National Stress Awareness Day: Embroidery is best!

Abigail Cox

Abigail Cox

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Royal School of Needlework (RSN) based at Hampton Court Palace, says that many of the 1000 plus students come on hand embroidery courses each year attend thanks to the therapeutic and stress-relieving benefits of embroidery which helps them re-focus their lives when in difficult circumstances.

The process of creating and following a design requiring total concentration; the soothing methodical and repetitive motion of taking a needle and thread up and down through fabric; the slow progression of a project as a antidote to the speed of everyday life and the use of colour to express emotion have all been quoted by RSN students as explanations of how embroidery helps them cope with the stresses of life.


Image courtesy of Anna.

The current emphasis on ‘slow crafting’, the popularity of the BBC programme ‘The Great British Sewing Bee’, numerous craft clubs, online forums and magazines giving easy access to designs projects and the inspiration of communities of like-minded people, all add to the stress-busting benefits of creative activities.

Jaqueline Nuttall from the International Stress Management Association (ISMA), says, ‘Although there are no scientific studies to support the claim that embroidery helps tackle stress, in general hobbies are considered to be stress reducers as is the social interaction of doing embroidery in a group environment.’


Image courtesy of Yumiko.

RSN Chief Executive, Dr Susan Kay- Williams says, ‘Embroidery is well known for its healing properties. In the First World War soldiers were taught needlework and other craft skills as they convalesced from the experiences of battle. In 1945 the RSN established an advice service for hospitals and nursing homes offering guidance on how best to teach embroidery to recuperating servicemen. Today the RSN’s courses attract a wide range of students, both men and women, including doctors, teachers and lawyers, who have chosen to use their limited free- time to learn embroidery and generally de-stress.’


Royal School of Needlework 

The Royal School of Needlework was founded in 1872 and is the international centre of excellence for the art of hand embroidery. Based at Hampton Court Palace in south west London the RSN offers a range of embroidery courses from day classes for beginners, a Certificate and Diploma course, a Future Tutors programme and a Degree programme – a BA (Hons) Hand Embroidery for Fashion, Interiors, Textile Art. As a unique institution the RSN teaches regionally throughout the UK in Exeter, Bristol, Rugby, Durham and Glasgow and internationally in the USA (San Francisco and Williamsburg) and Japan (Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya). The RSN Embroidery Studio undertakes new commissions and conservation work. Clients have included fashion designers, Oscar nominees, cathedrals, private individuals and the Royal Family.


Image courtesy of Chris.


International Stress Management Association – National Stress Awareness Day

This year, the 16th National Stress Awareness Day, will be held on Wednesday 5thNovember at venues all over the UK and promises to be an exciting and fruitful one. Our theme is Stress: the balancing act. It is sometimes difficult to keep the balance right in terms of work, play and lifestyle. Helping to raise awareness of the numerous solutions that are available to achieve this balance is an important one in ISMA’s calendar.

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