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Stitchbusiness Newsletter

July - September 2014:
The Beauty of Stitch . . .

The Miser's Purse worked by Esther Dutton


Welcome to our summer newsletter!

Some of us are so passionate about stitching that we dedicate our lives to it. By hand or machine, we do it in traditional ways, innovative ways and playful ways. We revel in it, explore it, make our living from it, love it, seek it out wherever we go, dream of it, and our fingers even bleed from doing it! From traditional cultural embroidery to abstract stitched installations, stitch is a rich and exciting international language. In this issue we feature the work of Jenny Adin-Christie. Jenny is a specialist freelance professional hand embroiderer and designer with an innate passion for creating individual work. We hope you enjoy finding out more about her and her beautiful work.

Happy summer and happy stitching!

metal thread project worked by Cheryl Penna

ARTIST PROFILE: stitchpickings with . . .

Jenny Adin-Christie
Freelance specialist traditional embroiderer,
trained at the Royal School of Needlework

Looking back, it could be said that it was inevitable that I would end up where I am today. My parents were very creative and their skills and attention to detail gave me the encouragement to pursue my own creative career. I was lucky to attend schools when embroidery was still taught, where a chance meeting led to discovering the Royal School of Needlework. At that time they offered the 3 year traditional Apprenticeship in Hand Embroidery; the opportunity to study embroidery full time seemed like a dream come true. I was lucky to be awarded one of 6 places and set off at 18 years old with great trepidation to take up my place.

This traditional Apprenticeship required intense hours. It was the heyday to be learning at the RSN, with some of the best tutors of recent decades. My work ranged from the tiny and delicate (fine monogramming for an album cover for Sir Paul McCartney), through to huge pieces (new altar frontals for Canterbury Cathedral). After qualifying with distinction, I was offered a full time position in the commercial Studio and as a tutor, a position I enjoyed for a further 10 years, eventually becoming Assistant Head of the Studio.

When my lovely daughter Iona was born in 2008, I decided that it was time to swap mega hours of work at the RSN for freelance, but self employment of course requires a huge commitment… My work now divides into about half tutoring and half commission work, which I greatly enjoy. Commissions range in extremes of scale: from the minutely detailed (such as tiny monogramming of a baby garment, Sarah Burton’s gift to Prince George) to large scale pieces (a new altar frontal for St Lawrence’s Church, Weston Patrick).

It is fundamental to me that my embroidery is beautiful and unique: from exquisite and effective design, through to clear expression via perfection and clarity of stitch. I delight in pushing the boundaries of the traditional and historical stitches and techniques, aiming to find new ways to make them fresh and exploiting new materials now available. There is a definite resurgence of interest and respect for the time and skill taken to create beautiful things by hand. It is fabulous to be earning a living from age old skills in this renaissance period....long may it live!  

1. Turquoise and gold
2. Embellished Corset for Alexander McQueen
3. Raised Embroidery Sampler, depicting Hampton Court palace, in the 17th century style
4. Working the Royal Arms on gloves for the new Lord Chief Justice
5. Ayrshire Heart Scented Sachet

Turquoise and gold Embellished Corset for Alexander McQueen Raised Embroidery Sampler, depicting Hampton Court palace, in the 17th century style Working the Royal Arms on gloves for the new Lord Chief Justice Ayrshire Heart Scented Sachet

IT SEAMS TO ME: tip of the issue . . .

Stitch sampling . . .

Sampling stitches is a useful exercise in understanding how a stitch can be explored, analysed, and understood.

Select a stitch, and a base fabric to work on. Use a variety of threads and yarns, natural, synthetic, thick, thin, smooth, textured, along with the appropriate needles to work each one. A chenille needle for thicker threads, and a crewel embroidery needle for finer.

Work the stitch big, long, small, fine, straight, curved, tight, bold, overlapping, isolated, open, dense, etc.

Create lines, patterns, textures, movement, and surface decoration.

Using one colour will show different results to that of a choice of colours.

Push the boundaries of the stitch, develop it, use it, test it. Learn what it can do, and how it can be used. Work the stitch on the edge of the fabric as well as the centre, within a taut frame, or free style out of a frame.

metal thread machine project worked by Janice MacDougall

GOOD HOUSEKEEPING: news and views . . .

STITCHBUSINESS would like to extend their congratulations to the following students who have completed a City & Guilds course with us recently: -

Greta Friggens (Isle of White, UK) who has gained her City & Guilds
7716-61 Level 3 Certificate in Stitched Textiles

Yvonne Jones (Durham, UK) who has gained her City & Guilds
7716-39 Level 2 Certificate in Stitched Textiles

Carol Smithwhite (South Shields, UK) who has gained her City & Guilds
7716-06 Level 1 Certificate in Hand Embroidery

Congratulations to Catherine Gowthorpe who has received our Student of the Year Award, for her outstanding Level 3 Stitched Textiles Diploma work. (This Award will now be given to a STITCHBUSINESS student annually, and is awarded to Catherine for completing her course in 2013.)

metal sample worked by Catherine Gowthorpe

NEXT ISSUE: will feature . . .

paper and stitch -

how paper is used with stitch, in embroidery and textile arts . . .

Or Nué by Brenda Burkitt

WHAT'S ON: show, exhibitions and places to visit . . .

Exhibitions . . .

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk
Barbican, London
First major exhibition devoted to the celebrated French couturier, Jean Paul Gaultier
9th April 2014 - 25th August 2014

Wedding Dresses
Victoria & Albert Museum, London

This exhibition will trace the development of the fashionable white wedding dress and its treatment by key fashion designers such as Charles Frederick Worth, Norman Hartnell, Charles James, John Galliano, Christian Lacroix, Vivienne Westwood and Vera Wang offering a panorama of fashion over the last two centuries.
3rd May 2014 - 15th March 2015

Sue Stone, Featured Artist
The Biscuit Factory, Newcastle upon Tyne
Sue Stone is a UK based textile artist who works mainly in hand stitch, machine embroidery and mixed media.
6th June - September 2014

MADE IN MEXICO: The Rebozo in Art, Culture & Fashion
Fashion and Textile Museum, London

Made in Mexico explores the key role textiles have played in promoting Mexican culture worldwide from the 17th century to the present day.
6th June - 31st August 2014

The Festival of Quilts 2014
NEC, Birmingham
A celebration of quilting with over 300 exhibitors offering essential supplies, extraordinary galleries from international artists and a magnificent display of over 1,000 competition quilts – it’s the ultimate quilting experience.
7th - 10th August 2014

master class machine sample worked by Catherine Gowthorpe

DROPPED STITCHES: oops, we have made a mistake . . .

Sarah Henderson (Durham, UK) gained her City & Guilds
7716-18 Level 1 Certificate in Machine Embroidery

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Julia Triston: +44 (0)7855 219 253
Tracy A Franklin: +44 (0)7946 401 368