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Nicola Jarvis Profile
Meet Nicola

I look upon myself as an artist who uses drawing, painting and stitch in order to make my work.  I have a beautiful studio in Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, where I live with my husband David and our golden retriever Quince.

When looking back on my life I feel supremely blessed to have designed and taught embroidery for over thirty years, and since my apprenticeship training at the Royal School of Needlework, I have used stitch in a wide range of applications and teach my craft internationally to people of all ages and backgrounds. Recognition for these skills came in 2018, when I received a Commendation from the prestigious Beryl Dean Award for Excellence in Teaching. 


With a First Class Honours degree in Fine Art Printmaking (Manchester Art School), a Masters degree in Fine Art Drawing (Wimbledon College of Art) and a Certificate of Education (University of Greenwich), I was part of the team that wrote, launched and delivered the Foundation Degree and Honours Degree curriculum at the Royal School of Needlework.


Alongside teaching and assessing at the Royal School, I was hired for ten years to make sample embroideries for British garment manufacturers including Coats Viyella, Courtaulds Textiles, Jaeger, Marks and Spencer and Sun Hing Knitting.  But my very best ‘fashion’ job was being part of the team that created the appliquéd lace for Catherine, the Princess of Wales’ wedding dress.

Nicola Jarvis Studio, Small Blue Butterfly
Nicola Jarvis Studio, Leaves
Nicola Jarvis Studio, butterfly

Awards & achievements

In 2010 I was awarded Overall Winner of the ‘Inspired by Morris’ exhibition at the William Morris Gallery, London, and went on to stage my solo show there in 2013.  ‘The Art of Embroidery: Nicola Jarvis and May Morris’ was based on the design practice of William and May Morris and showcased the stitching skills of over 30 international embroiderers.


Funding from Arts Council England enabled me to become Artist-in-Residence at the gallery from July to September 2013.  My show then toured around Arts and Crafts houses in England, including National Trust property Wightwick Manor in the West Midlands, Kelmscott House in Hammersmith, London and Blackwell House on Lake Windermere.


Over the last decade I have enjoyed delivering site-specific embroidery courses in stately homes, museums and other venues across the UK, Europe and USA.  Projects include collaborations with textile historian Lynn Hulse of Ornamental Embroidery, where we co-delivered object-based learning programs at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.  These courses culminated in an exhibition of contemporary raised work caskets entitled ‘The Needle’s Excellency’ at the museum in 2017, and a collaborative exhibition ‘The Needle’s Art’ at the Bodelian Library, Oxford in 2022, showcasing twenty embroidered artworks inspired by the Ashmole 1504 model book/manuscript. 


However, my most recent honour was an invitation to contribute to the embroidery on the Anointing Screen for the coronation of King Charles III in May 2023.

Nicola Jarvis Studio, Thrush embroidery
Nicola Jarvis Studio, Blossom Wood
Nicola Jarvis Studio, Robin (crewel)
I am known in my family and friendship circles for loving what I do for a living and am the embodiment of the saying, ‘choose a job you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life’.  I am extremely privileged to have found the world of embroidery early in my career and developed an artistic practice that brings pleasure not only to myself, but a great many people besides.
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Nicola Jarvis Studio, Bird
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