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A graduate story by hand embroidery graduate, Victoria Vinten

I Have the Confidence to Achieve My Goals

We often hear that hobbies, creativity and passions get sidelined for raising families, pursuing careers and other commitments. This was a similar experience for our next graduate, Victoria Vinten.

When Victoria’s children started school she began to explore her creative side but struggled to find a group or course that could developer her skills and passion. Eventually she found and enrolled onto our Hand Embroidery Skill Stage 3 course. With a newfound confidence and refinement of skills, Victoria now plans to set up her own business, working to commissions and running her own workshops. But not before completing our Hand Embroidery Skill Stage 4 course.

This is her inspiring #MyStitchJourney

hand embroidery graduate Victoria Vinten

“I am continuing with my studies at present by working on the Skill Stage 4 Hand Embroidery. My ultimate goal is to take on commissions and maybe run a few of my own workshops as I enjoy encouraging others to try stitching. Doing this course has given me the confidence – and the knowledge – to start to take steps into achieving this.”

Victoria Vinten

I had always been interested in sewing, embroidery, yarn work and all things textiles, starting off with cross stitch kits when I was a child and playing around with my dressmaker Nan’s fabric offcuts, but never really had time to give it much attention especially when working full time and then becoming a fulltime mum.

When my daughter started school, I found I had a bit more time on my hands and so started to dabble and investigate my previously forgotten hobbies more. I joined a local group that had a big emphasis on sewing, knitting, quilting and other fabric crafts. It was here that I started to develop my needle skills more with the encouragement of the other members.

Blackwork hand embroidery by Victoria Vinten

Choosing to Study with SST

I wanted to challenge myself a bit more and, although I had done some workshops in various areas of embroidery, I wanted something that I could really get my teeth into and try new things.  Having seen pieces at various exhibitions I wanted to try goldwork, blackwork and stumpwork, but didn’t really have a clue how to start off. I also wanted to discover new techniques such as hardanger and pulled thread work. I already had a fairly good knowledge of the basic stitches before enrolling on the course, which is why I opted for the stage 3 course, but I wanted to learn more.

goldwork hand embroidery by Victoria Vinten

Why An Accredited Course?

I liked the idea of doing a course with a qualification at the end as I like having a specific outcome. I felt this would give me a solid grounding for my stitching future. As I had knowledge of the basic skills and I felt the time was right to branch out and develop them. Locally, there wasn’t much on offer regarding hand embroidery. The only options were beginner level courses – how to thread a needle type courses. This was a bit too basic for the level I was at. I even looked into degree at universities but even they weren’t purely hand embroidery based.

On the hunt for local embroidery courses I enrolled on a brief ten week creative embroidery evening course at a local college which is where I heard about the School of Stitched Textiles. After investigating, I felt that the format of the course and the subject matter was pretty much what I was looking for so I took the plunge and enrolled on Skills Stage 3 Hand Embroidery. I was a bit dubious about not doing an ‘in person’ course to start with but soon found that my enjoyment of the subject outweighed any concerns.

Hand embroidery course work by Victoria Vinten

Highlights of the Course

Having not studied seriously for a few years, working at my own pace was helpful for me from the outset. I particularly enjoyed developing my own design ideas. Now whenever I am out and about I’m always finding things that would work in a design. Apart from the modules on different techniques, the two modules on how to develop your own business I found helpful.

If you’re not business minded (like me!) they make you think about how to approach things like business plans and marketing. Taking note of hours spent working on pieces also makes you realise the true worth of a piece you are working on and not to undervalue yourself.

Hand Embroidery final assessment piece b Victoria Vinten
Close up detail of Hand Embroidery final assessment piece by Victoria Vinten

What’s Next?

I am continuing with my studies at present by working on the Skill Stage 4 Hand Embroidery. My ultimate goal is to take on commissions and maybe run a few of my own workshops as I enjoy encouraging others to try stitching. Doing this course has given me the confidence – and the knowledge – to start to take steps into achieving this.

I would recommend the Hand Embroidery Skill Stage 3 as you learn lots of new techniques and develop existing ones. And it’s great being able to work at your own pace. It’s not easy to work on your own with no fellow students or tutor in person to bounce ideas off, so to do this course you do need to be self-motivated, there’s no denying that!

Your Advice for New Students?

My advice to students would be to properly plan your time, especially if you have other commitments and try to stick to the plan. Also, make sure you read the module documents thoroughly as it’s easy to miss something you need to do. Be prepared to become obsessed with your subject and start seeing the world around you in the subject matter you choose. Most importantly though is to enjoy what you do as your passion and enjoyment will show through.

Joan Harrison Bursary

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