Through My Eyes

Erin Ledsom

“I never in a million years thought I’d be accepted into the Royal School of Needlework and be working in a studio at Hampton Court Palace so to say that I now have a degree in Hand Embroidery is just incredible! I have learnt so many skills, worked on some amazing projects and met the best people whilst at the RSN, I really have had the time of my life and there’s nothing I would change about it!”

‘Embroidery is a unique example of an art form that actively seeks to manipulate the surface and stimulate a touch perception even when the work itself cannot be touched’.

Erin is an embroidery artist originally from Hull in the north of England. She loves to immerse herself in colour, pattern and texture as they help express her feelings and bring the work to life. When stitching she is passionate about using found and recycled items within her work and through a combination of processes within her embroidery she uses unconventional materials and makes them conventional. Using traditional hand embroidery techniques but with a contemporary twist. Using these materials allows Erin to be very playful and manipulate materials into certain shapes, textures and embellishments. Texture is a huge part in Erin’s work as it fulfils all of her senses rather than just her vision.

Over her three years at the RSN, Erin has worked with the Embroidery Team at Ralph & Russo and Alexander McQueen. She has had the opportunity to work with Susan Aldworth on her exhibition ‘Illuminating the Self‘ where the dress Erin embroidered was used as the poster image. She also designed and sampled embroidery for the luxurious shoe brand, Sheme, and her design was selected to be manufactured and sent to her. Erin’s most recent achievement is that one of her final major pieces will be displayed in the Ferens Open 2021 Exhibition at The Ferens Art Gallery, Hull, and another of her pieces will be on display at The Deep, Hull, this year!

‘Through My Eyes’ is a personal story which focuses on Erin’s hometown of Hull. Through her distinctive, joyous style of design work and stitch she focuses on a sense of place and belonging. Erin explores the preconceptions made about the city and hopes through her exciting style of work it will showcase her cultural heritage in a positive way and make residents feel proud of their home and for others to see the city in a new light.

Through her design work she looks at what she enjoys most about the city, whilst gaining inspiration from the graffiti scene in Hull she works intuitively creating marks and shapes to form vibrant backgrounds for the motifs of the city. By drawing her favourite highlights of the region using digital media in a whimsical, fun way, she hopes her illustrations bring features of the locality to life.

Erin uses her hand embroidery skills to bring the illustrations to life. She uses unconventional materials and makes them conventional with the use of hand embroidery techniques, using materials such as straws, scubis (plastic string), pipe cleaners, hair bobbles and pom poms to add texture and 3D elements alongside the use of 3D beading techniques, Goldwork, Crewelwork and Raised Work techniques.

Erin hopes that, whether from the city or not, her work brings you joy and puts a smile on your face! Besides creating pieces for sale, her ambition is to display all works in the city of Hull, helping the city to achieve the recognition for creativity that it deserves!

Top Tip: “My Top Tip for future RSN Degree students or fellow Embroiderers is to believe in yourself and not give up! Believe me there have been many times on the course that I got stressed, had a little cry and wanted to give up but the end result of whatever you are doing, whether it’s a new technique or design work, will be worth it even if it doesn’t work out how you wanted, its still a new skill you have learnt and you never know when you might need to use it!

At the RSN you will grow as a person and an artist, you will learn so many valuable skills and work on some amazing projects so just enjoy yourself and the time you have there as it will fly by! University is all about learning and trying new things so don’t hold back, be creative and just have fun! By the end of your degree if you are anything like me you will finally have your own style and feel confident in yourself and your work!”

You can listen to Erin being interviewed on BBC Radio Humberside and watch her on BBC Live North.

You can follow Erin on her Instagram page.


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