Sonja joined the RSN in 1991 as an apprentice at 16 years – one of the youngest apprentices on file. She graduated in 1994 and was fortunate to work on many prestigious commissions at the RSN’s Embroidery Studio, including the Duchess of Norfolk’s christening robe.
After graduating, Sonja became a freelance embroiderer, working for Watts & Co on church banners, altar frontals and priests’ apparel. Sonja also worked on a project by award winning milliner Philip Treacey – his infamous Black Galleon Ship hat worn by Isabella Blow on many occasions. Sonja returned to the RSN to work in the RSN Embroidery Studio in 2013 and gained a teaching qualification in 2014. Sonja has taught a number of Day & Evening Classes for the RSN around the UK as well as being part of the RSN Tutor team for the inaugural Online International Summer School in July 2021.
In 2020, Sonja was awarded The Beryl Dean Award for Teaching Excellence in Embroidery & Design in Textile Art. The judges were particularly impressed at how Sonja had adapted to online teaching during the pandemic and her passion for inspiring the next generation of young embroiderers. In 2021, Sonja helped inspire school children around the UK to pick up a needle and thread by creating a series of videos for the RSN’s schools project ‘Embroider a Selfie’. Sonja created four videos which are available to view on the RSN’s YouTube channel @RoyalNeedlework.
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