Hand Embroidery for Fashion, Interiors, Textile Art

BA (Hons)

2018 entry

This world-renowned course is delivered by the Royal School of Needlework (RSN) in dedicated studio facilities at Hampton Court Palace. This is the only full-time BA degree programme in hand embroidery.

As a student on this course, you’ll immerse yourself in the art of hand embroidery, exploring traditional techniques within a contemporary context to develop your own creative practice. You’ll study in small groups with close support and guidance from experienced academics and professional RSN embroiderers. 

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Length of study:

Three years full-time

Starts:

September 2018

Campus:

Royal School of Needlework

UCAS code:

W740

UCAS institution code:

C93

UCAS campus code:

N

Course overview:

Our Hand Embroidery for Fashion, Interiors, Textile Art course has been designed to provide a dynamic experience that connects your individual practice with textile and design theory, along with a strong base of technical hand embroidery.

Preparing you for a successful career in the industry is a key focus, and you’ll be encouraged to involve yourself in professional opportunities – deepening your awareness of current practice within your chosen speciality. The RSN’s long-established, international industry links provide live projects, as well as industry insight from guest lecturers. 

Renowned for the creative expertise of its students and graduates, the Royal School of Needlework’s studio also produces bespoke hand embroidery for private commissions, giving students an opportunity to work on a number of high-profile commissions. Our connections have included work with Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen: hand embroidery for the wedding dress of HRH The Duchess of Cambridge; Burberry ‘Makers House’ and Thomas’ café: bespoke hand embroidery in collaboration with The New Craftsmen; Red Carpet Green Dress: hand embroidery for the Oscar dress worn by actress Naomie Harris OBE; Nicholas Oakwell Couture: the couture gown modelled by Erin O’Connor for the GREAT Britain Campaign and worn by X Factor judge Cheryl at the 2015 live finals; Hussein Chalayan for Paris Fashion Week; and Jasper Conran for London Fashion Week.

Hand embroidery is both a diverse and specialist subject but it opens up a wide range of career opportunities. Degree Graduates from the Royal School of Needlework have progressed to roles such as embroidery artisans for couture and fashion, studio embroiderers for film and TV costume, freelance embroidery designers, studio designers for interior design companies, and independent designer-makers. 

Thanks to generous supporters, RSN is able to make bursary awards to some of its Hand Embroidery students.

Course content - 2018 entry

In the first year, you'll be introduced to the University and the technical workshops and facilities available to you. On the course you’ll learn the technical and conceptual skills that will give you a solid foundation from which to explore your areas of specialist activity.

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change.

Course modules

  • Research and Experimentation 1

    Provides you with the underpinning research, visual and design skills necessary to inspire, inform and extend your hand embroidery practice.

  • Introduction to RSN Technical Stitch

    Introduces you to the practice of hand embroidery, exploring a syllabus of formal stitch structures. These include canvas work, blackwork, crewelwork, silk shading and foundation goldwork.

    There is a studio fee to ensure everyone has access to the same high quality materials for the Technical Stitch units. This is approximately £130 for first year students and approximately £60 for second year students.

  • Textiles in Context 1

    Contextual frameworks for textiles within fashion, interiors and textile arts will be introduced in order to locate your practice within the wider cultural field. You'll also be introduced to some key resources for your understanding of the critical and contextual aspects of textiles, including London and UCA museums and archives.

  • Application for Fashion, Interiors, Textile Art

    Introduces you to methods of structuring a 500 word personal research proposal in response to a set project brief. You'll be expected to utilise your knowledge of hand embroidery processes in relation to the disciplines of fashion, interiors or textile art.

During this year you'll have the opportunity to begin to specialise in one of three areas: fashion, interiors or textile art in, for example, your application of stitch technique, research, experimentation and for your work placement. You'll also be expected to work at a more advanced level. Specific projects may change from year to year so these will be given in the course handbook, rather than detailed specifics in the unit descriptors.

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change.

Course modules

  • Research and Experimentation 2

    Builds from the knowledge and experience you've gained. This unit enables you to develop and further your knowledge of visual research methodologies, design development processes and experimental approaches to stitch which will inform your evolving practice of hand embroidery and direct your work towards a defined outcome.

  • RSN Technical Stitch for Fashion, Interiors, Textile Art

    Provides you with an advanced level of practical skills in hand embroidery. You'll explore a syllabus of stitch structures including whitework, raised work and advanced goldwork.

    There is a studio fee to ensure everyone has access to the same high quality materials for the Technical Stitch units. This is approximately £130 for first year students and approximately £60 for second year students.

  • Textiles in Context 2

    Encourages you to position your own practice in fashion, interiors and textile art by recourse to a variety of theories, contextual frameworks and critical evaluations. It introduces a variety of research methods to facilitate independent study towards coherent, self-reflective argument in written form.

  • Live Project

    Provides you with the opportunity to develop a personal response to one or more 'live' or simulated project(s) to advance your knowledge of hand embroidery practice within the areas of fashion, interiors or textile art.

