Guild funding gives the art of embroidery a new lease of life Huddersfield embroidery technician Elnaz Yazdani

Scholarship funding from the Embroiderers’ Guild will enable Huddersfield technician Elnaz Yazdani to run tuition weeks on the skills of embroidery for school and college students

AT the University of Huddersfield, Elnaz Yazdani combines the latest digital technology with centuries-old handcraft skills when she introduces undergraduates to the art of embroidery.  Now, she has won funding to spread the message to school and college students.

Elnaz is an embroidery technician in the University’s School of Art, Design and Architecture, where she helps maintain the roster of advanced technology installed in the new Barbara Hepworth Building.  She also teaches and demonstrates a wide range of embroidery skills to students. 

Degree courses in varied dimensions of textiles are thriving, but Elnaz is concerned by a recent decline in the study of textiles and the creative arts generally in schools and colleges.  So, she conceived a project to run a course at the University and also pay outreach visits to share her passion for embroidery and its many possibilities.

Guild funding gives the art of embroidery a new lease of life

She applied to the long-established Embroiderers’ Guild for one of the postgraduate scholarships, awarded annually, and has been notified that she is the 2020 winner in the category aimed at the 18-30 age group.

Elnaz, aged 26, now has the funding to develop her idea for a course – titled Embroider Your Future – at which up to 25 participants will have a free week of tuition and the use of technology at the Barbara Hepworth Building. 

“I will also pay visits to schools for day workshops and a talk about the textile industry that will hopefully open their minds to the possibilities,” said Elnaz, who has been based at the University of Huddersfield for five years.

Study Textiles and Fashion at Huddersfield

She works with students who are taking a variety of courses in subjects such as fashion, costume and textiles.  The curriculum requires them to master digital embroidery – where designs are done on computer screen and the results are electronically stitched – but also to study traditional hand-stitching techniques.

“At our degree shows, you can see digital and traditional skills being combined, and that’s what the Huddersfield embroidery ethos is all about,” said Elnaz

She is a textile graduate herself whose initial aim was to enter the fashion industry until she developed a passion for arts education. 

Her own embroidery is highly contemporary in style, ranging from large wall hangings to sculpture and jewellery.  It harnesses ancient hand-stitching techniques, such as “goldwork” which dates back 1,000 years, although she also introduces a modern twist by using industrial and recycled materials.