A little bit about me

PatI have always loved traditional hand embroidery techniques and am never happier than when I have a needle in my hand.  My mother was Armenian and taught me Armenian Needlelace at a very early age, so that is my speciality, but my main passion in life is embroidery and stitchery of all kinds.


I am married and have two children, a son and a daughter, who were both born in the 1960’s.  When they were very young, we did not have much money and even less time – no labour saving devices or a car, so all tasks took a long time to achieve, not much spare time for anything else but running a home.


In the mid 1970’s, being a perpetual student, I joined a local evening class in embroidery, so that, even if I did not have much time to stitch during the week, then for two hours on a Tuesday night, it was my time to relax.  The first thing I made was a table runner in brown and orange – VERY ‘70’s!  But what it led to is totally amazing and has changed my life completely.


I am a great believer in “fate” – what will be, will be – and through attending that class, I found out about The Embroiderers’ Guild, joined a local branch and found out that there was a City & Guilds course in Embroidery.  I was so excited, because until that point I thought that City & Guilds courses were for tradespeople such as plumbers, carpenters, builders and electricians, etc.


So my husband and I held a conference, worked out our money situation and found that if I wanted to take this course, then I would have to take on yet another part time job in addition to the job I already had to help with the household bills.  So I became a waitress and barmaid to help me pay for the materials needed and fees for the City & Guilds course that I took at Ashford under the guidance of Ruth Issett.


So I now hold the City & Guilds Creative Studies – Embroidery – Parts I and II and one of my final pieces was selected to hang at The Commonwealth Institute in London at the Embroidery ’88 Exhibition.  In 1991 four pairs of my earrings were selected to go to Japan with the exhibition from the Embroiderers’ Guild collection.


I am a life member of The Embroiderers’ Guild, ex-Chairman (twice) of the Maidstone branch, and teach day schools for various branches, and I have taught at headquarters at Hampton Court.  I teach evening classes in Adult Education in my area having gained my City & Guilds ACSET Certificate in 1988/89.  I also teach at various adult education centres around the country including summer school, weekends and day schools at Missenden Abbey, Gerrards Cross, the W. I. College at Denman, Knuston Hall, An Grianan near Dublin in the Republic of Ireland and Plas Tan y Bwlch in North Wales.  I have also written, and taught, the Open College Network syllabus for Traditional Hand Embroidery Techniques for Buckinghamshire County Council at Missenden Abbey.


Some of my embroidery has been featured in Needlework Magazine and I have had some bead patterns published in New Stitches Magazine.  My first book on Mountmellick embroidery was published by Search Press in September 2002.  My second book which is on raised, three dimensional stitches was published in March 2005.


I have always used beads in embroidery, but was introduced to needle bead weaving in 1993.  The first item I made was a daisy chain necklace, and since then I have been completed addicted to beads and obsessed by them.  I love possessing them, buying them, looking at them, using them, I spend a great deal of money buying them and all the allied things that go with them, the biggest item of expenditure being books and going on courses.  I have a group of friends, and every time we meet up all we talk about is beads and the latest technique and patterns.  I also love teaching other people how to make beautiful things with beads so that they can get as much pleasure from them as I do.  I obtained the City & Guilds 7802 Skills Certificate in Bead Needleweaving in June 2000 being one of a group of five who were the first in this Country to take the examination. I recently retired as Treasurer of the recently formed Beadworkers Guild having completed three years in that post.  I served on the committee for a further three years, but have now retired from it.


Being a glutton for punishment, I also did the City & Guilds Stumpwork 7900 course at Missenden Abbey under the tutorship of Kay Dennis and obtained my certificate in May 2008.


My teaching career started at my local branch of The Embroiderers’ Guild.  I was asked to “just show a few people” during one of our meetings – well, before you knew it I was taking a Day School, then other branches heard of me and the requests came in.  That gave me enough confidence to do classes for the local authority, and, like ripples in a pond, more and more people asked me to teach, so you never know where life will lead you when you enrol at that first evening class.