A Career from a Passion

4 June 2019 17:46
Sara Dennis, embroidery

Sara Dennis (Art History & Culture, 2001, Graduate) talks about her study at Lancaster and making a career out of her passion.

I hated education the first time around, but after a career in nursing and the forces, I decided to give it another go. So, I enrolled on the Contemporary Art History course at Lancaster. What a revelation! Learning, I found, could be exciting, interesting and engrossing. I particularly enjoyed the Museum Studies module which culminated in an exhibition at the City Museum. I left Lancaster with a first-class degree and an alumni prize, but more importantly a renewed enthusiasm for learning.

Years later living in London, I decided to follow a life long passion for textiles and joined the Future Tutor Programme run by The Royal School of Needlework, based at Hampton Court Palace. After a three-year full-time course (about 80 hours of stitching a week), incorporating all embroidery techniques and studio work, I qualified as a hand embroidery tutor, winning the Outstanding Achievement Award, for a project with Combat Stress.

I have been lucky enough to work on several high profile RSN commissions: an evening gown designed by Nicholas Oakwell Couture for the GREAT Britain Campaign, ‘Magna Carta (An Embroidery)’ designed by artist Cornelia Parker for the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta, the Game of Thrones ‘Hardhome Embroidery’ and Burberry’s ‘Makers House’ in partnership with The New Craftsmen. I have also exhibited at Hampton Court Palace and Alexandra Palace and created a bespoke commission for St Olave’s Church in the City of London. 

As well as Day Classes, the Certificate and Diploma, Summer Intensive Certificate and Degree modules at Hampton Court Palace, I have taught at the Victoria & Albert Museum, The British Library and The Royal Free Hospital. I teach and curate nationally and internationally, with a week of classes this summer at The Storey Institute in Lancaster. I am based in my studio at Farfield Mill, Sedbergh, with Violet the lurcher.

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