Art textiles

Art textiles – developing a personal vocabulary with Caroline Bartlett

Ref: S4D10485


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About this course

From your own research base, grow and distil an idea and develop a personal repertoire of textile related surface treatments using simple print processes, manipulation and assemblage involving hand or machine stitch.

Course Description

The aim of the course is to provide a framework and guidance for the progression of ideas and approaches developed from an existing research base of your own. It is an opportunity for creative development: to develop an idea together with a personal repertoire of textile-related surface treatments using simple print processes, manipulation and assemblage involving hand or machine stitch.

During the course, you will:

• Grow and develop a small group of related textile pieces based on a common element or set of elements

• Develop a personal vocabulary of surface treatments in support of your ideas.

• Extract and analyse elements for development.

• Further develop a body of work.

A series of initial experimental exercises based on the research work you bring with you (in the form of your sketchbook work/drawings/ photographs, objects etc.), will aim to encourage thinking and reflection skills, and provide you with reference points for mark, shape, texture, colour, composition and content. As appropriate to individual ideas, simple techniques of print, surface manipulation, waxing and stiffening, hand or machine stitch, will provide the means to interpret your ideas into textile form. Explore your ideas through guided drawing activities, research and experimentation; marking, layering, obscuring, erasing, cutting away, concealing and revealing, and assembling. You will be encouraged to exploit and become sensitive to incidences in the surface, such as the different qualities furnished by material and technique, and to distil your ideas to their essence, exploring the layering of concepts, media and process.

Pair and group discussions, strategies for developing ideas, practical demonstrations and visual presentations will form part of the course. Various approaches to surface treatments will be demonstrated, discussed and used. Individual guidance will be given to unpick and refine your ideas and drive connections between materials and working methods. As the work develops it will be increasingly guided by consideration of potential form, refining and distilling ideas. This will vary according to individual concerns, skills and experience.

Whilst developing a personal repertoire of approaches to mark-making and surfaces, the course is not focused primarily on technique but on strategies for progressing work in a supportive environment. You need to be open minded and prepared to investigate and experiment with the aim of progressing work, producing a sequence of practical and conceptual explorations articulating your thinking and with potential for further development, rather than producing finished pieces. You don’t need to have experience of printing but you do need to have some textile skills to draw upon.


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, 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 fabric printing pigment and binder, wax and brusho are supplied.

What students need to bring

  • It is essential to bring a body of visual research material in the form of sketchbook work, drawings, photographs etc. along a theme you wish to develop and progress ideas. Also any special materials or tools you like to use.
  • Mark-making tools such as paintbrushes, (including large brush such as a 2 inch household paint brush or similar) soft rollers, sponges, other items to make good textures and marks such as items you can press into wet ink
  • Any favourite drawing tools
  • Textile materials: sample pieces of natural fabrics of different weights and textures such as muslin, scrim, organza, cotton and linen
  • A selection of different threads including sewing and embroidery threads, linen threads
  • Scissors
  • A sewing kit including pins and needles (including one needle for thicker threads)
  • Apron, old or protective clothing and covered shoes to wear in the workshop
  • Rubber gloves (alternatively latex gloves are supplied by the college)
  • Your sewing machine (This is not an essential item but if it is one of your preferred working tools you need to be competent in its use. You may bring your own or reserve one of the college sewing machines by email: in advance of the course.)

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Drawing materials and graphite pencil, coloured inks and paints – these might be acrylic, watercolour, gouache, coloured chalks or oil pastels
  • Sketchbooks and a variety of papers of different weights
  • Paintbrushes – large and small
  • Masking tape
  • Cutting knives
  • Printing rollers
  • Textile materials/ base fabrics – undyed muslin, scrim, organza, cotton and some threads


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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