Tricia Wilson Nguyen has been embroidering since she was a little girl. By day she works as a engineer for a Boston based consulting firm, by night an embroidery teacher and designer.
Often people ask me how I got my start. I have been embroidering since I can remember - I come from a long line of really creative women who embroider, quilt or sew. The bug really bit me when I was about seven or eight after my mother discovered that I was "furthering" her projects when she was out of the room. After that we often worked side by side at Embroiderer's Guild meetings. Then came a series of Youth Talent contests which allowed me to finally join the guild. I started teaching embroidery as a freshman in high school and was immediately attracted to historic and folk embroidery techniques. Hardanger and Japanese Embroidery being my early favorites.
When I went to college at MIT, my roommates discovered my embroidery halfway through the year (I had hid it - afraid of the potential beer bashes!). Soon I had taught almost twenty of my house mates (men and women) to embroider and the group launched on a series of really crazy group projects. They included a three foot wedding sampler that I designed and twenty people stitched, large friendship quilts, Russian embroideries, etc. We were young and nuts! Many of them are still stitching and several have become very accomplished teachers in their own right.
I got serious about teaching and building skills when I went to graduate school in engineering. With my fianc?halfway across the country, I had plenty of time to hone skills! I have always been attracted to the combination of historical information and embroidery. Embroidery is always worked in the context of the culture of the embroiderer and that knowledge really enriches the teaching experience. I have studied in depth Ukrainian Nyzynka, Norwegian Hardanger, English Tudor and Stuart embroidery, and American samplers. The national costumes of the European and Asian countries are fascinating to me. You can see all these influences on my embroidery designs.
For the last few years I have been combining my engineering career with my embroidery knowledge in a field called "electronic textiles". It's a very high tech twist on using metal threads to make electrical devices. It has led me into an in depth study of goldwork, needles, history and collaborations with manufacturers and museums.
Many of you have heard me talk about Kris in my classes. She is one of the unsung heroes that help me bring you quality products. Kris is my main model stitcher, kit packer, and the person who sets all of my teaching kits up in an exquisite manner. Kris is an award winning embroiderer and a teacher in her own right. She is training to be a Japanese Embroidery teacher. If you have the chance to take a class with her, take advantage of it! She is a sweet and patient person. I feel blessed to be able to have her as part of my organization and know that she will take center stage in her own way in a few years.
Charles of Smudge Animation has served as my webmaster for several years. Not only can he code in HTML but he shows up at the family christmas too. Charles recently got much more involved in the needlework community by working on a joint project with Thistle Threads for the exhibit entitled "Twixt Art and Nature - English Embroidery 1580-1700" held at the Bard Graduate School for the Decorative Arts. Charles led the effort to animate one of the complex gold stitches I had been researching and a digital restoration of a blackwork nightcap. The animated sequences were included as a part of the video which played in the exhibit hall.