About a year ago – not long after I’d finished my first RSN course in Crewelwork – I received an email from someone asking me if they could use my design for their own crewelwork piece for their certificate work. I was intrigued, as the writer was a young woman named Camille.
“Good morning, Kathy,
I am a sixteen year old girl, enrolled in the RSN certificate course
in San Francisco with Lucy Barter. I recently completed my gold work
project, which I will e-mail a photo to you. But looking forward to my
Jacobean piece I was wondering if you would consider letting me use
your RSN design? The reason; It is so airy and pretty and the
components are not clustered together, thus you can enjoy each area of
Thank you for your consideration and your lovely site,
Of course you may use my design for your project. The only restriction I will put on the use is that you may not reproduce it in any form, all of in part, for sale or distribution. However, I don’t imagine that’s in your immediate plans! You have your hands full right now. One thing to consider is that your tutor may require you to create your own design for the crewelwork part of the course. I know we were required to do that. That’s between you and your teacher, though, and as far as I’m concerned you may use my design with my best wishes and good luck! I’d love to see the finished piece.
I’ll scan it in in the next half an hour and send it to you as a zipped file.
The photo of your goldwork piece just arrived and it’s lovely! I hope I can do as well!
I’m going to do the goldwork component this summer and am really looking forward to it. In a few days I’m off to England to do some preparation work for the course.
I’d love to know more about you and why, at the age of 16, you’re choosing to spend time doing an embroidery course. I thinks it’s wonderful but I know it isn’t the way teenagers usually spend their time. What inspired you to take on such a big challenge at a relatively young age? What are your hopes for your embroidery future? What do you love about embroidery right now? What did you used to hate about embroidery (mounting is my particular hate!) but have learned to live with? What’s your favorite kind of embroidery to do (so far!)? Do you prefer old designs, new designs or ???”
I proposed an interview of sorts with the proviso that she make sure it was OK with her parents. Then quite a bit of time passed. Both of us were busy…
And a week ago the answers to my questions arrived along with photos of her work!
Tell us a little about yourself.
“I live on a cattle ranch in Northern California, and am home schooled. This gives me the time to pursue my interest in embroidery.”
What inspired you to take on such a big challenge at a relatively young age?
“I started embroidering when I was about ten. My interest in gold work embroidery came about because of the Blessed Virgin Mary. When I saw the photo (below) of her cape, my mom and I immediately began researching how we could learn to do the same. We discovered the Royal School of Needle Work, but were unable to go to England to attend the courses. It was then we found Lucy Barter who lives about four hours from us. We contacted her and arranged a day class of basic gold work. That class inspired me to learn more. I am currently on my second piece in the certificate course.”
What are your hopes for your embroidery future?
“My future hopes would be to teach embroidery, do commission work and, as I am a Catholic, I would like to embroider for God’s altar.”
What do you love about embroidery right now?
“The various methods and materials available allow me to express my artistic abilities in unlimited ways.”
What did you used to hate about embroidery (mounting is my particular hate!) but have learned to live with?
“There is nothing about embroidery that I hate, however my least favorite part of gold work is plunging short threads.”
What’s your favorite kind of embroidery to do?
“My two favorite types of embroidery are gold work and silk shading.”
Do you prefer old designs or new designs?
“I have taken some designs from the Antique Library, ecclesiastical books, and embroidered pieces from Mary Corbet, Trish Burr and Phillipa Turnball. For the most part, modern designs do not appeal to me.”
Camille is an inspiration to all of us and especially to me. Her email arrived exactly when I needed to read about someone so hopeful, so excited and so positive. She loves what’s she’s doing and has a very personal and important reason for learning embroidery. I admire her enormously. She’s willing to share with all of us photos of her work so we can all see the huge progress she’s made. Most importantly, Camille is a warm and understanding young woman.
“I know that you have been feeling a little sad, we all have those kind of days. But I do hope you know that your work is very inspiring, When I went to choose my design for Jacobean yours was the first that I really liked. There were so many others but none of them were appealing to me. So thanks!
I did make the mistake of adding a butterfly onto the design without asking my teacher where I should put it, so I am going to have to do something because it looks awful out there by itself. Maybe a snail right beside the little hill. What do you think? ”
What do I think? It’s charming!
Aren’t we all so lucky to be able to connect with one another, to share our hopes and frustrations, knowledge and questions through this amazing thing; the internet? I know I feel blessed every single day – even when I’m frustrated!