Janet Edmonds

Embroiderer, Tutor, Author


Janet Edmonds trained at East Berkshire College, Windsor and The University of Hertfordshire, completing a BA (Hons) in Art and Design in 1998. She has many years experience of teaching City & Guilds courses in Embroidery in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire, and also runs courses for the Embroiderers’ Guild. Her own work is mainly three-dimensional and is based on natural forms and landscapes. When not teaching, gardening and walking in the beautiful countryside where she lives provide Janet with the inspiration for her drawing, painting and stitching.

Check out Janet’s new title From Print to Stitch – http://www.searchpress.com/info.asp?EAN=9781844484591&page=search –  Publishing this October.

An Interview with Janet

Where were you born?
I was born in Dunfirmline, Scotland

What is your educational background?
I did not do well at school and I was the dunce of the family, but in the mid 80’s I had the chance to do a City & Guilds embroidery course at Windsor with Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn, and eventually I did a BA(hons) in Art & Design in 1997/8. I was a self taught potter before that.

What first got you interested in craft?
I have always made things and drawing, stitching, working in paper & paint is what I have always done.

How long have you been crafting?
I turned to embroidery after my first son was born as I couldn’t cope with messy clay and messy babies at the same time!

Where do you get your materials?
I collect materials from all sorts of places, and tend to buy them when I see them. More recently, I buy things online or at the big shows such as Knit and Stitch. I am now doing my best to recycle and use up what I have. I am not one to go for all the products that abound within the embroidery world as I prefer to keep things simple. Having said that I have just brought some organic inks that are fantastic, wonderful soft muted colours which do not contain any harmful substances and are wonderful to use. I bought these at Art in Action.

How/Where did Search Press discover you?
Roz Dace came to visit Missenden Abbey whilst I was there doing an embroidered caskets course. She saw my boxes and asked if I would like to do a book.

What were your first thoughts when asked to write a book?
I was delighted as it was an ambition that I had set myself to achieve. Daunted at the same time wondering if I could do it, but if you don’t try you don’t know.

Has being a published author changed your life in any way?
Yes, I am now better known within the field of embroidery and it has generated work in the form of workshops and writing articles for magazines. It has brought me a great deal of pleasure to think that people can be inspired by the work that I do. It is also very satisfying to set down my ideas in this form.

Any tips for beginners?
I would say ‘have a go’. You never know what is possible until you try. It brings great job satisfaction and forces you to think about your creativity.

What is your favourite craft tool?
This is a difficult question as I am torn between needle & thread and pencil & paper. Probably the latter.

Have you travelled for your craft?
Yes, I have travelled extensively within the UK. I have taught in Dublin, Scotland and the Isle of Man, but the furthest I have travelled is to the United States when I was invited to teach in Cleveland, Ohio. I’m terrified of flying but have never let that prevent me from taking up a challenge.

Where does your inspiration come from?
Inspiration comes mainly from the world around me, particularly organic sources. The coast of Great Britain is a neverending source of subject matter and I use more abstract ideas about time and change for the personal work that I make. Medieval artefacts, paintings and sculpture have inspired my stitched boxes in particular. Artists such as Andy Goldsworthy, Chris Drury and Richard Long have been very influential as have Kurt Jackson and many twentieth century ceramic artists, 900 years of English embroidery is a huge source of inspiration too, as are the students who come to my courses.

14 thoughts on “About

  1. My name is Bianca and I am studying Fine Art and Visual Culture degrees. I have contacted you because your textile works have influenced me and many others and I have referenced your work in various art research assignments for University.

    I am seeking your assistance with my art research in preparation for my own textile works. I hope that you could take a few moments to reply with a brief answer to 3 questions. ( i promise they wont take up much of your time).

    Your answers will be used in documentation for my assessment tasks and also, where appropriate will be incorporated into textile works themselves. If you would like to have your comments attributed anonymously I am happy to do so though if the only method of correspondence is this comments box it is rathe public! If this is something you might be able to do but want to keep your answers anonymous I am happy to do so via email or Facebook message or any other online way you prefer to assure anonymity.

