Extreme stitching – an exploration of stitch with found materials with Cas Holmes

Art textiles

Ref: S1D11607

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About this course

Explore the character and qualities of cloth, paper and found materials based on the Japanese principles of Mouttainai (too good to waste) as a means to develop your expressive stitch and mark-making process.

Course Description

Explore the character and qualities of paper and other found material as a surface for working. You will focus on hand stitching as an extension of mark-making and various means of manipulating, attaching and joining surfaces. We use different threads to build up a range of distressed, torn, manipulated and collaged surfaces to create new elements of interest in your work. Methods are adapted from Japanese paper techniques such as Momigami, (kneaded paper) and look at the principles of Mouttaina (too good to waste) to re-interprete simple forms of straight or running stitch, a basic stitch in many in traditional embroidery techniques used all over the world, such as kantha from India and Bangladesh and sashiko and boro in Japan.

Creative exploration of this process could be used as a starting point for your own studies and reflect the textural interest in Cas Holmes' landscape and garden based cloth studies as featured in her books Embroidering the Everyday and Textile Landscape.

This course is part of our 50th anniversary celebrations – learn a traditional skill with a selection of 50 special one-day courses inspired by original 1970s subjects or focusing on heritage crafts.


Timetable for one day courses

Students should arrive by 9am for registration.

Classes are from 9.15 - 5pm

Lunch is included.

Course Materials


  • On this course the College will supply some of the materials including a watercolour base and mounting your work, and some additional thread for stitching. The tutor will supply a small selection of found materials.

What students need to bring

  • Cotton, linen or thin canvas to use as a base no larger than A5/4 (2-3 pieces)
  • Hand stitching kit containing scissors, sharp pointed needle for a good eye for paper and fabric, pins/needles
  • Hand embroidery and sewing threads according to chosen colour scheme. Vary textures
  • Selection of cloth, e.g. cotton, calico, muslin, scrim, linen, silk – pre-washed and ideally varying in colour, texture, pattern and tone
  • A selection of papers: Long fibred or robust papers will handle better than recycled papers, such as lighter weight watercolour/drawing cartridge papers have long fibres. Experiment with different papers: magazines, brown paper and long fibred eastern paper. These can be printed or painted before you attend the workshop.
  • Found materials, plastics, kitchen finds…be as imaginative as you like…we will explore what may be feasible.
  • You may work in colours of your choosing but please only select enough found materials to fit in a small bag. Collected cloth such as parts of clothing, patterned and plain fabric are useful and a small selection of interesting found materials.


Cas Holmes

Cas Homes studied in Fine Art, Maidstone College of Art (UCA) in the eighties before a further study in Japanese art, textiles and papermaking in Japan under a Japan Foundation Fellowship and a Winston Churchill Memorial Fellowship. She is a tutor at West Dean College alongside other adult education and community projects. Cas has also published work including; Textile Landscape, The Found Object in Textile Art, Stitch Stories, and Connected Cloth.

Courses of interest

Further study options

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