Portfolio of workshops

I also offer private tuition in the Colchester and north Essex area. Please get in touch if you would like to explore a particular embroidery technique,  or develop a project of your own from first inspiration to final piece.

I am happy to travel to offer talks and workshops in the Colchester and South Suffolk areas.

Practical workshops are designed for a day – usually five hours with a short break for lunch. If shorter sessions are needed the content can be adapted.

Many of the topics of the practical embroidery workshops can be presented as short talks on the history behind the techniques.

Levels of experience   All the practical workshops have a ‘level of experience’ guide to help potential participants decide if they are right for them.

Absolute beginners:  no previous experience of embroidery is assumed.

‘Introductions’:  these workshops assume a basic confidence using needle and thread and with working a few simple stitches. They  introduce  specific techniques or ranges of stitches or a project in which no previous experience is needed.

Extending your range:  this needs a basic grasp of a the type of embroidery, for example crewel or canvas work, and will build on experience with new stitches, techniques or design approaches.

Practical workshops based around any traditional  technique will include an illustrated  introduction, usually in the form of a PowerPoint presentation. Visual resources such as books, postcards and worked samples are also provided where relevant.


Embroidery Basics
(Experience level: absolute beginner)

egg2This workshop is aimed at those with very little, or no, experience of embroidery.  It covers all the basics, with an introduction to types of fabric and threads and which forms of embroidery  they are used for.  The tools of embroidery are also introduced, frames, needles etc. A range of simple stitches is taught, worked on felt to produce a needle case so that everyone has a finished (or nearly finished) project from the day.


Creating Textile Journal Maps

(Experience level: introductions)

What are Journal Maps? They can capture memories of events and places in your life: a favourite walk, the streets around your home, a personal journey, a holiday, a celebration, a life history. You use simple fabric techniques and stitch to explore your world, to creatively depict events and ideas in your life.

Over six one-day sessions you will discover the potential of Journal Maps and the many different forms they can take. You can use techniques you are already comfortable with or explore new ways of working. The key thing about journalling is that it is personal, and Journal Maps that you create will be as individual as you are. The aim will be to make two over the six months – more if you want!

A Day with Mountmellick
(Experience level: introductions)

Flowers in Mountmellick embroidery Mountmellick embroidery is a beautiful, robust, whitework technique originating in Ireland.   A brief history of  of the technique will be given to start with. Characteristically a wide  range of stitches is used and a small design is worked during the day exploring the possibilities.  The tutor can provide the specialist threads and fabric  needed to work this authentically.

Patterns and borders: design using simple motifs
(Experience level: absolute beginner)

EPSON MFP imageThis workshop could be a half day or a full day; clearly more can be achieved in the longer session. Participants will be introduced to easy ways to create all-over patterns and decorative borders from very simple units.  There is no need for anyone to be ‘good’ at drawing! The workshop is useful for designing for all sorts of craft techniques, not just embroidery.


Pattern and texture with simple stitches
(Experience level: ‘introductions’)

stitch pattern

Combining simple embroidery stitches in myriad ways for decorative lines (great for crazy patchwork!) or areas of texture – for example in landscapes. The session is based on the concept of using some simple stitches as ‘framework’ which is then developed with other stitches to  to easily build up intricate patterns and texture.

The session explores ways to put stitches together, layer them, change their shape, and more, to make the most of them in pattern or texture. It is suitable both for those who want to build up an array of traditionally worked decorative elements and those looking to begin to create exciting textures to use in more contemporary work.

 Stitch Exploration
(Experience level: Introductions)

featherThis is a workshop aimed at developing skills useful in more contemporary embroidery. A simple stitch is chosen and then manipulated and varied according to the random instructions from a set of cards. This simple game helps participants have fun exploring the potential of stitches without having to make too many decisions on their own. The results at the end of the day are always varied and exciting!

Stitches with Stories
(Experience level: introductions)

Motif from Glazig embroideryIdeal for a individual workshops or a course of sessions, a traditional technique is introduced with an illustrated history and social context.  Participants then use a motif, typical of the technique, and appropriate fabric and threads to create their own small sample that can be made into a needle case, lavender bag,  notebook cover, etc. Techniques include Sorbello, Mountmellick, Parma, Wessex and Glazig embroidery.

Counted Thread Embroidery
(Experience level: introductions)

hardangerCounted thread techniques including Blackwork, Drawn Thread, Hardanger, Pattern Darning, Wessex and Cross Stitch can be offered, with an illustrated introduction including history. This can be either as a short session of two to two and a half hours on a single technique or a series of weekly classes.


Introduction to canvas work
(Experience level: introductions)

canvasCovering all the basic technical skills of canvaswork, including choice of canvas and threads, dressing a frame, a wide range of stitches and blocking the finished work. This is offered as a series of weekly sessions, from six to eight depending on the range of stitches to be included in the worked sampler.


Canvaswork – a 3rd dimension 
(Experience level: extend your range)

cvs wk shell Three very different techniques for raising the surface of canvaswork and adding impact. They complement the beautiful textures and patterns of the usual stitches with areas that can stand above the level surface.


Introduction to crewel work
(Experience level: introductions)

crewelAnother set of weekly sessions that covers the basic technical skills of a technique – choice of fabric and threads, using a frame, transferring designs and a range of stitches.  An illustrated history stretches over the course, relating to the stitches and designs being worked.



Tassels galore!
(Experience level: introductions)

tasselA one day workshop that is great fun – and very productive! A range of tassel constructions is introduced and the effects of different threads explored. The participants also learn about how to develop these later, creating their own individually styled tassels to be used for finishing embroideries or in soft furnishings and a multitude of other purposes.