About Me

Mary Broddle Embroidery

I’m Mary. I am a chartered engineer, mum of two boys and a maker of needle art.  

With Mary Broddle Embroidery I want to share my passion for embroidery and help others find the enjoyment and mental health benefits it has afforded me.

My Story

Why I stitch

Back in 2004 I gave up smoking and, having always been a fidgety person, was concerned I’d snack constantly with the need to keep my hands busy.  I had an epiphany in John Lewis’s haberdashery section and picked up a needlepoint kit.  It rekindled a childhood love of embroidery.  Not only did it keep my hands busy, within months I was trying multiple techniques  and had joined my local branch of the Embroiderer’s Guild.

Having children slowed my rate of stitching for a few years, but never dulled it.  

I have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. I live with chronic pain and fatigue and have increasing mobility problems.  2020’s lockdown was not my first period of being housebound for months!  I have spent more hours than I could estimate stitching in front of the telly/listening to audio books and podcasts and it has helped me cope during extended periods of being stuck inside.  You no longer feel that you are ‘killing time’, the feelings of frustration and anger dissipate and you feel calmer and productive.  I couldn’t quantify how embroidery has helped my mental health. 

I love traditional hand embroidery and I have dabbled with all the techniques.  Even taking classes lead by the Royal School of Needlework and renowned textile artists.  I have also mastered free machine embroidery, a Kirstie Allsopp favourite.  However I reached a point where I was bored with working other peoples designs and started adapting and doing my own work.  I take inspiration from many places and enjoy seeing what I can do with a piece of material or a selection of threads.  I will, however, always be drawn to purple flowers. 

I had to leave my intense job in rail engineering in 2019 as my body could no longer manage the long hours and travel. This gave me the opportunity to develop my work.  Then came Covid and lockdown and – like everyone else – a pause to the frantic pace of life.  I used the time to develop an idea and Mary Broddle Embroidery is the result!

"“Embroidery is brilliant for depression because it allows you to have something to show for your time. So even though it could be small, when you hold something in your hand that you have made it is a symbol of value. It says ‘you have value’. It says ‘this is something I have made’.

Emma Kenny - TV Psychologist and Presenter

"In our social media age, as we become more physically distanced from each other, sewing is a safeguard to isolation, a way to stay in touch with each other: hand and mind working in harmony to convey what lies in our hearts. For me and others, it sustains not just a sense of self but of belonging."

Clare Hunter - Threads of Life: a History of the World Through the Eye of a Needle

"The physical act of stitching also means we cannot dither around online, being sucked into social media rabbit holes. Nor are we watching television. This screen-free time is immensely important to our sense of wellbeing. When we employ mindful stitching, we are also making time for ourselves. This is crucial, especially for the perpetually busy."

Laura Turnbull - The Crewel Work Company

What I Do

Learn contemporary embroidery to relax, create and find your ‘me time’

With Mary Broddle Embroidery I want to share my passion for embroidery and help others find the enjoyment and mental health benefits it has afforded me. 

Through my courses I hope to create a community of people who want to take time for themselves, connect with their innate creativity (we all have some, even if buried deep) and enjoy the process of stitching together.  Think of the old sewing circles, that were once so prevalent in the USA or when women in Scotland would get together to work wool. 

Embroidery is a creative pastime for all ages.  There is a big community of stitchers making amazing contemporary art, and even many subversive designs, turning the concept of cross-stitched crinoline ladies on its head.  

Want to Find Out More?