Hi! I'm Alice. I'm the creator behind be alice. And I wanted to start off by telling you a bit about myself and how I got to where I am today.
I'm from Dublin, Ireland and I've lived here most of my life apart from when I was studying (but we'll get into that in a sec). I was always considered a creative child - I went to art camp almost every summer. But I was also 'good' at school so I never really saw a creative career as an option. History and Irish were my two favourite subjects, and that's what I decided to pursue. In 2011 I started Irish Studies at Trinity College Dublin. And 6 weeks later I left. While I enjoyed the subjects, I realised that I didn't want to spend the next 4 years studying them. I wanted to do something more hands on.
How I got into embroidery
I was first introduced to embroidery in a school art class. I was in Transition Year and we had to stitch a cover for our folders. And I just fell in love with it! I remember my friend sitting beside me in that class absolutely baffled at how I could be enjoying this torture! But I truely enjoyed it. I could see so many more possibilities than I had with any other art form we had been taught. As I said earlier, I was a creative child but I never felt like much of an artist. I wasn't able to create the incredibly realistic portraits that some of my classmates could. And I couldn't produce beautiful landscape paintings. But stitching. Stitching I was good at.
So when I left the Irish Studies course a couple of years later, I took the rest of that year to create a bit of a portfolio, and I applied to the Fibre Art and Textile Design course at Ballyfermot CFE. I started to feel like I was on the right track. We did a bit of everything on that course - screen printing, ceramics, knitting, felting. But again, embroidery was the part I enjoyed the most. I knew I wasn't done with my learning journey yet. So after the textiles course at Ballyfermot I went on to the Degree Course at the Royal School of Needlework.
Honing my craft
The RSN is where I really honed my craft. I learned so much about embroidery, but also about myself. This was three years spent away from home in a challenging environment. To say I got homesick is a
bit of an understatement! Even the impressive surrounds of Hampton Court Palace couldn't change that. But it really shaped my identity and defined my interests. And this in turn shaped my work. I was living and working in England but Ireland was always my subject.
During my time studying at the RSN I also began working there. I was a day class assistant on weekends and over the summer break. I never really saw myself becoming a teacher but again my experiences here completely changed me. I learned a lot about how to run classes well and found I had a knack for explaining things to people.
Setting up shop
When I graduated in 2017 I moved straight home (of course!) and set up be alice. I started selling works at local markets and teaching the odd class here and there. Then I opened an online shop and offered kits as well as more classes and more markets. And it all keeps growing! My main focus at the moment is spreading the art of hand embroidery. Whether that's releasing new kits every couple of months, teaching workshops and classes, or (now) compiling some of my tips and knowledge in this blog.
I'm still inspired by Ireland - both the beauty and the mundane - and I hope that comes across in my designs. And I still have hopes to create a body of work for exhibition, but that's something I'm quietly working on in the background. For now, I hope you enjoy following my progress on this blog. Thanks for all your support so far - it really means the world to me. And I hope I can help you out on your journey into the world of hand embroidery.