Not too long ago, Bronagh Sullivan completed our Beginner Hand Embroidery Course (Skill Stage 2). Having previously only completed kits and beadwork, Bronagh was keen to develop her skills, devote time to something she loved, and gain a qualification. On completing the course she told us that she has learned to have confidence in her ability and style. Bronagh has also started working in a local craft store providing workshops and has even enrolled onto our intermediate Hand Embroidery course (Skill Stage 3). This is her incredible #MyStitchJourney.
“These courses are something I would definitely recommend to anyone with an interest in hand embroidery, whether it is for personal enjoyment or as a stepping stone to a new career, and because high standards of work are set, it’s a huge sense of achievement when you pass.”
I first enrolled onto Hand Embroidery Skill Stage 2 and having completed that I went straight onto Hand Embroidery Skill Sage 3. With hindsight this worked well for me as Skill Stage 2 was much shorter, but got me into good routines and habits for the more demanding Skill Stage 3.
Prior to these courses I had dabbled in lots of different crafts but always came back to hand embroidery. My experience of different techniques was very narrow and mainly consisted of tapestry kits and beadwork. I had also designed my own beadwork kits and had begun to take my work to small local craft fairs. I would have loved to have taken this further but instead returned to teaching when my son started school.
Motivation for Studying
Turning 50 at the end of 2018 made me start to think about what I wanted to do for myself and possibly for a change of career. I knew that it would have to be something creative and that I had the enthusiasm to devote my time and energy to. I enrolled on a face to face technical hand embroidery course in May 2019 but within a year that stopped due to the pandemic. Not to be deterred I discovered the online courses at the SofST.
I chose an accredited course because I knew my teaching career was coming to an end and I wanted to start gaining qualifications in a different area. The teacher in me would struggle to deliver classes or courses in anything that I didn’t have qualifications in.
I chose to go with the SofST because I liked the modular structure of the courses, the fact that they are self-paced and can be completed online (a very significant factor during a pandemic)!
What Have Your Learnt
The most helpful thing I have learnt on these courses is to have confidence in my ability and style. I have also learnt a huge amount about the creative process, including how to look at the work of other artists , working to a brief, producing original designs, considering materials, producing samples and completing the finished piece. I have also had the chance to broaden my knowledge and experience of many different techniques.
I have recently begun working part-time in a local craft shop and I have started to make the samples for the first course that I am going to run there in the Autumn 2023. This is going to be a creative embroidery course incorporating shells collected from my local beach. Also this Autumn, I am hoping to become one of the Durham Cathedral Broderers, and I am giving serious consideration to enrolling on Hand Embroidery Skill Stage 4 with the SofST.
Advice To New Students
These courses are something I would definitely recommend to anyone with an interest in hand embroidery, whether it is for personal enjoyment or as a stepping stone to a new career, and because high standards of work are set, it’s a huge sense of achievement when you pass.
If I had to give any advice to new students one things springs immediately to mind and that is to be organised! Take lots of photographs of your samples as they progress and complete the portfolios for each module as you go along, don’t leave it all to the last minute.
Also, communicate with your tutor and fellow students (via the Facebook group), as they will have lots of helpful advice and words of encouragement to offer, as well as appreciating your feedback on their work.
Finally, don’t forget to enjoy it!