Canvas, paper, text and image – art textiles with Cas Holmes

Ref: S2D13505

About this course

Taking inspiration from a personal collection of everyday objects, natural forms or memorabilia as a theme, you will explore ways to combine mixed media materials with stitch to create richly layered college onto a small stretched canvas.

Course Description

In this mixed media course, you will take inspiration from everyday objects such as cups, bowls or collections of natural forms, like shells, feathers, leaves or other types of personal memorabilia as a starting point for developing themes. You will be introduced to materials and processes in which cloth, paper, text and image are combined with stitch to create richly layered collages onto a small stretched canvas.

You will explore processes of transferring your own photocopied and collected images onto canvas and cloth surfaces and combining them with found papers/book pages and cloth fragments. This workshop based course is a combination of demonstrations and discussion where you will be encouraged to work individually in applying techniques and developing ideas in mixed media. Samples will be available to look at and the course ends with an open discussion of ideas and processes in relation to the samples and work produced.

Day 1: Mark-making, cutting out, stitch and introduction to paper lamination. Layering of paper with found materials and fabric using techniques adapted from Japanese screen making and paper crafts. As you work you will look at the references to text and other images you have collected and consider how these can be used as an inspirational source.

Day 2: Looking at ways of developing the canvas, sampling and further stitch working, focusing on the use of text/image – building towards textured and layered surfaces.


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


  • On this course the College will supply dyes and paints and general materials supplied and used by the group as a whole, including one small stretched canvas. The tutor will supply some tissue papers.

What students need to bring

  • As you work through the course we will make references to the environment of West Dean, personal images and ideas and other materials you have collected. Bring pictures for inspiration and one or two images of previous work.
  • Please note this course is based on using found materials. The list below is a guide – feel free to bring any favoured media. All the items should amount to no more than a carrier bag full!
  • (*These items may usually be purchased in the College Shop.)
  • Equipment:
  • 1–2 inch brush*, 2/3 finer brushes*, sponge
  • 3–4 plastic lidded containers (margarine tubs or similar)
  • 2–3 items of additional writing media of your choice
  • At least one waterproof soft-tipped pen
  • Plastic ruler, scalpel, paper scissors, cheap wax crayons for writing text and making rubbings
  • Small sponge*
  • Any letter stencils/print blocks you may have (optional)
  • Basic sewing equipment:
  • Scissors*
  • Assorted threads of your choice and suitable needles* for your thread. One or two machine threads (there will be a couple of sewing machines available for a brief demonstration and practice for those who wish)
  • Papers and fabric:
  • Select found materials which inspire you. For example: Assorted weights of papers from brown wrapping paper, tissue*, glossy magazines,/pages from old books, patterned paper, textured paper (wallpaper), oriental specialist papers, hand-made paper* etc.
  • Piece of cotton/cotton polyester mix, calico*, old sheeting – no more than a half a metre width, useful as a base for two-dimensional/three-dimensional work
  • Gathered ephemera e.g. lace, fabric scraps, lacing, tags, old food wrappers, etc
  • Printed images:
  • Photocopy or laser prints of images and text for the transfer process. Colour and/or black and white. (Not an ink jet printer). If you are unable to access a copier you can copy of your images at the College.
  • Aprons and plastic gloves
  • Notebook/camera (optional)
  • You may wish to bring additional small stretched canvas to work on (optional)

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Undyed cotton/calico fabric
  • Sewing needles, scissors
  • Assorted papers and art materials

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no sandals or open toes).


Cas Holmes

Cas Homes studied in Fine Art, Maidstone College of Art (UCA) in the eighties before a further study in Japanese art, textiles and papermaking in Japan under a Japan Foundation Fellowship and a Winston Churchill Memorial Fellowship. She is a tutor at West Dean College alongside other adult education and community projects. Cas has also published work including; Textile Landscape, The Found Object in Textile Art, Stitch Stories, and Connected Cloth.


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

Courses of interest

Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or advance your learning with our BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft: Materials, Making, and Place (six years part-time). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.