Cas Holmes

Textile artist and tutor


I live in Maidstone, Kent and after obtaining a Fine Arts degree in the early eighties, my understanding of paper, textiles and related media was further enhanced through two periods of long-term study in Japan in the mid to late eighties (supported by the Japan Foundation and the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust.)

I work between the disciplines of painting, drawing and mixed media textiles. Working with salvaged materials, I draw my inspiration from personal experience, places visited, stories of my Romany grandmother, old and forgotten textiles, the natural cycle of growth, decay and renewal. Connecting paint, mark and print with translucent layers of fabrics and paper I seek the 'hidden' or overlooked parts of our landscape, and personal spaces.

New work looks at the relationship between the urban and nature, the views from our windows, the verges of our roadsides, weeds and flora on brown belt land and field edges, and the places where our gardens meet the 'greater landscape. Working with 'stitch sketching', I seek to capture a moment or thing before it is gone.

Recycled materials and waste have a history. In workshops, these are broken down, torn, and cut, until they are re-assembled to create something more meaningful. Fragments and layers mark the passing of time, the rituals of making (cutting paper, gathering materials, machining, sewing) acting as part of the narrative of the work.

I tutor on PGCE and college courses including Painting and Drawing at Adult Education. I also teach at West Dean College and have also worked on a residency at the college. I work both locally and internationally and have run workshops and held exhibitions in Italy, France and the USA. More recently I spent several weeks working with textile groups in Australia and return in 2013.

In addition to developing my own practice, I work on commissions and exhibitions, developing projects with people of all ages and abilities within the community sector, schools, museums and recently, even on the beach. I also enjoy the challenge of working on site-specific projects and installations in collaboration with other artists, performers and musicians.

Paper and Textiles: workshop outlines

The following are a sample list of practical workshops. I can also offer talks on my own practice and issues surrounding paper, textiles and the use of found material.

Most of the workshops can be run for introductory sessions of a day or developed more intensely, combined with other techniques and run over a number of days.

Images and Narratives in Textiles: Restructured Books

Artists always make reference to other images and narrative. Use of old books and maps as a starting point to create a new works .The book and text references you decide to use will direct the content as you apply processes from layering and cutting techniques through to stitch and print. The creative process develops as you find your subject matter and combine with materials and mediums of your choice. We will look at progressing through sketchbooks/journals as we work.

Stitch, Line and Layers

Explore the physical ideas of layering textiles and paper. Layers hide and reveal, be heavy and solid, but they can also be thin and transparent. They can conceal and also create curiosity and encourage closer observation. We will create visual layers through painting and printing, and we will further work with collage constructions and fabric manipulation to create physical layering. Participants will be asked to bring a small treasured object, which will be used as a starting point for developing a series of small collages, that later could be the inspiration for a larger piece.

Marks and Images in Textiles

A focus on colour, line, texture and mark making with fabric, paper an stitch. A playful 'what if?' approach to design and an appreciation of the experimental approach to gaining inspiration for textile and mixed media work. By enlisting 'found objects', we will create tools to paint, print and stamp with onto fabric. The creative process develops as you find your subject matter and combine with materials and mediums of your choice. A series of creative exercises will further help to develop a personal expression and add meaning to your work.

Of Cloth, Pattern and Clothing

Workshop looking at using old cotton based clothing (shirts, aprons, children's clothes etc) as a starting point for new work. We will look at deconstruction and rejoining methods as well as surface intervention, either dry techniques (stitch and markers, crayons) or wet techniques (dye, and paper layering) or both.

The Green Imperative and Textiles

This workshop looks at aspects 'green thinking' and the 'Use of the Found' as a means to stimulating creativity - not just by recycling old fabric or vintage fabrics, but by completely altering it through a variety of experimental design and paint techniques. Textiles have a rich tradition of creating beautiful artworks from the recycling of materials, from outgrown and outlived clothing and bedding to flour sacks and bags. Create 'new works' from unconventional old and vintage materials.

Beyond the Surface

This workshop introduces mixed media methods to explore the character and the quality of old, decaying and historical surfaces. We will literally go 'Beyond the Surface' and look at the layers below. Graphic and tactile qualities of texture will be explored in making marks as we work with both paper and textile. Participants will be asked to bring an image or tactile object which will be used as a starting point for developing a series of small collages, that later could be the inspiration for a larger piece.

I am happy to discuss additional workshops in paper, textiles mixed media and drawing or to work on commissioned projects and exhibitions.

I can offer the workshops to a hosting organisation, schools, colleges, museum and textile groups at their own venue.

More intimate workshops can be offered at my own premises for two to four students. They run from 10 - 4 with refreshments provided Please bring your own lunch and sewing machine (optional). I will supply a list of requirements and further details at time of booking. The fee per person is £50.00-£85.00 and the day will offer lots of individual attention.

Contact information

For further details please contact via email in the first instance:
Cas Holmes email:

See my work and work with groups on:


Read articles by Cas on Textile Art and the Land and Urban Nature - Verges

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