Have Your Say

8th June 2023


This week’s Have Your Say sees us take a wander through our inbox as we share some of the conversations that have been started or continued in recent weeks through the many emails we receive at Inspirations HQ.

In ASU #363 we shared some thoughts on worth and how it applies to our time with needle and thread. The conversation struck quite a chord with the Inspirations Community so we continued the conversation in ASU #368 as we shared some of the many emails we received in response.

This week we’re picking up the conversation again as we share some of UK Designer Jo Butcher’s contemplations on the worth of her work.

‘We all undervalue what we do, I often find myself thinking, ‘If I can do it, anyone can. It’s just a bit of straight stitch with a few French knots – it won’t have taken long.’ How mistaken I am!

We are, on the whole, people pleasers and often think of a price that we think others will pay for something and omit the fact that what we do is one of a kind. The love and joy we put into our work shouldn’t mean we discount our hours and skill. Not everyone can stitch beautifully, and we all have our own unique way of designing our work. I’ve learnt that I’m not in competition with mass made work or large companies that produce hundreds of kits.

I’m a designer. My work is unique. My time costs.

And much as I love what I do, I still have a living to earn and bills to pay. When selling professionally, there are also many overheads involved that need to be included. Galleries charge commissions, stands at fairs cost, and then there’s the materials and the framing.

Therefore, please don’t undervalue your embroidery. If someone tries to haggle you down, ask yourself if you think their boss haggles with them before paying their monthly pay check?!

‘If your prices don’t make you feel uncomfortable about what you are charging, you are not charging enough.’

I read this recently and think that sums it up brilliantly!’

We think you summed this up beautifully too Jo! We know these thoughts were front of mind as you prepared for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, and I guess we’re all hoping you felt a little uncomfortable?! We trust you experienced every success as you shared your passion for all things needle and thread throughout this year’s show.

Kate, whose work we first shared in ASU #370, has a presentation problem for another piece she created with needle and thread and is hoping someone in the Inspirations Community might just have a solution for her.

‘I was wondering if any readers could give me some ideas on how to display or use a stumpwork piece I made ages ago but keep stored away with little idea on how to present it. It’s too bulky to frame, and due to the design is best viewed from above. I have bound it onto a piece of card to keep it flat, but as it’s been stored amongst other projects for many years, it’s getting a bit crushed which seems a shame given all the work I put into it.’

If you’re able to put forward a solution that would liberate Kate’s stitching from storage, we know she’d love to hear from you!

Finally this week, we share Isobel’s email written whilst watching the recent Coronation of King Charles III.

‘I’m currently in hospital watching the Coronation. In the background of the broadcast is the invitation received by the attendees. I’m thinking how beautiful this very floral artwork would be as an embroidered piece using stumpwork, surface embroidery, beads and perhaps a little goldwork. Kind regards, the girl with an unknown number of unfinished projects in the cupboard!’

Isobel, we absolutely agree, the invitation has needle and thread written all over it! Whilst we don’t have a pattern for the invitation itself, as some of the elements are very reminiscent of Susan O’Connor’s project, David Smyth’s Garden, that was published in the first volume of our Passion for Needlework series, our design team have worked diligently to create the Digital Pattern for this project which is now available using the link below.

David Smyth’s Garden – APFN Digital

Susan O'Connor
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We appreciate you sharing your thoughts with us Isobel, and for inspiring the creation of another Digital Pattern to add to our ever-increasing library!

Speaking of all things Coronation, in case you’re yet to hear the news, ‘The Royal School of Needlework was honoured and privileged to have worked on nine pieces for the Coronation of King Charles III. This includes His Majesty’s Robe of State, Her Majesty’s Robe of Estate, the Anointing Screen, The Chairs of State, Chairs of Estate, the Stole Royal and Sword Belt. This is the fifth coronation the Royal School of Needlework has worked on.’

Work in progress on the Commonwealth Tree – image courtesy RSN

We can think of no one more fitting than the RSN to take on the responsibility for such an historic occasion. It was amazing to see the prominence of needle and thread throughout the event. If you’d like further information about their work for His Majesty’s Coronation, you can visit their website HERE, and while you’re there, you can read more about their involvement with past Coronations HERE.

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