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Royal School of Needlework

Tracy is a tutor for the Royal School of Needlework Certificate course, and teaches the course in Durham City.

Royal School of Needlework

Certificate & Diploma

in Technical Hand Embroidery

Tracy trained at the Royal School of Needlework between 1991 and 1994 and continued to work at the school for a further seven years, before leaving in 2001 to become a professional self-employed embroiderer. During her time there, and after the apprenticeship in 1994, Tracy became one of the lead tutors for the Certificate & Diploma Courses and continues to teach the courses in Durham City today.

Tracy is now one of the longest established tutors of the Royal School of Needlework, and a key lead in its development.  She was the first to set up and run the course from another satellite in the north of England, starting in 2003, and since then other satellites have emerged across the UK, and around the world

The course

The course teaches the art of traditional hand embroidery.  Students work on individual projects and are taught one to one within a group, developing their techniques, and working on enhancing their skills.  Students will learn not only techniques, but also how to embroiderer using a slate frame, which they will learn how to assemble, and will learn how to professionally mount their work for framing.

Entry requirements

A little experience of embroidery is required, along with enthusiasm and commitment to the course.

Certificate course

The course is based on four core techniques including crewel work, silk shading, canvas work or blackwork, and basic gold work, with each technique or subject taught over a minimum of eight teaching days. After completion of each subject, the work is assessed by the Royal School of Needlework, with the total marks for each piece forming the overall result for the course.

Diploma course

After successful completion of the Certificate course, the student can then continue studies on the Diploma course. The Diploma course is made up of six techniques or subjects, also taught over a minimum of eight days, with three core subjects, and three further subjects as a choice from three separate groups.

Compulsory core subjects:

  • Advanced Silk shading - tapestry shading, or natural shading as an animal or bird
  • Advanced Gold work
  • Appliqué

Group one - either subject which was not worked as part of the Certificate course:

  • Canvas stitches
  • Blackwork

Group two - one choice of the following:

  • Stumpwork
  • Box making
  • Creative metal thread
  • Whitework Pulled & Drawn thread work
  • Whitework Broderie Anglaise & Richelieu


In Durham the course can be taught one of two ways, either by attending over a term for those students who are able to travel to Durham, or intensively as a block of two weeks, for those students who are not able to travel to Durham so easily. 

The course is now also taught online via Zoom, both as a group or individually one to one.


The briefs for the course are downloadable from the Royal School of Needlework Website.

Stock and equipment

As part of the course, it is required to work on a 24-inch pegged slate frame, and to purchase all the correct equipment, materials, fabrics and threads.  All this stock is available for sale from Tracy's studio.

Further information

The course offers flexible learning to suit your learning needs.  You’re able to pace the course as you wish, as booking of the course is booked online via the Royal School of Needlework through their booking portal, which will list the dates available in Durham studio.


Further work, and inspiration can be viewed on the RSNDURHAM Instagram account -

Registering & Booking

Embarking on the City & Guilds course for me was a "now or never" opportunity which resulted in two years of inspirational learning and rewarding completion of the Design and Stitched Textiles course. I now have a useful knowledge of many different techniques and much more confidence in the planning and use of these which will hold me in good stead for my further enjoyment of a very rewarding hobby. Under the guidance and encouragement of Tracy, I was given the opportunity to go just that bit further with my interest in textile art.

Judith, Level 3 City & Guilds

Upcoming classes

Come and join us at the studio or online - we can teach you specific skills or give you a general overview of techniques.

Thu 25th Apr 2024
Cost: £140.00
Sold out
Contemporary Whitework taught over 2 days in April and May.
Tue 30th Apr 2024
Cost: £45
Sold out
Couching findings, metal threads and wires
Tue 7th May 2024
Cost: £70
Sold out
An opportunity to learn traditional and contemporary hand embroidery in Tracy’s studio in Fowlers Yard, Durham City.

Latest blog posts

A Basic Silk Shading Tutorial . . . .
A Basic Silk Shading Tutorial . . . .
5th Aug 2020
Silk-shading uses a number of colours in cotton or silk threads, skilfully blended together to create the natural appearance of a flower, fruit, plant or animal.
12th Feb 2018
Interview with which is a great place for textile artists and art enthusiasts to be inspired and communicate with like-minded creatives.