San Francisco School of Needlework and Design

San Francisco School of Needlework and Design
In our ultra high-tech world, it’s nice to take a break and work on something analog. The Maker movement has encouraged many of us to try knitting, weaving, woodworking, and other crafts. Needlework enthusiasts (and embroidery wannabees) visiting the Bay Area can find instruction, community, and art exhibits at the San Francisco School of Needlework and Design, located right off Union Square in the heart of the city.

SFSNAD was founded by two enterprising crafters, Lucy Barter and Ellice Sperber, both of whom were trained in England at the Royal School of Needlework. Together, the two developed a vision of continuing the history of world and American needlework by offering quality instruction and developing a community of crafters interested in preserving and furthering the stitching arts. Current research shows that these slow pursuits offer a range of health benefits in our increasingly fast-paced existence, and SFSNAD seeks to safeguard the continuance of these art forms by sharing knowledge, exhibiting finished pieces, providing a forum for scholarly discussions, and making these pursuits more visible. Currently, the center has three instructors, all with extensive backgrounds in the needle arts.

Never tried any kind of needlework? No reason to fear – a series of one-day introductory handwork classes is available, each course featuring a particular project in the service of teaching several different stitches (those who take the entire series will learn a total of forty-eight.) In addition, a three hour “Bite Sized Embroidery for Beginners” class is available for those wanting a shorter training.

Intermediate or advanced crafters can also further their knowledge here. Classes are available on specific techniques including but not limited to blackwork, embroidery, crewel, applique, counted thread, and stumpwork; one can also take a class on finishing and framing work after the stitching itself is done.

For dyed-in-the-wool aficionados of the craft, SFSNAD offers retreats twice a year. These are week-long programs where students can focus on specific techniques or simply trouble-shoot with instructors to further their knowledge. Curricula is designed individually per students and the retreat is set up to maximize participant learning and enjoyment.

Several days a week, the center offers ‘stitch-ins’ – times when you can simply drop in and enjoy the company of other crafters while you work on your own piece. Between projects? Pick up supplies at the shop, which is open during the stitch-in hours. In addition to practicing your own skills, visit the gallery and see what others have created. SFSNAD encourages all to think of themselves not as simply crafters, but as artisans developing personal portfolios and interacting in a worldwide artistic environment.

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with SFSNAD.

San Francisco School of Needlework and Design, 360 Post Street, Suite 604, San Francisco, California, 94108. (415) 604-1104.

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