Art textiles

Silk scarves – inspirational with dyes, shibori and wax resist with Isabella Whitworth

Ref: SLW08869

Suitable for all

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1 place available

About this course

Explore the inspirational qualities of using wax resist and shibori techniques to create pattern on silk using vibrant steam-fixed dyes. Gain confidence in creative design as you learn to plan a scarf pattern, consider colour and different silk weights to effectively express individual ideas.

Course Description

Students at all levels are welcome on this course. Beginners will learn the basics of wax resist, some shibori techniques such as folding, clamping and tying, and direct application of dyes. If you have more experienced you will be encouraged to develop your existing skills in applying design and pattern to silk. You will be encouraged to make experimental samples to explore tools and techniques before working on finished scarves. There will be guidance on planning scarf designs, transferring designs to scarves and fabric, and the use of different silk weights to effectively express individual designs. Anyone who doesn't feel confident about drawing, planning and creative design is especially welcome.

You will be able to create several scarves, although you may choose to work on just one or two pieces. You are welcome to bring ideas, swatches or sketches and designs for discussion with the tutor before beginning finished pieces.

The course will feature a general session on sourcing inspiration, developing it into designs, and learning from examples of surface pattern designed to occupy a set shape. This will consider aspects of colour schemes and balance, mood, negative space, texture etc from a selection of books, images or samples. There will be an informal discussion of thoughts and ideas on the theme of inspiration for silk scarves and textiles. The tutor will bring examples of her work and sketchbooks as a further means to illustrate how ideas can be channelled into finished work.


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


  • Use of pins, tapes, dyes, wax and general accessories required during the course

What students need to bring

  • While all the necessary tools and equipment is available to use on the course, but if you have already done some silk-painting or wax-resist work you are warmly invited to bring samples or images. You can also bring favourite brushes, tjantings etc.
  • Silk scarf blanks, preferably oblong in shape (if you wish as these are also be available for purchase at the College)

Available to buy

  • You can purchase hemmed scarf blanks for final projects from the tutor, or the college craft shop. Scarf blanks of various types and weights are available, as is silk on the roll. Alternatively, you are welcome to bring your own scarf blanks, preferably oblong in shape.
  • A sketchbook at least A4 size
  • Glue stick

Please note: Work that is completed late on in the course can be steamed by the tutor in her studio. She will return it to students by post for the cost of postage and packing, payable direct to her.


Isabella Whitworth

Isabella trained as a graphic designer and worked in industry before 'discovering' textiles during extended travels in Asia. She specialises in resist-dyeing, enjoying an international following as artist and tutor. Isabella is also known for historical research into natural dyes, and is a member of the Devon Guild of Craftsmen.


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

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