Hand embroidery – a stitch drawn with Richard McVetis

Ref: SWE13382

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About this course

Use traditional hand embroidery techniques to explore the slowness and rhythms of hand stitching, the versatility and strengths of embroidery for drawing and mark-making and how you can translate ideas into stitch.

Course Description

In this course, the tutor will draw on his love of stitching, paying attention to time, labour and care to develop an appreciation of the mindfulness of stitching.

You will explore a combination of traditional hand embroidery techniques, and learn how you do it and why you do it, and how you might translate your own thoughts and inspiration into stitch. You will explore the slowness and rhythms of hand stitching, the versatility and strengths of embroidery for drawing and mark-making and the pleasure in having time to make.

You will explore the following stitches: straight, running, seeding, couching, whipped and laced, back, fly, chain and blanket.

You will create textures and patterns, work a stitch in different threads, changing its scale and spacing, work freely and combine stitches to mark make and draw. Practical help will be given by demonstrating the many ways in which this can be achieved, using the most simple of hand embroidery techniques. No knowledge of particular and precise embroidery techniques are needed.

Richard will also give a small series of talks as inspiration and his work to help to develop an understanding of stitching a contemporary artist’s medium.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • A selection of threads to supplement what you bring will be supplied by the tutor for the use of the group.

What students need to bring

  • Please bring a selection of fabrics to embroider on, e.g. 30 x 70 cm, or bigger if you wish (you will use this as the base for all stitching throughout the course). It is important you choose fabrics which are easy to stitch on: calicos, woven wools, linen or similar.
  • A selection of traditional embroidery threads, e.g. stranded cotton or perle cotton, in a range of colours (must include a variety in black)
  • A selection of non traditional embroidery threads – from wool for knitting to wires, steel cords, laces (I will bring a selection with me), in a range of colours (must include a variety in black)
  • Any other materials you feel connected to and might want to use
  • Basic embroidery kit scissors, needles, embroidery hoop
  • Glasses for close work, if you need them

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Embroidery hoops (also available to borrow in the studio)
  • Embroidery needles – various sizes
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Pens/ pencils
  • Sketchbook/paper to draw on

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio. This includes stout covered footwear, i.e. no open-toes or sandals.


Richard McVetis

Richard studied at The Royal College of Art and has practiced as an artist since 2005. He is member of The 62 Group of Textile Artists and has exhibited across Europe, America and Korea. Richard is a finalist in the 2018 Loewe Craft Prize.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or advance your learning with our BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft: Materials, Making, and Place (six years part-time). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.