Hand stitching – a personal response to nature with Helen Parrott

Art textiles

Ref: SLW11784

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Places available

About this course

Using observational walks in the garden, mark-making, hand stitch and appliqué techniques, explore colour, light, forms and shapes, mood and energies and how they can be developed from paper-works into individual textile work.

Course Description

This workshop explores the magical time when spring moves into summer using your own photographs or images as the inspiration for your personal textile work. You will observe closely and be inspired by the transition from spring into summer using photography, short walks in the gardens (weather permitting) and mark-making. Explore mark-making based on the transition from spring to summer, expanding your vocabulary of mark-making and hand stitch techniques including running stitch and appliqué, through observation, recording and creating samples to inspire their future textile work.

There will be some one-to-one time with the tutor, to help you refresh and develop new ideas and move forward with your personal creative work. You can expect to develop a range of paper-works and samples which can be developed after the course, to inspire and support the creation of your personal textile work.

You need to be open to exploring your own creative ideas and responses inspired by the passing seasons in a guided and supported workshop to create individual outcomes. A structured start will be followed by guided independent practice. The focus is on inspiration, building skills and creative 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


  • A small quantity of cartridege and tracing paper, bondaweb and recycled materials.

What students need to bring

  • Fabrics: some fabrics one metre in total would be plenty, or bring some squares of around 30-50cm, usually dress/quilting weights cottons, silks and linens, including some recycled/vintage and suitable for hand sewing are best. This is an indicative figure so bring what you have easily to hand. Do spend some time and thought choosing the fabrics and threads to bring so they relate to your personal experience of spring and summer in your own locality or your images. For example, the tutors' choice for this time of the year would be red, green, yellow, orange and sky blues
  • Wadding: if you have it. One metre of medium to lightweight wadding will be plenty.
  • Threads: a selection of threads for hand sewing in spring/summer colours as noted above
  • White and cream cotton, silk or linen threads to be painted
  • Any hand sewing/quilting items you have bought recently and wish to explore using
  • Basic hand sewing kit: scissors, range of hand sewing needles
  • Washable blue marker pen or similar for marking fabric
  • A section of your own photos/magazine images of spring/summer that inspire you.
  • Any water-based and acrylic paints and inks, masking tape, beeswax and marker pens you have.
  • Mobile phone with camera or digital camera. Phone/camera charger. No photographic expertise or additional equipment is needed. A mobile phone camera or simple digital camera is fine as long as you can play the images back to look at them for inspiration
  • Shoes/waterproof clothes suitable for walking in the grounds – in case of rain

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A wide range of art materials and equipment, including a range of black, white and neutral fabrics and Bondaweb
  • Glue stick (or glue and glue brush if preferred)
  • Two or three small paint brushes of different sizes
  • Washable blue marker pen or similar for marking fabric
  • Notebook/sketchbook and pens, pencils
  • Available from tutor:
  • The tutor will bring some additional fabrics, threads and polyester wadding to purchase, if required.
Wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toes or sandals. Safety boots, if specified.


Helen Parrott

Helen has been making and exhibiting her art quilts around the world since leaving Loughborough in 1990. Initially inspired by archaeology, she has become known for her minimalist landscape based quilts. In 2002 a focus on running stitch led to an Arts Council grant to tour her solo show 'Zen and the art of hand quilting' with the Knitting and Stitching Show.


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

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