We are excited to launch the global ‘RSN Postcard From Home’ hand embroidery challenge! The challenge is open to everyone from around the world, regardless of their technical level of stitch, with the aim of making us all feel connected through our universal love of hand embroidery.
Join in the challenge — tag your Postcard images with #RSNPostcardFromHome on Instagram, Facebook and other social sites!
The ‘RSN Postcard From Home’ Challenge is connecting with new faces and new stories all over the world. Here are some of those stories:
- Julie from Adelaide, Australia
- Sarah from Durham, UK
- Rosie from Harborne, Birmingham, UK (Second Postcard)
- Hope from Hahnville, Louisiana, USA
- Alice from St Albans
- Gina from Buffalo, NY, USA
- Eliza from Riga, Latvia
- Paula from Basingstoke
- Aylén from La Planta, Buenos Aires, Argentina
- Kelli from Seattle, Washington, USA
- Lara from Homewood, Alabama, USA
- Marina from Milan, Italy
- Laura-Jane from Camborne, Cornwall
- Rodney from Spalding, Lincolnshire
- Stephanie from Essex
- Janine from Bristol
- Sheila from Merseyside
- Rosie from Harborne, Birmingham, UK
- Jo from Tamworth
- Katherine from West Sussex
- Teresa from East Mersea Island, Essex coast
Sarah from Durham, UK
This is actually an accidental mis-quote (originally was ‘United We Stand. 2m apart.’ by BBC series ‘Doctor Who’). I like the irony!
On my early morning walks in March and April, I loved watching the Forget-Me-Nots grow and flower. They remind me of those early uncertain days of the pandemic, so they made it onto the postcard too. I hand-stitched over some scraps of organza I had and then pasted the stitching onto a pretty piece of scrap-book paper I found, which was covered in wild flowers.
Rosie from Harborne, Birmingham, UK (Second Postcard)
Having enjoyed making a postcard for my little boy, I decided it was only fair to make one for my little girl too. She is only just 18 months old, but she already has a clear love of all things ‘art’. She will stare intently at paintings and tenaciously request any art supplies that she happens to spot. We recently have been reading a book about Paddington painting so, of course, there couldn’t be a better subject for my second postcard!
I knew she’d like it when she first saw it drawn out and immediately smiled, pointed and said, ‘Bear, Bear’. I painted the background while they were painting next to me and, in the end, I had a little bit of ‘help’ from them both!
They have taken a real interest in this project. It has even encouraged my little boy to have his first go at hand stitching. He’s made a little cross stitch tree for his Dad. It’s so nice to be able to share my love of embroidery with them.
This project has a few things wrong with it but, while I might normally have unpicked bits, in this case it feels right to leave it. It was made with my two little loves and I want them to see that I am proud to display what we did together, no matter whether it is perfect or not.
Hope from Hahnville, Louisiana, USA
My ‘RSN Postcard From Home’ was based on what has inspired me during lockdown. I am an avid admirer of art and, having so much extra time on my hands, I found myself doing quite a lot of reading my books on the great works of art, particularly Pre-Raphaelite paintings.
My piece is loosely based on Dante Rossetti’s ‘Astarte Syriaca’, created in 1877. I kept the three central figures and primary use of green shades, but added a landscape with sheep and hills. I also chose to weave in some Celtic motifs and Catholic symbolism.
Alice from St Albans
I have featured landmarks from St. Albans: The Cathedral, The Clock Tower and The St. Albans Museum and Gallery. On the top right I have used the crest of St. Albans. There is a rainbow in the design to represent all the rainbows that people have put up in their windows – to cheer people up and show their support and appreciation to NHS staff and key workers. I have also featured sunflowers as I love growing them and every year I try to grow them as tall as possible. It has been nice to have the time to stitch this postcard whilst on lockdown. I enjoy embroidery but normally don’t have much time to spend stitching in normal life. Many thanks.
Gina from Buffalo, NY, USA
Thank you so much for creating this post card challenge. I really enjoyed doing it and watching other people create theirs. As it will never be sent in the mail, it’s mounted traditionally. It was a hard decision to figure out what to do with it.
Buffalo, NY is on the east end of a 388 km long lake, so our sunsets are amazing. I used watercolors to capture a sunset, then, following traditional postcard graphics, put our skyline on the bottom. And even though bison never actually roamed where we are, that hasn’t stopped us from thinking the Buffalo spirit watches over us. I can only hope the Buffalo will see Buffalo through these challenging times, and have us stronger and better at the end.
