resources for the textile arts community
I live in a village in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds, with a windmill at the end of the garden. I'm a Textiles tutor with the Open College of the Arts, the art school affiliated to the Open University. It's been an interesting, sometimes challenging route to this point.
I've sewn since primary school, and was making my own clothes whilst still at secondary school. A long love affair with fabric and thread, the feel, even the smell of it has lasted ever since. I grew up in the starkly beautiful fenland landscape of East Anglia. Our house backed onto a lane and fields, where I walked everyday, collecting wild flowers, drawing and making notes. The notion of doing anything creative as a career was not encouraged, and I was guided towards the sensible option of teaching. After teacher training college, I fell into a series of admin/clerical jobs, in London, then Oxford where I moved on marriage. I continued to make obsessively in my spare time
I discovered quiltmaking in the early eighties, but it was still very much a hobby. I also worked for an Open University degree during those years (History of Art) and this led to many happy years of employment at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. Visits to my husband's relatives in the Highlands of Scotland got me drawing again, and I began to feel a need to unite art and my practical sewing skills in some way, but had little idea of how to go about it. I wanted to learn how to design my own things and also to have a more rounded understanding of Textiles. My answer was the Open College of the Arts, which offered just, want I wanted, and I completed Textiles 1 and 2, during the nineties, loving every minute of it.
I wrote a Study Pack on Shibori dyeing for The Quilters Guild. But a move to the Midlands in 2001 for family reasons really started me off on a new phase of life. After contacting Birmingham Institute of Art and Design (University of Central England) about possible classes, to my eternal surprise, after being asked to come for an interview for the combined MA course, I was given a place at the interview. I was the oldest student amongst recent Textile graduates, but they were wonderful to work alongside. I duly gained my Postgraduate Certificate in Fashion, Textiles and Surface Design, Postgraduate Diploma in Textiles and finally the MA in Textiles in 2004.
I have been a tutor with the OCA since 2003, and since 2005 have been one of six tutors in the country to teach their new Textiles 3:Advanced course. I love what I do, what really excites me is to see students develop in their own unique direction. I continue my own work in several areas, inspired by the beautiful landscape around me, still walking, collecting, drawing and sewing whenever possible.
The OCA is a non-profit making open access (no entry qualifications needed) Art College affiliated to the Open University. Each course offers written material compiled by leading national lecturers/practitioners, and 24/7 access to a personal tutor who guides you through the material. The emphasis is on allowing the student to develop in the way they want, at the pace they want. Courses can be taken by postal or face-to-face tuition, in a group or individually. This offers flexibility to those in work, etc. Often students simply take a course for pure pleasure and are awarded the OCA certificate. Alternatively, an assessment process with grading is offered. The resulting CAT points can be put towards a degree, either with the OCA or the OU, or used for direct entry to another UK college or university. I tutor by post/e-mail, plus face-to-face in my own studio, for students from Oxfordshire and surrounding counties. My studio will also be open for visitors during Oxfordshire Artweeks, May 26th - 3rd June 2007, 12 - 6 daily (late night to 8 on Thurs).
This level covers key areas; the design process and exploring essential skills.
Along with many 3rd year courses at art school, the approach allows the student to set their own Course Plan for the year, so they can concentrate on areas they wish to develop and explore. There is also a Research Project.
For Further Information and a Guide to Courses please contact direct:
The Open College of the Arts,
Michael Young Arts Centre,
Unit 1B Redbrook Business Park,
S. Yorks, S75 1JN
This workshop is held in my studio at home for one to four students It runs from 10 - 4 with home-made cake and refreshments provided Please bring your own lunch and sewing machine. I will supply a list of requirement and further details at time of booking. The fee per person is £50.00 and the day will offer lots of individual attention. We will explore an intuitive approach to found material, recycling it to form a 3D object, a collage or the start of a quilted hanging. The material can be either natural i.e. wood or dried leaves, or manufactured, i.e. packaging, leaflets and plastics.
I also provide flexible, friendly, one to one Creative Coaching via the phone, or in person in my studio, to help you solve any problem areas in your work, etc. You may be wondering whether to go to art school or not, or be worried about the interview or portfolio required. Maybe you are stuck in your creative work direction or need help with a particular project. This is £25.00 for the first hour, then £15.00 for the second and subsequent.
I am available to give talks, etc on a variety of subjects, particularly locally. These cover topics such as the experience of being an older student at Art College, and how textile art can be made more eco-friendly. Please contact to discuss your requirements.
I can happily offer a double bedroom with own adjoining bathroom in the attic for any student, OCA or otherwise, who requires an informal stay overnight. Please enquire.
Read Trisha's article on Shades of Green