Weaving on a body-tensioned loom with Rebecca Connolly

Ref: S3D33277

Location: West Dean
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Places available

About this course

Master the key skills of weaving, using the delightfully simple, body-tensioned, rigid heddle loom. Build a repertoire of techniques as you weave with British wools and other fibres, exploring colour, texture and pattern.

Course Description

Aimed at those with little or no experience of weaving, the course will teach you how to weave on the body-tensioned loom.

You will weave experimental swatches to explore the properties of different yarns: fibre type, thickness, texture and colour. The main fibre will be British wool from breeds with diverse natural colours and characteristics.

Guided by explanation and demonstration, we will cover the key skills and techniques of weaving, applicable to all types and sizes of loom. You will be supported as you weave at your own pace.

As you gain confidence and expand your knowledge, your weaving personality develops, reflecting your preferences in fibre, colour, proportion, pattern and aesthetic, be it tartan patterned wool cloth or a chunky textured multi-fibre art piece.

You will have use of your own loom for the duration of the course. It has a weave width of 7.5” and your first warp will be set up, ready. The body-tensioned loom is similar to the traditional back-strap loom, but incorporating a rigid heddle makes it easy to raise and lower the two sets of threads to pass the weft through.

Loom set up will be demonstrated to include winding the warp, threading and tensioning. You will be encouraged to wind a warp and set up your own loom.

We will cover the calculations necessary for a successful outcome, and design techniques as an aid to visualise a proposed weave, including interpreting a source of inspiration.

On completion of the main teaching element, you can plan and execute your own project, subject to the yarns available and the achievability within the time. Alternatively, you may wish to continue your experimental sampling.

On the first evening, we will discuss examples of woven fabrics and yarns and get familiar with the body-tensioned loom.

Course Materials


  • On this course, the tutor will supply all of the weaving equipment, yarns and other materials.

What students need to bring

  • A notebook, pen and coloured pencils
  • Embroidery scissors, if you have them
  • A camera/smartphone (may be useful)
  • If you have any special yarns you would like to try weaving with, such as hand-spun wool or an art yarn, feel free to bring it.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Stationery supplies
  • Available from tutor:
  • Body-tensioned loom kit – you may purchase the loom you have used in the workshop for £35.
  • Wool warp yarn – if you would like to make extra warps for a loom you are taking home, this is charged at £3 per metre length of warp for a 7.5” weave width.

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


Rebecca Connolly

From her Cirencester studio, Rebecca Connolly creates woven textiles weaving on vintage looms.
She specialises in creating cloth with provenance, utilising the diversity of British wools with natural dyes. Commissions are hand-woven or designs developed for production weaving.


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.