Elīza from Riga, Latvia
Eliza is a 2nd year RSN Degree Student. “I have been inspired by USSR architecture and have been exploring it in recent months in my practice and wanted to exercise abstracting architecture. I pixelated some of the most recognisable buildings from Riga, Latvia, and worked them in Cross Stitch to create a skyline or a map.
This was a way of coping with extreme homesickness and being stuck in London for Covid-19. The reality is I don’t know if I will be able to get home this year at all as the third year is approaching fast and I had to comfort myself with some Riga architecture.
I have included the Latvian Television building and Tower, Academy of Sciences, Museum of Occupation, Vansu Bridge, Ministry of Agriculture, Ex Radio factory, and lower is Dailes Theater and my Apartment building of Series 602.
This little project has also been research for my third-year project, as USSR architecture is a phenomenon that I really enjoy exploring.”
Paula from near Basingstoke, Hampshire
“My postcard is an interpretation of a photo I took whilst on a walk with my husband in our favourite woodland whilst the bluebells were in bloom. It has been especially important to immerse ourselves in the beauty of nature during lockdown. Our walks have been soothing to the soul.
I took part in this challenge because I wanted to help record this impactful time in our lives through the medium of stitching. Thank you for setting this challenge, I have enjoyed creating my ‘RSN Postcard from Home’.
Aylén from La Planta, Buenos Aires, Argentina
“I am also known as also known as Alba Espacio Creativo. I am a designer and embroiderer, I use embroidery as my main tool. I am passionate about the design of its textures, shapes and colours. With this embroidery, I wanted to represent the situation that we are living in today and also raise awareness so that people stay at home. I first drew a house that seemed cute, happy, colourful and full of love. Then I embroidered it, deciding to leave it in the embroidery hoop so that I can hang it. I really enjoyed embroidering my ‘RSN Postcard From Home’ and I hope you like it. Thanks to the RSN for including me in this challenge and for showing my work.”
Kelli from Seattle, Washington, USA
“This is our home in Seattle, a city hit by the Covid19 pandemic first, and quarantined early. My husband and I sheltered at home long months with our teenage children and I found solace in my garden. I stitched this piece in late April when the lilacs returned. Lilacs remind me of my grandmother who was a baby in the 1918 influenza, and lost her father in that pandemic.”
Lara from Homewood, Alabama, USA
“I live in the US in Homewood, Alabama. Homewood is a suburb just south of the city of Birmingham, the largest city in Alabama. Homewood is a wonderful, supportive community and a great place to raise a family.
Homewood residents love the caterpillar at Central Park! Lots of public playgrounds have climbing caterpillars like this, so it’s not necessarily unique but this one has been around for close to 40 years and has been beloved by generations of children.
I remember playing on it as a child and loved taking my own children to make the climb to the top. Being bright red certainly adds to the charm! So, when I was trying to think of an image that represented Homewood, the iconic caterpillar quickly came to mind! It’s not perfect stitching but it was lots of fun. I’ll certainly stitch it again and hopefully correct my mistakes.
Thank you so much for the opportunity to share it! This was a great idea and lots of fun!”
Marina from Milan, Italy
“With my work as a ‘Milanese’ Embroiderer, I wanted to represent myself in the current situation, where I am unable to leave the house. Seated in front of my window looking at the Milano skyline. Milan Cathedral is always in my heart, wherever I am.”
Laura-Jane from Camborne, Cornwall
Designer and Embroiderer
“As a Textile Designer with a love for embroidery I have been stitching from a young age, taught by my mum where we would stitch together side by side. Graduating from Falmouth University in Textile Design, I am lucky that, as part of my job in collaborating with artists as an embroiderer, I get opportunities to work with diverse techniques. I also create designs for my own practice and am usually never found without a needle in my hand!
My Grandpa had just passed away from Coronavirus when I saw the ‘RSN Postcard from Home’ challenge in the weekly eNews and I knew straight away that I wanted to create something in his memory. Something to commemorate and symbolise saying goodbye.
Home is Cornwall and I wanted to re-create one of our favourite views of Botallack Mine, a group of mine stacks right on the cliffs. I wanted to take some time and take the opportunity of lockdown and decided to challenge myself to learn Blackwork, a new embroidery technique to me. Armed with the Blackwork RSN Essential Stitch Guide I set about creating my design, trying to choose patterns that would complement and represent the organic textures of the rugged Cornish landscape and sea.
