I don’t teach frequently, but when I do I like to be well prepared and have a clear plan of outcomes as well as visuals to help support the aims and techniques on offer.

My latest workshop, Underwater Gardens, presented at the Timeless Textiles Gallery in beautiful Newcastle is a case in point.


It was a full-on couple of days I have to say, for both the participants and me, but being organised enabled me to cover a lot of ground for them – and that’s what they’re paying for after all.

I love written notes, and this time had the benefit of large covered boards able to showcase a number of notes on my objectives for the class including resources, ideas, where the magic actually happens, looking for possibilities, techniques, tips, and tricks, making change, interpreting design into stitch, photolay photography and yes, even shopping.

No endless copying and pieces of paper, just images snapped with an iPhone and everyone has an instant reference.

But if there’s one point that needs to be made, it’s the absolute willingness to give that, for me, was just so prominent.

If, as a tutor, you do not learn from your students, then something surely is not working.

I not only learned about new places to shop, new books, and materials, as well as beading and wire sizes – something I just can’t get my head around, but also from their unique perspectives on creating and innovation.

And it was amazing to witness.

Throughout the entire workshop, there was a gentle buzz of excitement, of comprehending and being able to work a technique, and of being willing to take that leap of faith and just start because there was no pattern for this workshop – and that alone can be quite daunting for some.

But everyone undertook the adventure and made the effort to try – and the results were truly stunning and unique to each individual.

I wanted to inspire and ignite a passion to just take up a needle and thread and stitch, and in turn, they made me feel I was on the right path in my teaching ethos.

Because teaching isn’t just about being up in front of a class so much as knowing how to set fire to that passion, something that may have lain dormant for some time.

And passion is what embroidery is all about.

I met 10 amazing women over the weekend, and the joy, understanding, and passion I saw in their eyes I will never forget.

That’s where the passion resides – right there in someone else’s face.


All views and opinions expressed are my own, except where acknowledged information is included from other sources.