Certified Needlework judge – Article 2


Natalie Dupuis (Canada) is embarking on a little-known training and I found it interesting to follow her. I will therefore propose a small series of articles on this program and on the journey of Natalie. My first article focused on general training, with the help of Pat Goaley, responsible for this training at the EGA.

Why did you choose to follow this program?
I am always looking to develop myself. While I was visiting the Embroidery Guild of America (EGA) website, I saw a section about judging training. I was immediately interested because I had just been part of a team of judges during an embroidery competition. Our team seemed to have no guidelines or experience in this type of assessment.

Registration confirmation
Training books loaned by Pat Goaley, Natalie’s advisor and president of the EGA

I wondered if I could follow such a training as a judge and use my experience as a teacher (with a Master’s degree in education) and the various supports I gave during embroidery competitions and exhibitions.
I am much younger than most of my colleagues in the embroidery industry in Canada: having a training, a judge’s certificate should allow me to obtain their trust when I speak of evaluation, ethics and theory drawing.

I already have a lot to say but when you are the “new kid”, you have to show your abilities over time. You should both express your ideas clearly and reasonably, while showing respect for the ideas of people older than you.
I also thought that this program could help me better understand my own decisions regarding my creations and of course improve my CV when I apply for a professorship or when I give talks.
Finally, I love to read and study. The books I had to read to prepare for the exam on color and drawing fascinated me.
The EGA program seems to be the most comprehensive in North America that I could find. I don’t know if there is another one. I have a fantastic counselor (Pat Goaley), who has supported me since the moment I expressed my desire to take this program.

Training book loaned by Pat Goaley, Natalie’s advisor and president of the EGA
Colours training

What do you hope to learn?
I hope to be able to look at all forms of embroidery with an expert eye for their design. I want to be able to go to a contest with the confidence that I can guide a team well, or, if I am alone, to feel sufficiently trained to make the best decisions according to specific themes. I want to become the reference person in the evaluation to allow embroiderers to improve. And maybe one day train new judges myself. Teaching is my specialty and I always have the development of the student in mind. I was a head teacher in an international school in London and I also guided many groups through writing (CV, evaluation), so I think I can follow this program. I want to improve the standards set for needlework competitions, so that embroiderers really feel that their work has been judged honestly and on a solid basis.

What subjects are likely to be difficult for you?
Turning in my assignments on time, finding contests to practice in, and being patient with those who judge without having a similar background.

Making shapes with metallic threads
Colours training

How long do you think this will take you? Will you get there?
I will need a full 2 years. I have to juggle my two children, my creative work and my classes in various countries and schools.

Making shapes with metallic threads

The article above was written in July 2019. Thanks to Covid, things had to be organized differently for Natalie. In February 2022, Natalie is reaching the end of her training, with some 10 small essays still to be written and a live interview to perform. If all goes well, she should be certified in August and “add this fun feather to [her] hat”, according to her own words.

Good (left) and bad (right) use of tones – Exercise n°6

Photo copyrights: Natalie Dupuis
The EGA: https://egausa.org/
Natalie Dupuis: https://dupuisnatalie.wixsite.com/mysite