Introduction to Textile Arts
There comes a time as a sewer that you may be tempted to take your creative skills that little bit further into the textile arts to create unique pieces of work using techniques involving mixed media, collage, paint, dyeing, printing, fabric manipulation and, of course, stitch - either by hand or machine. In this article, we explore what’s available for you to learn with our pick of some of the great course providers out there, including some online courses too.
The Textile Space
Deborah Harwood's fabulous barn workshop is based in a village in the beautiful Goodwood Estate in West Sussex. Deborah is a passionate textile artist and she offers a variety of textile arts courses for the beginner to more advanced students.
Courses on offer include 'Keeping Sketchbooks' to help you on your creative journey, 'Colouring Fabrics', 'Batik' and 'Thermofax Printing'. Most courses are one to two days in length. All materials and any paint or dyes are usually included in the cost of the course. This saves you having to bring lots of unusual materials with you. A typical one day course will cost from around £65 depending on the materials used.
Browse the current list of available courses on the website.
Deborah also offers a longer four day Textile School where you set the agenda and allow yourself to experiment! This costs £325 per person and is limited to four students only - perfect if you are a small group of friends wanting to experiment together!
The ultimate course is the extremely popular six month Foundation Course that offers students the chance to really develop their skills with a view to taking a textile degree or starting your own business. Find out more here.
Inkberrow Design Centre
Inkberrow Design Centre is based in Redditch, Worcestershire and is a long-standing provider of courses in fashion and design.
Leading British textile artist and designer, Kim Thittichai, runs her textile design course for experimental textiles at Inkberrow Design Centre. The course runs over a number of weekend sessions through the year and offers an exciting syllabus for students who have an established interest in stitch and textiles. Students are encouraged to explore and develop their own style and method of work. They develop and stretch ideas and skills, working through the use of pattern, colour, design & texture. The cost of this extended course is around £1700. Find out more here.
Creative Thread Workshops
Creative Thread Workshops are based in Garstang in Lancashire and offer a variety of textile arts creative workshops including machine embroidery, feltmaking, creative hand embroidery and sketchbooks, plus many more.
Most of the workshops on offer are one day only, although there are a couple of longer courses on hand embroidery (see website). Prices start at around £45 for a one day workshop and students generally need to supply materials. Browse the exciting variety of courses available here.
West Dean College
Situated in the South Downs near Chichester, West Dean College is an arts and conservation college offering a sensational setting for you to spend a day, several days or a week studying on a short course.
There is a wide variety of textile arts courses available with some very prestigious tutors including Shibori with Janice Gunner, Hand Sewn Narrative Textiles with Janet Bolton and Machine Embroidery with Wendy Dolan plus many more.
Courses range from one day workshops to breaks of a few days, when residential accommodation is also an option. A typiclal one day course will cost around £120 usually to include some materials but this does vary from course to course. Choose your preferred course here - there's lots of information to read.
The Open College of the Arts offers students the chance to study textiles at foundation level continuing up to degree level to achieve a BA(Hons) in Textiles if desired. As the courses are run through distance learning, you study in the comfort of your own home, offering significant savings on travel and accommodation costs that you might traditionally incur. It also gives people the chance to study for a degree as mature students whilst working or looking after a family.
You can start with the Foundations Textiles Course before embarking on a degree course. The Foundations course runs over 12 months with 8 hours of work required each week and costs £795. The degree course is broken into three levels with a choice of pathways that build upon each other. The full degree costs £9,505 and there are loans available. To find out more about the Foundations Textiles Course, see here. More information on the degree course and choices here.
Studio 11 in Eastbourne is an exciting venue offering monthly textiles courses with Christine Chester, as well as day workshops and short courses. Monthly courses run for 11 months and include dyeing, printing and City & Guilds Patchwork & Quilting. Find out what's on offer on the website.
The venue also offers Textile Re-Treats with exceptional artists and teachers including Caroline Bartlett, Bobby Britnell, Dionne Swift, Alice Fox, Bethany Walker and Jo Budd. Visit here to find out more.
Dionne is a well known practising textile artist who regularly teaches workshops on devore, sketchbooks and thread painting at Janome HQ in Stockport - see here for courses. She also teaches at other venues in the UK and abroad.
She has also developed a range of online options that you can access from the comfort of your own home and studio. These courses are run via video links and email and allow students to immerse themselves in the subject for a period of a couple of weeks at no more cost than a regular day workshop. Take a look at the options.
Stitchbusiness is a leading, respected and dynamic independent stitch school based in Durham City offering a range of creative courses in design and art textiles, from levels 1-3 City & Guilds certificate and diploma courses, to the bespoke, specialist masterclass. Students have the option of studying at the college or as distance learning students with lots of support through the unique e-campus.
Take a look at the website to find out more.
We hope this article has whetted your appetite to discover which courses would suit your needs.
You may also enjoy our feature about sewing and quilting holidays .