I very much enjoyed this technique, its beautiful detailed simplicity giving me the chance to not only learn something new, but to dedicate it with an Appliqué balloon to my Grandpa and to all those who have suffered loss in these strange times.”
Rodney, 70, from Spalding, Lincolnshire:
Retired, married, 4 kids, 6 grandkids and enjoying life!
“I decided to stitch the RSN Postcard from Home after seeing the challenge on the RSN website. It’s just a small project that gives me the chance to mess about with stitches and a bit of design work. I had already done one last year for an Embroiderers Guild challenge and really enjoyed doing that so I did this one.
I’ve been cross stitching for about 30 years. I started when my wife gave me a small one to do on holiday in Scotland and it expanded from there. I was in the Merchant Navy for 31 years and I used to take a project to sea with me as it helped pass the time. I had a spell when I didn’t do much but have found a new lease of stitching life despite struggling with eye sight a bit. I have probably completed/started about 50+ quite large projects and numerous smaller ones, sometimes finished stuff that my wife has started.
Over the last 2-3 years, I have expanded into other stitching projects of embroidery and Kantha. I have done the Silk Shading ‘Robin’ kit by Masako Newton, which I bought from the RSN Shop. That was quite challenging! As an engineer I have a go at anything so I’m not sure what you would class as crafting but I enjoy decorating, cooking, gardening, woodworking. I swim 2/3 times a week and still compete in Masters events at 70. I run and walk. Enjoy National Trust visits. My wife Mary is very crafty too, knitting, crochet, stitching, jigsaws.
I am currently working on a Kantha project, it is my own design of a hot air balloon and I’ve just finished a family tree scroll in cross stitch, also of my own design. I do tend to work on my own designs lately and I’m also quite good at adapting designs and changing them around a bit.
I have done an RSN Day Class with Becky Quine (a fabulous Tutor). It was amazing! I won the Class in your competition at The Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace, London. I had hoped to attend a Framing exhibition this year, as I need to frame my Robin!”
You can see more images of Rodney’s postcards in our Postcard Gallery.
Stephanie from Essex
“I created this in the first weeks of lockdown. Thankfully I had some embroidery thread in my supplies and for the support I used the lining of an old curtain.
I had been reading a well-known author’s latest book set in the court of Henry VIII. The ladies of the court were often portrayed as working on embroidery. Times were uncertain then (as they are now), and it occurred to me that for hundreds of years women have sought solace from the peaceful absorption of creating pictures (often with meaningful symbols) in embroidery. My mind turned to Hampton Court and your long history of embroidery. I visited your website and I was inspired to take on this small project partly as it seemed a manageable size.
Regarding the design, I have been spending my time at home switching between keeping up with my office work (WFH) and also doing puzzles and crosswords to pass the spare time. These activities at times, appeared to become interwoven with no clear definition between work and home as all were undertaken in the same location. My mind is often ‘puzzling’ over the situation we find ourselves in and wondering how it will all play out – hence the missing pieces.
I drew in pencil around a section of puzzle onto the background cloth and sewed over the outline in the black thread, then added the letters in Chain Stitch. The decorations on the puzzle pieces are in Satin Stitch and Trellis Stitch and symbolise office spreadsheets crosswords. The colours of red (warm) for home and blue (cool) for business felt appropriate.
Although the result is far from technically perfect, I found the process of creating very therapeutic.”
Janine from Bristol
An RSN Diploma in Technical Hand Embroidery student in RSN Bristol:
“My ‘RSN Postcard from Home’ is of Bristol. I came here to university in 1976 and have stayed ever since so it’s really my city more than London, where I was born.
The Postcard features Concorde, the Matthew, and the suspension bridge with a balloon in the foreground to represent the annual Bristol International Balloon Fiesta at the beginning of August. The rainbow border is both for our diverse city and for our current difficulties.
I had got to a certain point of my RSN Diploma Blackwork as I could without tuition so the idea of the Postcard came just at the right time! This is a brilliant idea and I’ve had great fun doing it! I can only thank the RSN Tutors, mainly Deborah Wilding, for giving me the confidence to even have a go!”
Sheila, from Merseyside, UK
“Growing up, I always watched my Mum sewing and then, when I was old enough, she taught me some basic embroidery skills. Sewing now is a means of relaxation and an ever growing passion. Lockdown has allowed me to slow down and really appreciate what we have around us. Butterflies have always been special to me and, whilst sitting in the garden one day, I observed a butterfly going from flower to flower, reminding me of Mum and the days we have spent sewing together.”
