Royal School of Needlework

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Embroider a Selfie

A project for schools from the Royal School of Needlework

Supported by the Worshipful Company of Girdlers

The pilot project is aimed at Secondary Schools and focused on Years 7 and 8, though it could be used with older pupils.

The Royal School of Needlework is going to provide a kit of threads, needles, fabrics, some hoops, scissors and other equipment to enable students to create their own Selfie in Stitch (rather than on their phones!)
A booklet of ideas created by Degree students and others at the RSN will also be provided. This kit can be used in textile/art classes or as an end-of-year project, alternatively as a lunchtime or after school club initiative.
We have also given teachers from 50 schools the opportunity to learn some stitch directly from an RSN Tutor at one of our four centres: Durham, Rugby, Bristol or Hampton Court, London.  These have taken place apart from the one in Bristol.
The RSN is introducing this project as a great way to introduce what will be a new activity to many pupils (girls and boys) which may inspire them to become students of hand embroidery in the future. But more than this, we are also promoting hand stitch as an opportunity to do something slowly. Since the First World War, the RSN has also taught stitch as a positive approach to both physical and mental wellbeing. Stitching has an enforced slowness and concentration that allows other parts of the mind and body to pause and heal which is good for all-round wellbeing. A typical classroom at the RSN which can have students from 18 to 80+ is a calm, quiet place of focused activity.
This kit will hopefully enable teachers to introduce something new to your pupils, learn something different, but also have fun. Stitch does not have to be serious and although the RSN is known for technical excellence this is not what we are looking for here. We are looking for participation and imagination in how people might portray themselves.
The project is for all members of a class, boys and girls and the booklet will also show how students who may not want to portray their face can also participate.
We encourage students to share their work with us on social media, using the project’s hashtag: #RSNSelfie
As a pilot project there are only 100 kits available so schools will have to bid to participate.  The project is open to secondary schools in England and Wales at this time.
If you would like your school to benefit from this programme and apply for the chance to receive the free kit and training, please send an email to with the following information:
  • The name and address of the school 
  • Your name and email address at school
  • Your role at the school
  • How would you envisage using the kit?
  • Why should your school have this opportunity?

The RSN will select schools based on commitment of the teacher to this project, geography linked to the training locations for half the kits, catchment area of the school with priority for schools in more disadvantaged areas.
The RSN is extremely grateful to the Worshipful Company of Girdlers for their support for this initiative.
Work pictured (from top): BA (Hons) Degree students Bethany Duffy, Elena Thornton, Jonel Van Schalkwyk, Eve Pavis, Eleanor Thornton

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