Slow stitch – textiles with Claire Wellesley-Smith

Ref: S3D32962

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About this course

Explore a variety of slow textile techniques, using traditional skills as inspiration. Use a palette of thread and repurposed fabric to develop your textile practice and reflective way of working.

Course Description

This hand-stitch course will explore a variety of slow textile techniques, using traditional skills as inspiration. Old quilt samples, Japanese Boro pieces and hand-mended scraps are among the textile treasures from the tutor’s collection, and you will be exploring these and learning to read the textiles.

You will use simple stitching, plain-sewing and patchwork techniques, and a palette of thread and fabric repurposed and naturally dyed by the tutor. You will explore the possibilities of developing a daily textile practice through the use of a stitch journal. There will be opportunities to explore the pleasure and wellbeing benefits that can be found from slow textile processes.

This course will encourage a reflective way of working and will lead to the beginnings of a resonant, personal piece of work. There is an emphasis on sampling and testing ideas, rather than one outcome.

You can expect to explore the process in a relaxed supportive environment. The tutor will encourage you to develop your work through observation and experimentation.

Course Materials


  • On this course, the tutor will supply most of the materials, including:
  • A piece of vintage wool blanket and some linen
  • A selection of naturally dyed fabrics and threads

What students need to bring

  • Please bring with you a textile that you are happy to share a story about with the group. This could be something that you have made or a family textile (it will not be included in the work you make during the course).
  • Textile scraps which hold meaning for you to include in your work
  • A simple sewing kit, including: scissors, pin cushion and needles
  • Threads you like to stitch with (optional)

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Sewing needles and scissors
  • Available from tutor:
  • Industrial wool felt (£7 per piece 50x50 cm)
  • Hand-dyed threads (priced between £5 and £10)

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio. This includes stout covered footwear, i.e. no open-toes or sandals, and safety boots, if specified.


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)

General Information


Claire Wellesley-Smith

Claire Wellesley-Smith is an artist and author. She has an MA in Visual Arts and specialises in slow textile processes including the use of natural dyes and hand stitch. She has many years experience of teaching adults textile-based processes as part of long-term projects. Her book, Slow Stitch: Mindful and Contemplative Textile Art was published by Batsford in 2015.


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.