Victoria Rose Richards is an Autistic biology graduate and embroidery artist from Devon, UK. The geometric shapes and textures she sees in nature, inspire her embroidered aerial views and abstract landscapes.
How Long Have You Been Stitching For?
I’ve been embroidering on and off for half my life but only began focusing on it in the summer of 2018, finally settling on landscape embroidery in October that year too.
What's Your Favorite Stitch?
French knots! I love their versatility and the different sizes, heights and textures you can get with them.
How Did You Learn to Stitch?
I’m self-taught and learnt all stitches from trial and error while at university. I mainly just kept at it but for a few stitches I had to watch tutorials (like the knots types).
What Are Your Embroidery Essentials? (thread/accessories)
6-strand cotton threads, tapestry wools and felt are the top ones. I like collecting sewing scissors too and my favorite pair looks like a pink flamingo!
What Inspires You?
Mainly the Devon landscape – I’ve lived in rural Devon my whole life and being constantly surrounded by the landscapes here means they’ve had a huge influence on my art. The patchwork fields, clusters of trees, forests, winding rivers and countryside roads and the main aspects of all my landscapes.
What’s Your Favorite Piece of Work?
I think my favorite is the largest I’ve ever created – an 18-inch hoop titled ‘A peaceful place (somewhere out there)’. I really had to push myself outside my comfort zone to make it, as when I started making aerial embroideries I focused on small pieces around 3-6 inches in size. This piece showed me how much I have improved from when I started and that I can keep improving and pushing myself.
What Difference Has Stitching Made to Your Life?
It completely changed my life for the better – when I began in 2018 I was in a very bad place mentally. I’d had a turning point 18 months earlier when a school friend of mine passed away and it put me in a downward spiral. I first began embroidering again as I was looking for something to fill my free time to avoid dwelling on this.
Once it really began to take over my life, when I finished university in 2019, I felt myself and my state of mind improving. Getting lost in creating and repeating the same stitches over and over is so helpful and the fact others love my work and want to own it means I can continue creating for as long as I want.
What’s Your Top Tip for Anyone Who Wants to Start Embroidery?
Don’t be scared of failing and don’t let the failures put you off. Learning involves a lot of failed attempts before you get the hang of it sometimes. I felt it at the start as I would see the work of those who had been sewing for years longer than me and feel I wasn’t good enough. Now I’m one of those people who others look up to and I just want them to know to just keep trying!
Do You Feel Embroidery Has Any Specific Benefits for Neurodiverse People?
I can’t speak for everyone, but I find embroidery to be very calming and therapeutic – it's good to be able to focus on tiny details and get lost in them. It's distracting in the moment and gives me a sense of accomplishment at the end when I’m holding the finished piece.
As an autistic person, I think embroidery has certainly become one of my special interests as I genuinely find it hard to go a couple days without picking a needle up! The world can be a very overwhelming and stressful place for me and embroidery gives me relief from it.