About this course

This course is an exploration of techniques for creating texture in woven tapestry, in the perfect environment of a studio at West Dean. Consider different materials and effects in samplers as a reference for your own practice.

Course Description

This course will be an exploration of techniques for creating texture in woven tapestry. You will work through soumak, whipping, wrapping, knotting and pile techniques. You must have a reasonable ability to weave plain areas of tapestry at speed, as this will support and give substance to all the textures we are to grapple with.

The tutor will instruct and encourage you to gain a working knowledge of these textural techniques. He will provide some yarns of various fibres, as well as materials like wire, paper and plastic. You will gain experience of working with unusual fibres or materials in conjunction with the pliable colours from your own stock.

By the end of the course, you should have an overview of the possibilities of texture that can be applied to your own practice in woven tapestry. You should have produced several samplers for reference and to underpin future projects, and you will be aware of how a choice of fibre/material will change the impact of each technique. You will have also enjoyed observing how the other students have produced different interpretations of the same techniques.

For the first evening, there will be a run through of the variety of textures with examples on display and for discussion. Hopefully you might also get a sampler strip warped up in preparation for the next morning’s start.


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 some of the materials, including yarns of various fibres and some other materials like wire, paper and plastic. A standard cotton warp yarn will also be available for use on the course. G clamps can be borrowed from the workshops.

What students need to bring

  • Images, ideas and books
  • Felt tip pens and a sketchbook/paper
  • Some of your favourite coloured yarns
  • A good pair of scissors
  • Any other weaving tools you have and wish to bring (weaving frame, bobbins etc)
  • At least one image for source material: painting, drawing, photography, digital media
  • You may also like to note that a special tapestry wool supplier usually visits the course with an array of hand dyed wools for purchase.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Wooden tapestry frame**
  • Scissors
  • Warp yarn
  • ** These may also be borrowed during the course and purchased at the end of the course if you wish to take it home: they cost around £15.

Additional information

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


William Jefferies. Tutor at West Dean College

William Jefferies

William Jefferies trained at Edinburgh College of Art before going on to work at the Dovecot tapestry studio. He went on to an MA course at the Royal College of Art. Teaching at Morley College until retirement, he now runs regular workshops at his studio in Kew. His tapestries are held by the V&A and the Crafts Council.


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

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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.