Personal journals – sourcing inspiration for textiles with Cas Holmes

Ref: S3D13027

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About this course

Discover ways of creating and exploiting your sketchbooks as a starting point for mixed media, textile projects or three-dimensional designs. Using unconventional drawing techniques, collage and photography, capture and develop ideas from your immediate environment.

Course Description

Artists always make reference to other images and narrative. In this workshop you will look at developing ideas through creative journals and sketchbooks as a starting point for textile based work and design ideas. Using the images, patterns and textures found in the building and grounds of West Dean and/or from your own design source, you will start your own visual diary and look at creating sketches and design ideas in unconventional ways. These will be used as a base to start torn paper drawings and textile mixed-media processes to start evolving ideas for a piece of work.

This workshop offers a unique insight into the tutor’s approach to gathering ideas and resources from the world around you. It will reflect her own observations and working methods resulting from her artist’s residency at the College.

The journal and samples resulting from this creative exploration could be used as a starting point to your own creative practice for mixed media and textile-based work, in three-dimensions, books or collage.

Materials and techniques covered:

•Collation and developing ideas through drawing, collage and photography.

•Developing references using collected media and found resources referencing West Dean or own subject.

•Combining paper and textiles media and techniques.

•Simple drawing techniques and its combination with the stitched mark.

•Creating your own references, photos, and notes. Seeing with new eyes.

A combination of demonstrations and discussion in the workshop will encourage you to work individually in applying techniques in the development of your own journal. Develop ideas in mixed media. Samples will be available to look at and the course ends with an open discussion of ideas and process in relation to the work produced.


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


  • An A5 landscape sketchbook, some cartridge paper, shared materials and printer inks used during the course.

What students need to bring

  • As you work through the course you may choose to make reference to the College environment and/or work from personal images, ideas and other materials you have collected for inspiration. Bring images for inspiration and one or two images of previous work.
  • The course is based on using found materials. The list is intended as a guide but feel free to bring any favoured media. The following listed items * may be usually be purchased at the College Shop if necessary):
  • Papers:
  • Any references or papers you have on a personal theme and/or collection of interesting waste papers. Old books, maps or related objects or photocopies from books and images you like. Assorted weights of papers from brown wrapping paper/potato sacks, tissue, glossy magazines, patterned paper, textured paper (wallpaper) oriental specialist papers, hand-made paper. Gathered ephemera e.g. lace, fabric scraps, staples, paperclips, pins, old food wrappers, ties, pegs, photographs, etc. 3-4 small found objects to print with. (This should fit in one small carrier bag.)
  • Equipment:
  • A smart phone/ipad or digital camera, (with fresh batteries or charger and the camera to computer leads) and USB memory stick save or transfer images.
  • A selection of drawing materials you may already have including:
  • A waterproof fine tipped pen*, a soft (2b-4b pencil)*,
  • Koh-I-noor paint set or watercolour set.
  • Additional writing/drawing media* of your choice (i.e. coloured pencils, felt pens small bottle of inks, etc).
  • Small sponge.
  • Wide or one-inch brush, 2–3 finer brushes*, 3–4 plastic lidded containers (margarine tubs or similar for dye and glue).
  • Plastic ruler, scalpel or craft knife*, scissors, 2 large glue sticks*
  • Small amount of fabric, patterns and plains, to be used for collage
  • Small (half metre) or less of white cotton* for backing larger pieces (optional)
  • Basic sewing equipment*:
  • Needles, pins, assorted threads of your choice include a few machine threads part of the course focuses on hand stitching for those who wish to stitch by machine, bring your own sewing machine if you prefer to use it (there will be 2-4 sewing machines for class use)

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • See above *


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.