Royal School of Needlework. As you can see, it was Easter!
It was a Stumpwork Violet and Silk Shading class taught by Helen Jones. I chose it purely on the dates I had available and not for its content. Both Jenny Adin-Christie and Nicola Jarvis however, told me it would be a good class - and they were right.
We were located in the classroom with the square windows - the first time I have been in this room with its view over the courtyard, rather than over the grounds.
Wherever you look at Hampton Court it is interesting and visually attractive - even if a bit shabby.
We began couching wires and embroidering leaves using stranded cotton.
I did quite a bit of work overnight to finish the leaves of the violet so I could cut it out, plunge and assemble it the next morning. We had a bit of time on this in the morning of the second day.
Most of my fellow students sensibly chose to do the green leaf, rather than the five petals in order to have something to plunge!
I wasn't regretful, as I wanted to be as close to finishing as I could be, to avoid taking home another UFO. I managed to have the violet finished and attached by the end of the day, along with an attached stem in silk-covered purl
and the best part of a leaf. I had started, but not finished, the thread-painted violet.
Back at the hotel that night I worked to finish the piece. I finished it all, except for the beaded centre of the flower.
There was nothing I had not done before, but I learned a lot of techniques and tips. My stem to the silk flower is misplaced. I adapted to accommodate, but should probably have moved it. It remains as a reminder that
(1) violets are scraggly things and grow at odd angles
(2) I need to double check placement of purl.
Helen was a thorough, pleasant, relaxed and highly professional teacher. I benefitted - in technique, but also in enjoyment and relaxation.
It is interesting to be at the RSN classrooms, which are shabby, rambling and a bit ramshackle. You keep coming across wonderful pieces of embroidery sitting behind a makeshift display of current student work or items of interest.
It is a calm and pleasant environment in which to learn.
Once home, I found some gold pieces with which to fill the centre of the stumpwork violet. I then went searching for something on which to use it. This was not easy to find but I came up with a satin-covered box on Alison Coles' website and ordered one in green. I was very pleased with it and will, I'm sure, order more.
Mounting was pretty easy. The padded lid lifts off. I pinned the violet silk, cut it, gathered and lashed it,
It fitted quite snuggly, but I used double-sided tape to ensure it didn't dislodge
It caught Veronica's eye - so might end up with some birthday jewellery in it for her.
I'm really pleased with this result. I learned quite a lot in a really relaxed atmosphere with people who share some of my interests and finished up with an elegant, useful object to remind me of it.
What more could I ask for?