Inspired to Create

We’ve been so inspired by all of the stitching, the quilting, the sewing, and the making happening around the world. Amidst the chaos and the uncertainty, people are truly tapping into their creative sides and it’s been amazing to see all of the new works of art! There is something to be said for the simple process of stitching… the slowing down of a moment, taking time for ourselves, working toward something new and brilliant.

Linen Buttons by Liz Smith (Handstitching)

With that in mind, we’re thrilled to announce a brand new partnership with the UK Embroiderers’ Guild. They identified a need for distanced learning and developed a full range of courses to guide all levels of makers through a challenging and incredibly rewarding creative process.

by Sarah Joy Rickard

New to the craft?
Check out their beginner course to familiarize yourself with the basics.

Been stitching for years and looking to add some new and exciting techniques to your toolbox?
Settle in for a more advanced class to take your work to the next level.

We’ve been thoroughly impressed with the Guild’s approach and absolute dedication to creating the best experience possible for their students. The courses, while designed to be ‘learn at your own pace’, offer the rough equivalent of a year’s worth of University level education. The value that students will receive with a class purchase is remarkable!

Click HERE or on the button below to learn more and grab Aurifil’s exclusive promo code. As of today, all courses are active and available!

While we could rave about it all day, we felt it more appropriate to leave the details to the experts. We had a chat with Muriel Campbell, Chair of the Trustees and Sally McCollin, Designer and Author of the Guild Courses to give us the full scoop — many thanks to both remarkable women!

Can you tell us a bit about the history of the Embroiderer’s Guild? 
MC: The Guild was founded in 1906. Originally called The Society of Certificated Embroideresses, it was founded by 16 graduates of the Royal School of Art Needlework with the aim ‘to deal entirely with embroidery and with the first object of keeping up a high standard of work and design.’ Membership was only open to those holding a teaching diploma and the two years’ certificate of the Royal School of Art Needlework. This was widened in 1907 and anyone could apply for Membership by submitting embroidery for assessment by a panel of judges.

Today, the Guild has 155 branches and 50 Young Embroiderers Groups spread throughout the UK. Its members are drawn from a wide cross section of the stitching public. It aims to nurture an enjoyment of embroidery and enable anyone to participate at any level, whether they are young people learning to stitch, a professional artist, or someone who simply appreciates textiles.

What is the guild’s overall mission? 
MC: To educate, inspire, and encourage both its members and the wider public. It is also committed to preserving, documenting and displaying fine examples of embroidery throughout the ages and across all continents. With regards to the latter the Guild has a collection of over 6500 historical pieces dating back to the 9th Century.

What inspired the creation of the new distance learning programmes?
MC: As we have said, education is one of our primary aims and we wanted to use the power of the internet to bring a comprehensive learning programme to the widest audience.

What should participants expect with enrollment? 
SM: After enrollment, students will have access to the entire course, including the videos for the Bonus Reels. The first three introductory documents explain the tech bits – delivery, structure, templates, and expectations – so we recommend that students download and read these first.

Now comes the fun part! Remove any preconceptions you might have about what you are wanting to make or finish by the end of the course. Your own experimentation and chosen routes will eventually lead you there, along a meandering path of discovery, introducing you to lots of ideas, techniques and processes along the way, in a nurturing, step-by-step manner.

We would advise you to work through the Sessions methodically, first reading through to familiarise yourself with what’s to come, then off you go…

Take as much or as little time as you like; re-do exercises in different ways; do the same thing again but using different tools or inspiration, and if you are feeling inspired, immerse yourself in a topic and simply take it as far as you can.

At the end of each Session, you are given prompts to help you to reflect on your achievements and see how far you have travelled. You are also given the opportunity to create your own unique, finished piece of textile art. You never know – you just might surprise yourself!

How were the courses designed?
SM: The concept behind our Inspired to Create Embroidery courses was conceived during a meeting of heads some years ago. We established that there was a gaping chasm in the market between working on pre-designed textile kits – where the design is already created for you, ready to stitch out – and the need to make something individual and personal, with the background knowledge, flair and skill to do so confidently and effectively.

We decided at the outset that these courses needed to be colourful, visual, and image led. We want you to ask questions, to be inspired, to explore, and to push your knowledge to the next level. The courses are more about the exciting process of creating and exploring your design ideas and interpreting them into a range of textile-related sampling, rather than simply creating a finished piece.

Although each of the courses was designed independently from the others, they all have a common structure and delivery so there are no nasty surprises as you progress.

We agreed that unlike traditional courses, these also need to fit in with modern life and its commitments, so the stresses and constraints of weekly attendances, rigid timetabling, and restrictive schedules have been removed.

What key topics will be covered?
SM: Each course provides a creative outlet for the designer within, allowing you to explore a range of principles and elements. You are progressively introduced to the formal visual elements – Line, Shape, Colour, Tonal Value, Texture, and Form – with the inclusion of a range of design principles, such as pattern, space, scale, dimension, etc, thrown in just for fun!

For both hand- and machine-embroidery, the responses are wide-ranging and varied. Depending on the chosen course, these might include some of the following: line-and shape-based stitches; composite stitches; counted thread techniques such as Hardanger; cutwork; creating texture using knots, loops, layering and distressed surfaces; exploring unusual materials, and even creating your own range of hand-coloured threads and fabrics through immersion dyeing, printing and painting.

More detailed explanations of the exact content are given on each of the course introduction pages.

How long will courses be available? 
MC: There is no time limit for completing a course. We are offering ‘learning at your own pace’. We are inviting students to stretch their imaginations and discover their inner creativity, come up with their own designs and express them through fabrics, techniques and new skills.

What makes the EG courses different to other remote classes? 
SM: This is not about following someone else’s plan, pattern, or formula and in doing so get the best result they can. This form of learning has its place but we wanted to offer the opportunity to learn techniques and new skills but to do so in the context of their own ideas. We provide all the tools and guidance with the opportunity to have additional coaching input if required.

Rajastan Revisited by Liz Smith (Hand Stitching)

What is most exciting to the guild about finally releasing this new programme to the world? 
MC: ‘We just love it when a plan comes together’. Every plan has an outcome. We are now looking forward to joining our participants on their learning journey, seeing the course community groups providing support and ideas and seeing the end results of what we hope will be a fantastic learning experience.

Thank you Muriel and Sally! We’re excited to see where these courses take you and hope that you’ll share your progress throughout the coming year! Make sure to tag #embroiderersguilduk and #aurifil so we can admire your work and cheer you on! 

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The Embroiderer’s Guild is the home of stitch and textile art… the International Voice for Embroidery. The Guild welcomes everyone with an interest in any area of embroidery and is proud to be recognised as a voice for raising the profile of textile and stitched art.

No longer just the domain of fabric and thread, textile art now embraces (amongst other things) the world of mixed media, dyeing with rust and plants, print and videos. The guild holds a historical collection, aids with research, supports students of all ages, and publishes Stitch and Embroidery magazines. Members around the country are involved at whatever level they choose in meeting regularly to listen to speakers, often in their local Branch, attend workshops, learn new skills or build on existing ones, and participate in local, regional, and national projects.

Members are encouraged to participate in any area of interest at any level, whether a young person learning to stitch, a professional artist extending the boundaries of textile art, or someone who simply appreciates fabric and thread. We believe that textiles are as relevant today as they have ever been, and there is a place for both the traditional, fine hand stitching alongside the bold and contemporary machine work.

The Embroiderers’ Guild exists to build awareness of stitch and textile art. We educate, encourage, inspire, and promote the achievement of excellence. This is a continuing journey.

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