At this level, all your work will be expected to synthesise your prior learning and be focused on your area of particular interest: fashion, interiors or textile art, including your dissertation topic, your research and experimentation and your major project, as part of your preparation for your future career.

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change.

Course modules

  • Research and Experimentation 3

    You'll begin this unit by preparing and presenting an illustrated PowerPoint proposal of 500 words with supporting bibliography/literature review. This will be presented to staff and peers and will communicate the key elements of your conceptual, practical, technical, aesthetic and theoretical intentions for the unit.

  • Combined Dissertation or Critical Reflection

    A substantial period of sustained, individually negotiated research on a subject that's likely to be related to the contextual and/or theoretical concerns of your discipline or chosen area of practice, towards the provision of structured written argument.

  • Major Project for Fashion, Interiors, Textile Art

    Your major project should be original, ambitious, and challenging, using concepts and techniques which are at the forefront of your discipline. The final outcome/collection/portfolio/artefact will be located within one of the following areas: fashion, interiors, textile art or a related area. You will conclude the unit by presenting a resolved and professionally presented outcome/collection/portfolio/artefact.

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change.

Course modules

Course staff

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International study

Find out more about studying in the UK, or studying part of your course abroad at one of our partner institutions (study abroad option not available on all courses).

Course connections

On this course, you'll be exposed to a world of opportunities

Renowned for the creative expertise of its students and graduates, the Royal School of Needlework degree students have been selected to work on a number of high-profile commissions.

Our recent connections have included:

  • Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen: hand embroidery for the wedding dress of HRH The Duchess of Cambridge
  • Red Carpet Green Dress: hand embroidery for the Oscar dress worn by actress Naomie Harris
  • Nicholas Oakwell Couture for the GREAT Britain campaign, an ostrich feather embellished couture gown modelled by Erin O’Connor and worn by Cheryl Versini-Fernandez at the UK X-Factor Live finals
  • Hussein Chalayan for Paris Fashion Week

 

 

 

 

  • Patrick Grant and E.Tautz for London Collections Men
  • Giles Deacon for London Fashion Week
  • Jasper Conran for London Fashion Week
  • Liberty Art Fabrics Interiors and the V&A Museum of Childhood’s ‘Small Stories: At Home in a Doll’s House’
  • Marks & Spencer and Oxfam ‘Love Mum – Shwop’ campaign.

Hand embroidery is both a diverse and specialist subject but it opens up a wide range of career opportunities. Degree graduates from the Royal School of Needlework have progressed to roles as:

  • Embroidery artisans for couture and fashion
  • Studio embroiderers for Film and TV costume
  • Freelance embroidery designers
  • Studio designer-makers for interior design companies
  • Independent designer-makers
  • Hand embroidery and textile tutors for Higher Education and Further Education
  • Teachers
  • Postgraduate researchers and academics.

You may also like to consider further study at postgraduate level.

How to apply - 2018 entry

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Entry requirements - 2018 entry:

As a leading creative arts university, we want to attract the best and most creative minds in the country – so we take a balanced approach to candidate assessment, taking both individual portfolios and exam results into account. 

That’s why your portfolio is an especially important part of your application to study with us – and we can help. Our academics can offer you expert advice on how to showcase your creative work and build a portfolio that will make your application stand out. More advice on how to create an exceptional portfolio is also available here.

Entry requirements

Along with your portfolio, the standard entry requirements* for this course are:

One of the following:

  • 112 new UCAS tariff points (equivalent to 280 old UCAS tariff points), see accepted qualifications
  • Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art & Design (Level 3 or 4)
  • Distinction, Merit, Merit at BTEC Extended Diploma
  • Merit at UAL Extended Diploma
  • 112 new UCAS tariff points from an accredited Access to Higher Education Diploma in appropriate subject.

And four GCSE passes at grade A*-C and/or grade 4-9 including English (or Functional Skills English/Key Skills Communication Level 2)

Other relevant and equivalent Level 3 UK and international qualifications are considered on an individual basis, and we encourage students from diverse educational backgrounds to apply.

*We occasionally make offers which are lower than the standard entry criteria, to students who have faced difficulties that have affected their performance and who were expected to achieve higher results. We consider the strength of our applicants’ portfolios, as well as their grades -  in these cases, a strong portfolio is especially important.

Your portfolio

Your portfolio should include an edited selection of your best work. Ideally we will want to see evidence of visual research including a range of approaches to drawing from primary and secondary sources; an exploration of your research developed through design sheets, sketchbooks and maquettes; evidence of practical exploration through materials which may include textiles and embroidery. Sketchbooks which show your research methods and critical thinking skills, essays and contextual research including gallery visits are all important components of your portfolio.

More portfolio advice

Fees & finance

Uncover all the costs involved, as well as the grants, loans and other financial support you may be entitled to.

Student regulations

Find out more about the operation of our courses, student conduct, assessments and examinations.

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