It is wonderful to introduce you to our latest tutor to join the team, Mandy Ewing. The former Royal School of Needlework Studio Manager, Mandy has taught and worked with a number of our Festival tutors before.
Mandy’s reputation for her exceptional needlework has led to many commissions, and these have including two from the British Royal family.
As RSN studio manager Mandy oversaw the work creating the bespoke lace on the then Kate Middleton’s wedding dress, veil and shoes for her wedding to Prince William, Mandy received an invitation to the ceremony and was featured in Hello! magazine.
Phillipa and Mandy have worked together on two joint projects previously, creating a lecturn fall for the 350 year anniversary of The Broderer’s Guild and an embroidered woolsack for the Golden Jubilee of HRH Queen Elizabeth II. Following this piece, Phillipa and Mandy were invited to attend a Queen’s Garden Party.
Mandy is a graduate of the Royal School fo Needlework, where she held the post of tutor as well as Studio Manager. We are so fortunate to have such a talented embroiderer as part of our team.
Ahead of our Lady Anne’s Needlework Festival, we had a chat with Mandy so she can share a little more about her needlework passion.
Why and how did you become a needlework tutor? Did anyone or thing, in particular, inspire you?
As part of my three-year apprenticeship at the Royal School of Needlework (RSN) I was a teaching assistant, which I really enjoyed. When I completed my apprenticeship I then started teaching classes for the RSN.
What is your main needlework interest?
I have many needlework interests! I love traditional techniques; Goldwork, Raised Work. Long and Short Shading, Crewel Work and many more. At the moment I am interested in historical embroideries and the history of embroidery.
Do you have a favourite stitch?
My favourite stitch changes every now and then. At the moment my favourite stitch is Elizabethan Knotted Trellis Stitch. This stitch is used in both Shakespeare’s Elizabethan Acorns and the Little Bird design for The Crewel Work Company.
If you had to choose one needlework possession to save in a fire, what would it be?
This is a difficult question to answer! I have so many things. I think it would be my sewing kit with all of my embroidery tools in it. My sewing kit is in a large tool box, I have all of my needles, scissors, pins, mellor, stiletto, thimbles etc…. in there.
When developing your designs, which activity takes the most time?
Some days I spend time designing, prep work, mounting finished pieces of embroidery.
How much time do you spend stitching each day?
If I am embroidering a piece of work it can be up to seven hours a day. I do have regular breaks so I do not get to stiff sitting in one position.
What is the best piece of advice about needlework you have been given and can share with our students?
Sometimes when I am embroidering a piece of work and I am struggling with an area or a stitch; I was told to leave it, and move on to another area. When you come back to it, most of the time it goes in straight away.
What advice would you give to students to get the most out of their workshop experience?
Work at your own pace, try and enjoy what you are doing, if a stitch goes wrong it’s not the end of the world – unpick it and try it again. If you really do not like a stitch you can always use a different one.
Have you taught at Phillipa and Laura’s retreats before?
I taught on the Stratford retreat (March 2020). Phillipa and Laura are so well organised, I enjoyed meeting the students, and I loved teaching Phillipa.
Thank you Mandy for your time and energy, we look forward to having you with join us online for our Lady Anne’s Needlework Festival 2021.