Raised embroidery – contemporary interpretation with Fleur Oakes

Ref: S3D32963

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About this course

In this introduction to contemporary stumpwork, explore ways to use and combine textured raised embroidery stitches, to interpret your own conceptual idea for a personal art project or embellishment.

Course Description

On this course you will explore how to use traditional stumpwork and raised embroidery techniques in a contemporary way.

With a focus on more abstract and conceptual work, you will use colour and texture through technical experimentation. Initially, you will be learning to master a selection of raised stitches and then some three-dimensional methods. These will include stitches such as ‘picot’ and ‘bullion’ and you will then move on to detached buttonhole techniques, couronne chains and Tudor style covered beads.

Emphasis will initially be on using colour, massed stitches and combining techniques to create texture. Structure in raised work will then be examined with the more three-dimensional methods and, at the same time, there will discussion on interpreting natural forms and more conceptual ideas, as guided by your own interests.

Everyone is allowed to work at their own pace and to focus on techniques that they find most appealing. You are also invited to develop a project before or during the course, and will have time with the tutor to explore what is possible and plan the technical aspects of your ideas. Alternatively, you may wish to create finished sample pieces of each technique for future reference.

Images shown are of the tutor’s own work and are used only to give an outline of the innovative approach which will be taught on the course.

Course Materials

What students need to bring

  • Embroidery needles
  • Embroidery scissors
  • Your own choice of embroidery threads
  • Plain cotton fabric for sampling stitches
  • Any other haberdashery items that you feel could be useful, e.g. seed beads, unusual yarns or fabrics A small embroidery hoop (15-20cm) – these may also be borrowed during the course.
  • Reading glasses, if worn
  • Reference material of textures and colours to explore e.g. sketchbooks, inspirational images, etc.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Embroidery needles
  • Available from tutor:
  • Wooden beads and millinery wire are provided by the tutor

Additional information

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


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


Fleur Oakes

Fleur is a lacemaker and three-dimensional embroiderer and has worked widely in the fashion and textile arts. With both a fine art and design background she has designed textiles for couture houses as well as producing her own corset range.

Fleur is also a member of The Art Worker’s Guild. Here she has a role in the ongoing promotion of the importance of craft in society. As part of a recent fellowship with the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Research Institute (VARI) she explored new ways to focus on their collections through the perspective of the craftsmen who made the objects.

Fleur's work all stems from close observation of natural structures, the colours of leaf and stone and a deep connection with the natural world. 


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.