Nicola Jarvis studio – My 6 glorious days in Royal Leamington spa


Nicola Jarvis Studio

I was honoured to spend 6 days with one of the most enthusiastic people I have ever had the pleasure to meet. From the very start I was welcomed into her home and workplace.

For those of you who have not yet come across Nicola Jarvis, get onto google now ! A practising artist based in Royal Leamington Spa, Nicola creates beautiful and incredibly intricate drawings and paintings which she then converts into stitch

.lovedayNicola has been building on her wealth of knowledge since gaining her 1st class apprenticeship at the Royal School of Needlework in 1994.

Being hugely inspired by William Morris, the stunning 400 year old tree in her garden and all that inhabit it, Nicola found herself creating a range of enthralling embroidery and needlework kits. These kits are what I was assisting Nicola with while I was with her.

The very first day I was shown around her workplace shown some of her work and filled with lots of lovely tea and then we cracked on with some work. My first task was to organise and pack some of the embroidery Kits. Nicola is a believer in using British produce and Appleton Wools ( read more here ) feature highly in the Kits.

Good Kit Vs Bad Kit

Good Kit Vs Bad Kit

I carefully made sure that the wool was packed neatly and all in the same directing before measuring out other components of the kits and completing them, then came the best bit of the day……..

Nicola had arranged a visit to the Benton and Johnsons gold threads factory ! Never before had I thought there was so much work involved in creating gold and metal threads. I would highly recommend that everyone gives them ago if you’re looking for goldwork materials ! Don’t worry about the minimum limit on the website, call them up and they will sort out whatever you need . Also, you would be supporting a British company doing all the work themselves so give them ago ! !Below are a few pictures from my trip there where Neil very kindly gave me a demonstration on how each machine worked. I wont say too much now though as I think they deserve their own post so more on that later.

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Back at the Nicola Jarvis Studio I was shown how to properly frame up a piece of fabric ready for stitching. (Here’s a good video I found for anyone that would like to know how). I then started on a new colour way for one of the kits. The black bird was to become…wait for it… the BLUE black bird ! I started at the legs using a very small ( 3mm) split stitch and then started on the body with the same stitch.


Next came a seed stitch which was done in a beautiful metallic Madeira thread and then a satin stitch which was used on the fans just before his tail.



Then using  silk shading stitching I gave this handsome man a ruff, ( he’s really starting to come alive now ! )


then I started to fill in his face and give him some tail feathers along with the start of his wings.



On my final day I didn’t quite get around to finishing him but ill be popping down there again soon to finish him off.

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It’s safe to say that I had an amazing time with Nicola and have learnt so much from her in such a short space of time !  I’m truly looking forward to seeing her again soon!

I would recommend that anyone with a love for hand stitch and in need some  very important and useful work experience get in touch with Nicola.

For anyone that  loves embroidery and needlework kits , take a look at her website shop, they all have brilliant instructions with them and anyone can have a go !

Happy Stitching



One thought on “Nicola Jarvis studio – My 6 glorious days in Royal Leamington spa

  1. Hi Ashley – thank you for the glowing reflection of your time here in the studio, with me and my birds and flowers (and David of course). We loved having you here, as you were bright, fun, full of initiative and talent. The ‘Midnight Black Bird’ is patiently waiting for you to do some more on him, when you have time in your busy schedule – he’s not going anywhere, so we’ll look forward to seeing you sometime in May, or even June, or July. So glad to know you learned many things – I did from you too – all positive and valuable. Good luck with your work and research, and will hear from you soon. Nicola x


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