didn’t know much about. I definitely feel that the research has broadened my knowledge and helped me think in a new way about my own work.
A large part of the course focused on generating ideas and developing them into designs. I wasn’t expecting this and initially felt a little out of my comfort zone. Although it was one of the areas I wanted to focus on, at times I found it really challenging. It’s difficult if you haven’t done it before and I found it hard to avoid simply replicating an existing image in stitch. There were definitely times when I had to remind myself that this is why I was here!
There were times when I wasn’t really happy with how my work was progressing. The advice I’d give to new students is that those are the points that you need to just keep going. Sometimes I felt as if I was going through the motions a bit, but suddenly something could shift. I would look at it in a different way, and a whole new approach would emerge.
The most valuable parts of the course involved learning to persevere and recognise those breakthrough moments when I suddenly felt as if I could use an idea or an image and take it further, to interpret it in my own way.
I also hadn’t appreciated that the course would help me think so much about how to market my work. Although I’m still working on developing my ideas and my work, it’s an area that I now feel much more confident about taking forward.
I knew that I was pretty good at embroidery when I enrolled – that’s why I chose to start with level 3. However, there’s work I’ve completed that I couldn’t have even started without the course. The techniques I’ve learnt, the skills I’ve developed and the support and guidance I’ve received have really helped to take my work to a different level. I’d definitely recommend the course to anyone who feels as if they’d like to do the same.