We turn the spotlight on former primary school teacher, now 3rd year RSN Future Tutor, Matthew Cayton.

I discovered the RSN and the Future Tutors course while I was recovering from a hip replacement. I was using my recuperation time to research new careers as I felt it was time for a change from Primary school teaching. I was visiting The Knitting & Stitching Show, London, came across the RSN stand and discovered the range of courses that were available…and the seed was sewn! I attended a weekend course at Hampton Court Palace which introduced me to Blackwork and then, bitten by stitch, I enrolled on the Certificate & Diploma (C&D) course and very quickly I realised that embroidery was the new career I was looking for. I completed my Certificate and most of the Diploma before taking the plunge and joining the Future Tutors programme for real.

I was incredibly nervous about giving up the security of a teacher’s income to spend the next few years earning no money at all, especially as I found out that I would be welcoming my daughter in to the world half way through the first year. But I was also exhilarated at the prospect of the new skills, experiences and life that now lay ahead of me.

Matthew Cayton in the FT Studio working his Appliqué piece, ‘Marx Bros’

Because I had completed several techniques on the C&D course during the Summer Intensives, I was prepared for the work load. A work load which is just like the 2 week intensive course but for 2 years! I won’t lie, the course has been as tough as it has been enjoyable. I had not counted on becoming a father in the middle of my training, making the difficult almost impossible. Yet I am still loving every stitch and now, as I near the end of my training, getting to experience teaching and passing on what I’ve been learning, I’m getting to see how rewarding and enjoyable this new career will be.

My favourite technique would be Blackwork and I love the piece I did for my Certificate. It was a new technique to me that I’d never tried before. I also love my Jacobean piece, which is the first piece of embroidery I’d done for a very long time. I love the composition and the multitude of different stitches that combined to make it.

Matthew Cayton teaching at a Family Stitch Workshop

I feel very lucky to have met and been taught by the fabulous RSN Tutors who openly impart their knowledge, tips and tricks gleaned over years of experience and this is something I will cherish and aim to emulate in the years to come.

I am loving the time I have managed to get in to the commercial Embroidery Studio, learning a variety of conservation and restoration techniques and practices. I am itching to get back in there and to continue my education. This is the area of embroidery that I’d really like to focus on in my future career, gaining the knowledge and experience to look after beautiful textiles and delicate pieces of embroidery.

The culmination of the Future Tutors programme is the Signature Piece. You get to choose techniques and subjects that you think reflect you and the type of embroiderer you want to be. With this in mind, I have chosen to make a sculptured 3D steampunk bird complete with top hat. I aim to include Goldwork, Silk Shading, Stumpwork, and some fine Canvas Stitches. These techniques should hopefully come together to create a steampunk aesthetic which chimes with my old fashioned soul. I crave analogue over digital and hope that my Signature Piece piece will highlight this and reflect the beauty and possibilities available through embroidery.”

We look forward to seeing Matthew’s final Signature Piece in the near future and, in the meantime, why not take a magical tour of his Creative Embroidered Box which has a Harry Potter theme on YouTube.

You can follow Matthew on his Instagram page.