    Question 1.
    As a textile Artist have you ever had the negative experience of having your work undervalued, considered women’s work, or considered a hobby, craft or “Not Art” by peers (other artists), family, friends or “the art world”. If so, what words were said that have stuck in your mind? (an exact quote is great, but a brief summation or the general gist of what was said is fine).
    (Please do not name the person who said these words to you, although using their title or their relationship to you would be helpful and appropriate, e.g. artist, relative, friend, lecturer, internet commentor, gallery owner etc. to put it in context.)

    Question 2.
    If you have had this negative experience, how did this make you feel about your art, and about your place in the art world? and did their comments make you change your work, give up on some aspect of the work or reevaluate your art practice in any way?

    Question 3.
    Would you be happy for me to attribute these comments to you and refer to you in my documentation for assessment, or would you prefer to have them attributed anonymously using a pseudonym? My work may also be placed in public spaces such as the internet, outside of University assessments.

    I will be contacting many other textile artists and asking them the same questions, so, do not fear that my work will only focus on your answers!

    Thank You for your time. I do appreciate your time and your willingness to share your experiences and come to the aid of a hopefully future textile artist.

    Sincerely, Bianca.

  2. I’m a huge fan of your work and am looking for ways to incorporate 3D embroidery into my felt pieces – thanks for all your ideas. I’m having real difficulty in getting hold of your book 3D Embroidery at a reasonable price (student) is it due to be republished or can you please suggest a stockist – nothing available in the UK on either E**y or Am**on currently. I live in Cumbria/Northumberland border – plenty of inspiration but alas no facilities. Would love to attend a workshop with you – Sandie

    • Hi Sandie
      Thank you for your kind comments. My 3d book is now available again so you should be able to get one. If you have trouble finding one, let me know and I can supply you.I haven’t got them yet but they are ordered.

      Best wishes

  3. Hi Janet,

    Please can you tell us when your next weekend course is.

    Many thanks,

    Sue and Lucy

  4. Dear Janet
    Do you travel to provide workshops? We are in North Wales and would be interested.
    Please get in touch to let me know, thank you Alison

  5. Hi Janet

    That sounds interesting, and I can circulate details to our branch, but perhaps you could also get in touch directly with me, to discuss booking you in the future?

    many thanks Alison Corfield

  6. Hello Janet, I have been a cerebral ‘maker’ all my life, now nearing 70 am finally exploring the practical possibilities from the many ideas stored away. I live in far north western Australia in the remote Town of Broome and stumbled across your inspiring book from Print to Stitch (2010) in the library yesterday. So today I am gutting out my shed to create a work space for textile, paper and colour experiments. Thank you for this unconscious gift, made more special as the manner in which you relay the methods and tool use is liberating, rather than intimidating. I now hope to purchase this book and will keep a watching brief on your endeavours. I know you will have many people contacting you, but would be delighted to have a response if you found the time. Belinda.

    • hello Belinda
      I am delighted to hear that you have been inspired by my book, ‘From Print to Stitch’. Print is very accessible and can give some lovely effects and can be complimented by adding stitch.

      I am much the same age as you and my advice is to get on and do the stuff you want to while you can and while inspiration is there.

      as you may see from my post that my new book, ‘ From Art to Stitch’ is out next month. I hope you will be similarly inspired by it.

      good luck with your experiments!


  7. Hi Janet

    Could you let me know if you are delivering your courses next year at venues that are open to anyone to attend as I would love to go on one. Also has Missenden Abbey stopped offering the C&G diploma course in embroidery. I have just finished the Level 3 certificate course at Westhope College.

    Thank you

    • Hello Trisha
      I am running Taking Textiles Further courses at Missenden Abbey. Please request a brochure where you can see the details.
      Unfortunately, Missenden is not taking any enrolments for Diploma for this year. I finish teaching this at the end of this year, June 2016. keep watching the website as they may offer it again the following year if a suitable tutor can be found.
      I am hoping to run some workshops at Chartridge Lodge later this year. I will post them as soon as I have set them up. I will begin with a sketchbook course. let me know if you would be interested.
      best wishes

  8. Dear Janet,
    As the programme secretary for the Basingstoke Branch of the Embroidery Guild I wonder if you might have some space in 2018 to come and speak to us/run a workshop. We meet on the fourth Thursday of each month with the exception of August and December.
    I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.


  9. I belong to an embroidery group that meet in the HUB at Sleaford. Do you come out to lead workshops. Thank you for your time.Cathie

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