Honors — it has no other designation — not certification or degree or program, just “Honors.”  Many ask what it is. It is a research opportunity for those interested in exploring some subject that pertains to the needlearts. The research is to be done on an advanced academic level, something comparable to a doctoral dissertation or at least a master’s level thesis.

The requirements are few but demanding. The program is open only to certified needlework teachers and judges. One must choose a subject of scholarly nature, and it must be approved by the NAN Board of Directors. The candidate must then research it in depth, write a scholarly paper recounting the results of her/his research, and draw a conclusion if appropriate. One must make quarterly reports to the Director of Education, letting her know that the work is ongoing. One must also stitch a project that reflects the research. Five years are allowed to complete Honors.

When all is complete, the candidate must make an oral presentation of at least an hour to the members of the Academy at Assembly. Finally, the candidate must present a copy of her/his dissertation  and stitched piece to NAN for inclusion in its permanent collection housed at the Gregg Museum of Art & Design at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC.

The candidate must be very self-motivated, self-directed, and self-disciplined. This is a solitary endeavor, as any graduate student can tell you. No one helps and no one holds your hand. One’s determination is the only motivator. However, once you become immersed in your chosen topic it becomes an interest, then a passion, and perhaps even an obsession. Long after any reason exists for continued search, you will find yourself still looking.

Twenty three people — a small number indeed — have completed Honors. Click here for a complete list.

Completing Honors does not allow you to charge more as a teacher. You earn no special letters to put after your name. You do get to put a special “jewel” on your NAN pin, and you will probably have the opportunity to give the presentation (most likely in abbreviated form) to some other groups. You might be able to publish a book, if the material is appropriate.

What you do get is the satisfaction of researching something no one else has. You are more or less the sole possessor of a certain body of knowledge. You get the satisfaction of completing a Herculean task. You have pride in accomplishment. Most likely, you really want to share it with others.

Maybe you have a subject you are interested in, or are passionate about. Maybe it would be the perfect thing for Honors. For more information, contact the NAN Director of Education.