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!).
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!
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!
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!