A Home for Artists & Artisans

San Francisco School of Needlework and Design was founded in 2015 by passionate embroiderers, Lucy Barter and Ellice Sperber. Ms. Barter was trained as an apprentice at the Royal School of Needlework in England and ran their courses in the United States for eight years. Ms. Sperber earned her Diploma at the Royal School of Needlework. The two met during the US-based courses and began envisioning a school of needlework that was not only based in the United States, but would bring a fresh and modern creativity to the art form.

Our goal is to inspire the next generation of hand-embroidery artisans, building on traditional knowledge with updated skillsets, expanded technical abilities and a fluent understanding of the vast methods.

The Needlework Tradition

Hand embroidery is one of the world’s most ancient crafts – found in cultures worldwide. There is a long and well-documented story of American needlework, as it was taught as a part of a girl’s formal education from the colonial period through the Victorian age. When teaching the craft ceased to be a formal part of a girl’s education, the art form survived as the knowledge was passed along in families.

Needlework today is pursued both for art and fashion, yet few schools provide top-flight instruction and support for needlework artists and artisans. San Francisco School of Needlework & Design offers a wide range of technique classes taught by experienced and dedicated masters of the art – and a welcoming, collegial environment for sharing the pleasures of this slow and infinitely rewarding craft.

Together, we will create contemporary designs and art to bring this slow craft through the hyper-fast world of the 21st century.