Ottoman stitches – a journey in hand embroidery with Amanda Clayton

Ref: S3D13253

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About this course

The workshop is based around a collection of Ottoman textiles. Their unique combination of stitches, and relationship of ground to stitched mark will inspire your personal journey of thread and cloth as you revisit some often overlooked embroidery techniques.

Course Description

The course offered the opportunity to handle, observe, record, discuss and select from a collection of Ottoman textiles purchased by Amanda from the Island of Crete in the mid-eighties. This will inform decisions about what you like and would like to explore with thread and cloth during the course. The unique combination of stitches used in these textiles such as cross-stitch, gold-plate work, couching, drawn-thread, pulled work with other surface stitchery, will inform some ‘filling’ experiments and outlining.

This is a rare workshop taught by Amanda using colour who will share her obsession about these qualities of ‘oldness’ and the importance of informing ourselves through history and tradition, combined with a contemporary response. The aim is to be inspired to revisit or learn from new some overlooked embroidery techniques. Amanda is especially encouraged to look at different ways to outline and ‘fill in’ spaces. Changing grounds and experimenting with threads of different weights and textures will combine the traditional with the new. Silk floss, twisted silk, metal plate and cotton floss will be part of your explorations. Also you will be introduced to evenweave stitches most of which can be improvised on other cloth qualities. Part of the two days will be spent looking and recording the collection as well as looking at some other related old embroidered pieices. But most of all you will be encouraged to respond in your personal way and begin a few sampler pieces to get you inspired and continue at home.


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 tutor will supply most of the materials, including evenweave cloth and threads.

What students need to bring

  • Please bring the following equipment:
  • Paper scissors, cloth scissors, embroidery scissors.
  • Sewing needles including tapestry and crewel, cloth pen, sewing kit, tailors chalk.
  • 12” ruler/pencil/notebook
  • Coloured pencils
  • Cereal packet weight card about A4 size
  • Digital camera if you have one
  • Current sketchbook
  • Magnifying glass (optional)
  • Small tambour frame your preferred size
  • Lightweight calico about ¼ meter (optional)
  • Any book of embroidery stitches that you may have
  • Evenweave cloth – while some is provided bring extra if you have some 40cm x 40cm size
  • Any coloured threads that you love
  • A few pieces of your favourite cloth grounds or some pocket money if you wish to purchase something a little different to your normal choice

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Needles and some undyed cotton
  • Available from tutor:
  • Various qualities of cloth, for purchase if required

Additional information

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


Amanda Clayton

Having trained in Embroidery Amanda is still obsessed by the purity of thread and cloth. She is now working freelance after an enjoyable and satisfying few decades working on Art Foundation courses. She enjoys sharing her practice with others and is particularly interested in the way we all respond to similar elements with our own visual language.


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

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