Between the folds – structure and concepts in textiles with Caroline Bartlett

Art textiles

Ref: S3D11742

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About this course

What lies between the folds? Investigate the folding of fabric as a concept. Explore structure and surface through folding and creasing. Use hand stitch and selective colouring to create experimental pieces which explore your ideas.

Course Description

Mark, fold, stitch and manipulate developing a concept related to processes used. What happens when cloth is folded and how might this embody an idea? Folding, unfolding, enfolding, refolding. What associations does folding have for you? This might be, for example, folding clothes and linen, folding in lavender, secrets and memories, texts, etc. This question will provide the starting point for discussion and for unpicking and working ideas. You might choose to work with elements of text, images, moments of colour or to refer to the folds in landscape or to include significant small objects, or you may have another response to the theme so you will need to come with some suitable reference material.

Ideas will be supported through visual presentation, discussion, demonstration and individual tuition in applying techniques and developing ideas. Methods and processes used will include:

- Selective pleating and folding and creasing techniques using hand stitch and steam as a means to shape and structure, conceal and reveal.

- Simple colouration using monoprinting and hand-painting.

- Hand stitch techniques to mark cloth working with methods such as layering, erasing, tracing imagery, patching, cutting away, mending and repairing, padding, inserting using techniques appropriate to your thinking in relation to the fold.

- Working with personal references.

This explorative course encourages an experimental approach through sampling, providing the opportunity to begin to take techniques and ideas in your own direction using the concept of what lies between the folds; concealing and revealing. This is an opportunity to generate ideas and starting points rather than make finished pieces. You will produce a sequence of practical and conceptual explorations articulating your thinking and with potential for further development.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • On this course the College will supply some of the materials including general materials shared by the group such as masking tape, aluminium foil, baking parchment, colouring media, bondaweb, two sheets of cartridge paper.

What students need to bring

  • Reference material related to what might be hidden between the folds; small retrieved objects, maps, text, letters, images to stitch or shapes to fill etc., or you might choose simply to work with colour contrasts.
  • A selection of fabrics of different weights and stiffness from medium to heavy weight calico, to organza and silk habotai, i.e. fabrics which will hold a crease well, shiny and matt. Length is important as we will be using strips and fabric is vastly reduced by the processes involved in pleating, folding, stacking and creasing. Fabrics such as silk habotai, calico are available in the shop. You may want to include some off-cuts of precoloured fabric or patterned fabric as relevant to ideas and responses.
  • Sewing kit: thread, needles, pins, small sharp scissors, fabric scissors, paper scissors
  • A selection of embroidery threads for hand stitch
  • Strong thread for sewing (not with a high twist) and pulling up threads
  • A strong thread for binding such as a crochet cotton size 10 or 8
  • Cutting knife - scalpel or good quality craft knife
  • 3 plastic punched file pockets
  • Brushes to mark with including a household brush. About 1 inch
  • A sketchbook
  • Embroidery hoop (these may also be borrowed during the course)

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A range of natural fabrics including calico, organza and silk
  • Embroidery threads
  • Brushes
  • Craft knives
  • Sketchbooks and general art materials
Wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toes or sandals.


Caroline Bartlett

Caroline trained in printed textiles before completing a postgraduate at Goldsmiths and an MA in Public Art. Her practice employs various textile processes and has included responses to historic locations and museum collections. She exhibits in the U.K. and internationally and her work is represented in several public collections.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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