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I have been off the air lately due to limited internet access as I have been travelling around the U.K. visiting and stitching at the RSN satellite studios in both Durham and Bristol – with a fly by of the RSN Rugby site along the way.

This part of my stitching adventure started with picking up a hire car in Kingston and setting off for Durham in the north east of England. I was accompanied on this trip by my Husband who is keen on trains, so stops along the way included the Tram museum in Crich and the National Rail mueseum in York. After spending a couple of days exploring York and a visit to Whitby to see the Abbey we arrived at our apartment in Durham.


The Abbey at Whitby

Tracey Franklin has a wonderful studio in a historic part of Durham in a street just behind the main town market square. The studio consists of one main room with a mezzanine office level, and Tracey has packed it out with all sorts of embroidery goodies.  During my visit I was tutored by both Tracey and Pippa Foulds and I managed to commence my Diploma Canvas Stitches piece under their guidance.


While Appliqué is usually the first technique worked on the Diploma course it had been agreed by all that a framed up Canvaswork would be easier for me to cart around the country, considering the many separate pieces that can go into constructing Applique. Regular followers of this blog will not be surprised to learn that my Canvaswork piece has Oak leaves and acorns included in the design, though this time the Oak leaves have taken on a decided Autumnal hue. Autumn is certainly coming in the North of England now and we saw some beautiful leaf colours as we travelled around.

After three wonderful days a Tracey’s studio we bid goodbye to Durham and started the drive south to Bristol. Along the way we drove through the town of Rugby and I managed to get a quick snap of the front of the Arnold House were RSN C&D classes are held in Rugby.


The RSN satellite at Rugby

We arrived in Bristol in the late evening and early the next morning I headed to the studio of Kelley Aldridge in the Kingswood Estate were the RSN classes are held.  Kelley herself was in attendance an gave us a guided tour of her studio.  Due to Kelleys busy schedule with the RSN Future Tutors course, the four classes I took in Bristol were brilliantly led by either the vivacious Deb Wilding or the calming Lisa Bilby, and they were both assisted by Chrissie Mann. Both tutors had great ideas on elements or stitches to incorporate into my piece and assisted me greatly to move my Canvaswork along – though by this time I had come to realise that Canvaswork is probably not my favourite technique. I think after the excitement of the certificate classes I have found the repetition of preparing lots of thread bundles for various canvas stitches a bit slow going. On the up side you do get to use lots of interesting threads in this technique.


Entrance to the RSN Bristol

This has just been a very brief summary of what was actually a really great opportunity for me to see how others lay out and manage their studios. I gained insight into the space and equipment needed and a better appreciation of the hard work that goes on behind the scenes to ensure every student has a good experience from their time at an RSN school.

I am very grateful to both Tracey and Kelley for allowing to undertake lessons in each of their satellites. I have so many ideas running through my head on how I can set up my own studio space once I return home – no more spare bedrooms at my place!