Hand print and stitch a linen throw, using plant dyes with Nicola Cliffe

Ref: S3D32037

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About this course

Design a repeating pattern and hand screenprint onto natural linen using sustainable inks made from plant dyes. Assemble the layers with kantha stitch and a naturally dyed hemp silk binding to complete your throw.

Course Description

The outcome of this short course will be a beautiful linen throw that has been screen-printed in your own design, and hand quilted using Kantha stitching. Nicola will talk about past and present print designers that have inspired her, the history and chemistry of the plant dyes she loves and she will reveal the simple stencil making techniques for screen-printing. You will also have the opportunity to do some dyeing with some plant dyes, to colour the hemp-silk for the quilt binding.

The course includes:

An introduction to designing for the screen-printing process

Collecting ideas and resources to inspire the final print for the quilt front

Practice of transforming ideas into a printed design

Experimentation with a limited range of natural dye pastes to form a colour palette for your design

Setting out the fabric, mark-making possibilities and the basic equipment required

A session in natural dyeing, making dye baths and experimenting with the colours that will be used to dye the binding

Assembly of the quilt and how to stabilise it ready for stitching

Simple Kantha stitching technique and guide marking

Binding the quilt to finish. The finished size will be approximately 130cm square.

This course is suitable for any level, although some hand and machine sewing experience will be useful (but not essential). Please bring an apron, some rubber gloves, a thimble and a few stories to tell whilst busy sewing.


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: inks, fabric and sewing materials to complete your throw.

What students need to bring

  • Please bring the following:
  • Apron, rubber gloves
  • Sketchbook and pencil/ruler
  • Simple sewing kit, with needles, pins, safety pins, if you have them
  • College sewing machines may be used on this course, unless you prefer to bring your own.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Pins, needles and sketching materials

Additional information

Wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toes or sandals.


Nicola Cliffe

Nicola, a chemistry teacher for 20 years, launched Madder Cutch & Co in October 2016 after completing an MA in sustainable textile design at Chelsea College of Art and Design.


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.