Aerial photograph from a plane of the Brook Street campus
13 February 2019

Student Has Her Future All Sewn Up

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One of our students is set to make a seamless transition into undergraduate study, after being offered a coveted degree place at the renowned Royal School of Needlework (RSN) at Hampton Court Palace.

Eliza Gomersall, currently studying the Foundation Diploma in Art & Design, received a conditional offer for the RSN’s BA (Hons) Hand Embroidery for Fashion, Interiors, Textile Art, a world-renowned course, and the only full-time specialist degree in Hand Embroidery in Europe.

She says “It’s a very prestigious course which only accepts 22 students in the first year, so I was shocked when I received the conditional offer at interview.”

Eliza’s work consists of intricate machine-embroidery and watercolour narrative scenes on fabric. The pieces pictured here are from a ‘reworking history’ project, inspired by pieces at The British Museum.

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She says: “I chose to study the Foundation Diploma course as I’d studied photography, fashion and art A-Levels and had established self-imposed boundaries which I wanted to break, really – and this course gave me the freedom to do that. My work was very tight and the Foundation Diploma opened my mind to experimenting with different mediums, helped me to loosen my approach and develop my own style. Its encouraged me to work quicker without restrictions and ultimately increase my work rate to that expected at degree level.”

Eliza attributes her chosen creative direction to her Nan: “She was a keen embroiderer and my inspiration, really. She taught me a lot and it’s her influence that first sparked my enthusiasm for it. She was really proud when she heard about my offer from the RSN.”

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“I really started to get interested in embroidery around the time of my GCSEs. I just wanted to learn a skill for life, and a skill that is getting rarer these days, so embroiderers are very much in-demand and the job opportunities are good.”

She continues: “The RSN degree incorporates live projects for prominent fashion houses, which are a great springboard to working freelance for Alexander McQueen, Ralph & Russo and others, which I hope to do when I graduate. I also want to do some volunteering work at schools to bring embroidery back into the picture and ensure it doesn’t become a dying art.”

Since its establishment in 1872, The Royal School of Needlework has taken on bespoke embroidery commissions for many important events. These have included producing the velvet cushions on which the royal crowns were carried into Westminster Abbey for the coronation of King George VI, creating gold embroidery for the coronation robes of Queen Elizabeth II and, most recently, hand appliquéing machine-made floral lace motifs onto silk net for the wedding dress of Kate Middleton, now HRH The Duchess of Cambridge.

The Foundation Diploma in Art & Design at West Kent College is the ideal entry route to a university programme in an art and design subject. An intensive one-year course, it prepares students for study at higher education in a very broad range of art and design specialisms. The wide spectrum of courses that our students then go on to study at university – including Graphic Design, Illustration, Games Design and Product Design - demonstrates the scope for progression offered by the course.

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