Fine Art

Foundation Diploma in Tapestry Weaving

Awarded by West Dean College of Arts and Conservation
Duration: 2 years, part-time
Full course information for 2020 available in May

This two year, part-time programme is made up of six, three-day units of study. It aims to offer tapestry weavers a broad insight into the technical and creative techniques of tapestry weaving, necessary for developing skills and your own creative language.

Between each unit students will develop their own line of research in response to the courses' focus. This includes the production of small woven sample pieces for discussion and dissemination. A tutorial session will be planned with the programme tutor between each unit.

Students are expected to record their progress in a reflective journal of their studies and weaving during the course, to include historical, cultural and contextual research on work of other artists/weavers as relevant to their own practice, culminating in a 1,500 word essay.

Self-Directed Study

Between each unit you will be asked to develop your own line of research in response to the course focus. This includes the production of small woven sample pieces as a way of developing and experimenting with images, brought to the start of the following unit for discussion and dissemination. A tutorial session will be planned with the programme tutor between each course.

By the end of the first year you will have a greater understanding of tapestry weaving and a larger knowledge base that will provide you with the ability to understand all stages of the production process at both technical and aesthetic level.


It is expected that students keep a journal of their studies and weaving for the duration of the Tapestry Foundation programme, and submit an essay following the successful completion of the requisite six units of study. The essay must be completed within two months after completing all six courses.

The final essay will consist of a 1,500 word reflective account that demonstrates the link between the candidate's overall experience gained from the Tapestry Foundation and their intended future pathway with evidence of historical and cultural research relevant to the candidate's own practice.

Detailed specifications relating to the presentation of this written work may be obtained from the Programme Tutor.

Programme Overview

Year 1

Unit 1: Settings, weaving technique and translation
Unit 2: Cartoons, scale and the weaver's palette
Unit 3: Finishing processes/planning a personal project

Year 2

Unit 4: Dyeing, materials and weaving
Unit 5: Experimental weaving techniques
Unit 6: Design and reflection

Each unit will be based in the unique environment of West Dean Tapestry Studio, one of the UK's only professional tapestry studios specialising in contemporary design and weaving using traditional techniques.

Entry Requirements

The Foundation Diploma in Tapestry Weaving is aimed at weavers who have completed a beginners' course at the College or elsewhere, and are looking to commit to an extended and intensive programme of study. On acceptance of a place you are committing to attending all six units of study on the dates given on the full details.

Fees and funding

The programme fees are payable in advance for each year of study

Year 1: Course fee: £1230 (non-residential, covering all three units - payable by 1 September 2019)
Year 2: Course fee: £1230 (non-residential, covering all three units - payable by 1 September 2020)

Accommodation for a 3 day course, including dinner and breakfast, is currently available from £283

How to Apply

Entry Requirements

The following qualifications will be considered for entry to the Foundation Diploma in Tapestry Weaving:

Examples of woven tapestry, alongside evidence work in other media, textiles or other media, this could include development work and finished work.

A commitment to attending all six units.

An informal telephone interview with the Programme Tutor will follow in June, before places are confirmed at the beginning of July. Following confirmation of your place, full payment will be taken using the details supplied on your Application Form.

Please see our standard Terms and Conditions. Specific Terms and Conditions in respect of this course will be sent to successful applicants, this includes a commitment to attend all course dates.

For further queries about the course, please contact:


Philip Sanderson

Tapestry Subject Tutor and Studio Leader

Philip Sanderson is Leader of the Professional Tapestry Studio and a Subject Tutor on the MFA in Fine Art. He is also the Tutor for the Tapestry Foundation Diploma and a short course tutor. During his time at West Dean Philip has translated the work of a number of artists into large-scale tapestries including Marta Rogoyska, John Hubbard, Tracy Emin, and Eva Rothschild.