HEN: Needle Magazine & more

I could just be inspired to try my hand at contemporary embroidery (read: hand stitching) after finding this interesting website. HEN is the Hand Embroidery Network, founded in the UK by Sarah Whittle. The network is an example of the way digital media affect a total concept; HEN started online and is only now flirting with print media. The HEN network includes online exhibits, online store, online book shop, online teaching resources. Members number around 750. Check out the HEN Blog. HEN has just published its first online magazine, Needle, and the HEN facebook discussion today asked about what price subscribers would be inclined to pay for a print version. The initial magazine is available as a PDF download.

Sarah writes on her website, “the idea for the Hand Embroidery Network came about one day, not long after having my second child Pippa Louise. I was feeling isolated and alone and thought how great it would be to connect with other people who did embroidery like me. I decided to start a local embroidery group but after posting leaflets here and there the idea fell flat as there didn’t seem to be any embroiderers living near by. I re-joined the Embroiderers’ Guild but there was no local branch I could easily get to with a 3 month old baby. So I had an idea why not create an online community and use the Internet skills that had paid my way through university. So I set up the HEN never dreaming that ten months later there would be over a 1,000 members.”

She continues, ” With the help of my husband Andrew, a talented graphic and website designer I have been able to turn the HEN into a Hub for hand embroidery. The HEN is a place where everyone whose passion is to stitch whether traditional or contemporary can come together and share this addiction. With this in mind and to cut a long story short, Andrew turned to me and said ‘wouldn’t it be great if we could create a magazine, a free magazine for everyone’ and I said wow lets do it and the idea for NEEDLE was born! I truly hope that you enjoy reading this magazine as lots of blood, sweat and tears and a very understanding six year old boy called Oscar have gone into it and that you take it in the spirit it is offered, as a way for us all to share something in a world where disease, war and the credit crunch casts such a dark shadow on all our lives.”

Well, we’ll see if I actually do any embroidery (I’m more likely to tackle drawing) but I’ve certainly bookmarked this website.