An Exciting (and Scary!) New Journey is Beginning

an exciting (and scary!) new Journey is beginning!

Do you remember I said I was potentially doing something really silly? Something which causes me to question my sensibility? Well, this is it – for better or worse, I have decided to study the RSN Certificate in technical hand embroidery. How this is going to work out I don’t know, I have real concerns about not being good enough for this, (just look at the website at what the students produce!), but it is a case of now or never. It’s much easier to do this when you are in the right hemisphere, and as Aussie’s living in the UK, we don’t know for certain how long we will be in the UK for. So it is best to make the most of our time here (I tell myself now!).

Hampton Court Palace.jpg

So why do this? Shouldn’t I practice my skills and improve before undertaking something like this? Maybe. And Probably. But, as my primary objective of doing this is to improve the quality of my stitching, why not learn how to do this, and get tutored by some of the best embroiderers around? Admittedly, this isn’t going to be for everyone – you learn how to do things the ‘RSN way’. This means I will no doubt be re-learning ways of doing particular stitches. You learn how to do things the traditional way – so no light boxes to transfer designs, but the traditional prick and pounce method, complete with painting on the design, not using an archive pen!

prick and pounce transfer method

But that’s precisely why I want to do this. I might not always use the prick and pounce method for design transfer, but with some fabrics it is about the only way to successfully transfer a design. I like the idea of learning how to work stitches in the traditional way. It doesn’t mean I will always use the methods and techniques, I just want to have this knowledge. The design process is something I am also very interested in and have been keen to develop for sometime, but have never really had the confidence to do it. So with the security blanket of experienced tutors, I am hoping I will develop and gain confidence in this area too.

The Certificate is made up of four modules. The recommendation is to take the Jacobean Crewelwork module first. I am guessing you then talk to your tutors about what would suit you best next. The remaining modules are silk shading, gold work and a choice of either canvas work or black work. Given silk shading is the only other technique I have attempted this could end quite disastrously! But I am determined, and really want to do this, and to do it well. I’ve been thinking about this for a while, especially over the past twelve months, so disaster or not, I will at least come out of it being a bit more knowledgeable I hope!

Jacobean Crewelwork

The learning approach offered by the RSN is quite flexible, and there are a number of locations you can study around the UK, and one in each of Japan and the States. The only real stipulation is that you can’t take more than five years to complete the four modules. If you are like me, and want to study over a more traditional ‘school term’, you can book in your eight classes for the module (this is the number of classes they recommend you attend to successfully meet the requirements), at times that suit you (subject of course to availability). If you are busy with work and family, or live somewhat of a distance from one of the locations, you can book yourself into their intensive programme which is run over the UK summer, and you complete all eight classes and your project within a two week period. I’m not sure if I have spaced my classes well, but I have booked myself into fortnightly classes on the whole. My theory is that Fridays are now my RSN day regardless of if I am traveling to Hampton Court or not!

Given the teaching methods  used by the RSN, it is recommended to attend a class and watch how the Certificate is taught, as this isn’t going to be for everyone. I admit, I didn’t do this as I made the enquiry just as the last term was breaking up, and I didn’t have time to do this if I wanted to commence reasonably early on in the first term. But having been to a couple of days classes, I am hoping the difference isn’t too great! Thankfully I view myself as being reasonably adaptable so I am not concerned about this, though for anyone considering this course, it is probably worth keeping in mind.

So – let’s hope I haven’t bitten off more than I can chew! A good friend did remind me that the tutors are here to help, it’s not an exam where people are out to fail you like my professional ‘real world’ qualifications! I’m excited, nervous and a little scared about this whole thing, but hopefully I will become a better embroiderer for it all! Here’s to challenging ourselves!

I start tomorrow – I will let you know what my first lesson was like!

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18 thoughts on “An Exciting (and Scary!) New Journey is Beginning”

    1. Thanks! That piece is designed by Phillipa Turnbull – someone I will be drawing design help from! I’m looking forward to having you as my cyber stitching buddy! Hope your piece is progressing well.

      1. Excellent! I think you’ll have no problems with the Certificate. It’s not too bad, but I am going to sit at my frame this weekend until all this damned raised stem band is done!

    1. I think it will make a huge difference – I’m just flipping between being excited and terrified! I’m looking forward to the regular tuition and guidance. Just what I need!

  1. It sounds so exciting! I would have done the exact same thing if I was living in the UK. I hear the teachers are excellent. You will work hard but learn so much. Can’t wait to learn more about your experience.

  2. Gosh I’m so excited for you, it may be a little daunting at first but I’m sure everything will work out fine and you will gain so much experience and knowledge.

    Good luck for tomorrow.

  3. Well done! We like them green and not experienced to be honest. It is much harder to correct bad habits than to learn new things. I started my RSN journey in 2010 and hadn’t done anything else then lots of cross stitch and one richelieu piece. And I ended up being a teacher with them for a while. So don’t worry and enjoy!

    1. Thanks Jessica! I fear I have a few bad habits to beat out of me but better now then in the future! I’m glad you’ve mentioned where you started – that makes me feel like I could actually do this! You are an amazing embroiderer!

  4. I am so excited for you. I wish i lived closer to you. I would join you. I cannot wait to hear your updates.
    Catherine i am very glad for you.

  5. Oh wow, what an amazing thing to do. I am so jealous! I think you’ll learn so much and the tutors will help, not hinder. I’ve taken a couple of classes with an RSN teacher, she’s brilliant ans so encouraging. Please please blog about the whole experience!

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Catherine at Hillview Embroidery

Thanks so much for visiting today! I’m Catherine, and it’s great to have you here. You will find here lots of information about my projects and designs, what worked, what didn’t, what I enjoyed, what I didn’t!

With a Certificate in Technical Hand Embroidery from the RSN, I strive to complete each piece to a high degree of technical excellence. But I also like to stretch the ‘rules’ and explore my own methods and techniques!

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Join my community to receive all the latest news, be the first to know about special offers and releases in my shop, and some general embroidery chat in a monthly (ish!) newsletter. I’d love to see you there!

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