I started stitching in primary school at the age of 5, like most of my generation learning the basic stitches as we made simple items for the home.
In adulthood, I followed the usual path of working lots of cross-stitch kits until in 1999 I joined a bobbin lace making class, which introduced me to a group of enthusiastic embroiderers. Through them I discovered a wider range of traditional embroideries, went to lots of workshops and courses run by inspirational tutors, and spent the next decade or so learning new techniques and trying to perfect them.
Through Maidstone branch of Embroiderers’ Guild, in 2011-12 I did a C&G Level 2 Award course in Traditional Hand Embroidery. I was inspired to take this further, and between 2012-2016 I studied under Janet Edmonds at Missenden Abbey for the C&G L3 Certificate and Diploma in Design and Stitch. This really challenged me to try new ways of working with the familiar traditional techniques and to learn completely new ones. It was also a valuable time for beginning to work my own designs instead of those of other people. I’m now beginning to build my own portfolio of work and to develop and refine my own style – a fusion of the traditional and freestyle.
I needed to find a forum that would continue to challenge me and was invited to join the New Embroidery Group in the summer of 2016. I am currently secretary of the Sevenoaks branch of the Embroiderers’ Guild.