Wednesday, 21 August 2013

The Royal School of Needlework and Hampton Court Palace...

Last week I had the pleasure of spending two days at the Royal School of Needlework completing an introductory course on whitework embroidery. The school is located within Hampton Court Palace...imagine coming here to work everyday!

Hampton Court is famous for being the home of Henry VIII and the beautiful tudor gardens that remain. Day students at the RSN receive a pass that allows them to access all parts of the palace.

 Lunchtime views...

...and the view of the courtyard from our classroom window.

My mother and grandmother first taught me to embroider when I was little, and then I also completed some more classes when in my early 20's (when I learnt to smock and do some wool embroidery). But in recent years, I've tended to only do any embroidery when I've been making gifts for people. To some degree I had lost the enjoyment that comes from working on a project with such fine detail.

I first became aware of the RSN in 2011 when it was revealed that they had been responsible for embroidering the lace on the Duchess of Cambridge's wedding dress, shoes and veil. At the time I looked at their website and noted that they also had day courses, but it wasn't until earlier this year that I decided to book on to a programme.

I was very keen to try whitework, but unfortunately by the time I went to register the course was full-booked (the RSN courses are very popular). However, fortunately for me, one of their other students was unable to attend, so they contacted me a week before the course to see if I was still interested...and of course I was!

So I joined ten other lovely ladies for two days at the palace for our introductory course. The class participants ranged in age from 17 to late 60's...and we even had three class members who had travelled from Australia, the US and Hong Kong.

And so on to the embroidery...we each made a small needlecase which was the perfect size to undertake in the two days as well as provided the opportunity to learn some new stitches. I particularly appreciated the very technical teaching of the different stitches (it made me realise some of my mistakes over the years!).

Progress after day doesn't seem like much, but this was 4 1/2-5 hours of work

At the end of day 2...embroidery completed, and tacking stitches in place to commence drawn thread work

And the final product...

I had such an enjoyable time at the RSN. If only one could spend every day in the beautiful environs of a royal palace, meeting lovely people and embroidering! But, I have subsequently booked on three further day courses over the next 8 months or so (goldwork, silk shading and jacobean embroidery) to keep polishing my technical I will be able to look forward to returning to the palace and the RSN...

1 comment:

  1. Oh I'm absolutely green with envy! How wonderful to be taught in such a Masterclass style and in such a beautiful environment.
    I have done a lot of embroidery in my time... but not so much in the past 10 years. One thing I'd love to learn is stumpwork, gold work and jacobean embroidery will be so interesting... can't wait to hear your reviews (as it's highly unlikely I'll be able to attend a course any time soon!) x