My home base is in Melbourne, Australia, and on four occasions I have travelled to Hampton Court Palace to invest intensively in my own embroidery skills combining each trip with exploring the UK and visiting family. It became somewhat of an annual pilgrimage, one I looked forward to very much.

It is a challenge to complete a piece of embroidery to the highest standard you can achieve in just two weeks. As well as you pace yourself, there is always that desire to have ‘just one more day’ to get everything just right. On the other hand there is no procrastination permitted as you strive to get your homework done and meet your Tutor’s expectations. You are fully immersed in the task at hand setting yourself up to exclude all other distractions. Just eat, sleep and embroider is about it!

There is something about settling into your classroom at historic Hampton Court Palace, meeting up with your RSN Tutors, the thrill of starting a new technique under their watchful eye and befriending your classmates who come from all over the world. I turned up the first year knowing no-one but by the end of the two weeks had made a lifelong friend, Bonnie, and we have completed each module together since then. We have come to know East Molesey very well, sharing accommodation, finding great food and travelling together over the years.

I now find myself an Embroidery Tutor, sharing my passion for hand embroidery with others. I give great credit and thank all my RSN Tutors who have shown me not just technical skills but their professionalism, dedication and the discipline needed to achieve your best. And where would we be without the Office team, who tidy up all those little details for international students and make us feel so much at home.

You can find me on Instagram stitching as ‘A Crewel Beginning’ because that’s where it all started.