Rosie from Harborne, Birmingham, UK
“As a family we love to read. My two young children who are 3 and 1 years old, both really enjoy books and often get lost in a make-believe world based on what we’ve read. Then came lockdown and the loss of our favourite things to do: visits to National Trust places; chatting to our favourite cow and rabbit at the farm; library and book shop trips; and, most importantly, time spent playing with much loved grandparents. When lockdown was announced, I made sure to stock up on a few new books to distract them and to spark their imaginations.
More than anything else, they seem to have enjoyed the Paddington stories. They unlocked a new world of make-believe that has fuelled our play for this lockdown. Even playing with teacups in the garden has been Mrs Brown’s café. The four of us have been every combination of characters; when I go out for the weekly shop I’m usually told that I’m going to Mr Gruber’s or Barkridges, and our house has almost constantly been referred to as ‘number 32 Windsor Gardens’. Our neighbour has even been called Mr Curry!
When I read about the ‘RSN Postcard From Home’, Paddington seemed the most appropriate subject. It was a good way to challenge myself and the first time I’ve ever used paint in embroidery. I wanted to create a picture of Paddington’s house because it has been our make-believe home and thought it would be nice to have the postmark as the date it was first published.
It is really helpful to have a project to work on and some time to focus on something other than children, although much of this was stitched with a little person on my lap. It was stress-relieving and great for my state of mind.
When this strange time is over and we look back, there will be plenty of emotions; anger, frustration, confusion, sadness. But when I look at this little postcard on my son’s bedroom wall I will remember the happy moments: playing games all together, the amazing imagination of my little boy, the laughter, and the explosion of my little girl’s first words. That is priceless!”
Jo from Tamworth
Jo, who is originally from North Wales, has lived in Tamworth, a large market town in Staffordshire, to the north west of Birmingham in The Midlands, from school age onwards.
“I’ve moved around for education and work, but keep coming back to the area! I currently work as an FE lecturer in a secure setting. The main depiction shows Tamworth Castle, made of sandstone, hence its unusual bands of colour and constructed largely in the 12th Century but the motte had been there since at least 1080, after the De Spensers were gifted the land following the Conquest. The motte is the 2nd highest in the country only exceeded by Windsor Castle which explains why the castle is so visible on approaching the town.
The flower beds are also a well-known local landmark, and I spent a lot of my childhood playing various incarnations of tig with friends, among the interconnecting pathways, and the planting has always been a source of pleasure for the vibrant colour and fragrance that evolves year on year. The unusual shape of the watercourse depicted denotes the natural confluence of two local rivers; the Tame (after which Tamworth is named – lit. ‘enclosure by the Tame’) and the Anker (the adjacent shopping centre to the castle grounds is called Ankerside, opened by the Queen in 1981).
The rope shape in the top right is the Staffordshire Knot which I’m told is a rather gruesome double noose by which two people could be executed on one rope, but is the symbol for the county. The flag beneath is the saltire of St Alban and is part of the arms of the Kingdom of Mercia, of which Tamworth was the capital. It was also the home of Aethelflaed, eldest daughter of Alfred the Great, following her marriage to Aethelred, Lord of the Mercians.”
Katherine, from West Sussex
“I am a graduate Surface Pattern and Print Designer. I live in West Sussex and am lucky enough to be surrounded by the Ashdown Forest. Every day I take a walk through local woodland and forest with my dog. I have been inspired by the natural beauty of my surroundings, wild flowers and plants to create small embroidered pictures.
My RSN Postcard From Home depicts Wild Garlic, free hand machine embroidery coloured with watercolour. At the beginning of lockdown I foraged wild garlic to make pesto which has sparked a joy during my time in lockdown.”
Teresa, East Mersea Island, Essex coast
“Thank you for asking me to share my finished postcard from home with you. We went for a walk during the first days of lockdown during the Covid-19 pandemic. There was a cloudless blue sky and a huge expanse of yellow in the field in front of our house. It was so peaceful and warm, you could hear a cuckoo call and a skylark overhead, and the swallows were returning too. Such an idyllic country moment which could never ever be enjoyed that day by all those who were sadly losing their lives. Such a bittersweet moment in our unpredictable world to be experienced from home. Thanks to the Royal School of Needlework for such a profoundly moving project.”