Plains of Imagination

Bethany King

Bethany King will graduate this summer 2020 from the Royal School of Needlework with a BA (Hons) in Hand Embroidery validated by the University for the Creative Arts (UCA). She is a designer maker, producing hand embroidered pieces for children’s interiors. Her works are predominantly inspired by animals and nature. Taking her illustrative designs, she uses a range of traditional hand embroidery techniques to create a contemporary aesthetic.

Bethany’s final collection, ‘Plains of Imagination’, consists of five cushions, each having a unique design featuring a selection of floral motifs and African animals, in particular elephants, flamingos, zebras and giraffes. Bethany’s collection has been inspired by her first year zoomorphic Crewelwork piece along with the RSN’s Crewelwork archive.

Knowing she wanted to centre her designs around animals, Bethany made the decision to take her work into children’s interiors, where she has noticed a gap in the market. Due to this being a very limited area, it is something Bethany is keen to explore further to develop her knowledge.

By applying traditional Crewelwork techniques in her collection, Bethany has created a contemporary look using different threads and materials such as variegated Perle alongside the traditional Appleton wools on coloured French linen. She’s drawn to using variegated threads due to the colour change affect and how it can be used to create gradual colour change alongside using stranded cotton in a range of colours.

Commonly, Bethany chose to use brighter and softer tones over darker colours in her work, however there are times when darker colours are needed to contrast with the bright tones. As well as this, she is also drawn to using materials that have a shine to them, as opposed to using matt materials.

Whilst studying I have had the opportunity to work as a Freelance Embroiderer at Ralph & Russo, working alongside the team on their Autumn/Winter collection 2019. I was also part of the RSN team embroidering for Creative Director Patrick Grant’s ‘E. Tautz’ menswear sweatshirt collection, in May 2018. My Crewelwork giraffe was selected to be on display at the ‘Fashion & Embroidery’ exhibition at the NEC Birmingham as well as in the ‘Animals in Embroidery’ RSN exhibition at Hampton Court Palace in 2018.


You can follow Bethany on her Instagram page.


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