The Point of a Needle – a workshop for textile artists with Michael Brennand-Wood

Ref: S4D29560

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About this course

This workshop will investigate how marks or stitches are shaped by the tools we employ. You will experiment with a variety of needle shapes into a raised bespoke ground, designed to facilitate innovative and individual mark-making.

Course Description

The central focus of this workshop is on the tool that creates the mark/stitch. Needles, like brushes, come in a wide variety of shapes, weights and lengths. Each has its own specific set of handling qualities designed to facilitate certain tasks. It is important to question the inter-relatability between the needle, thread and gesture deployed to create a visual mark. Each one exerts its own influence. If you are interested in working with thread, your choice of needle is at the sharp end of any deliberation as to how to proceed.

At the onset of the workshop, you will be given a collection of needles which will include long, curved, split, upholstery and basketry in a variety of thicknesses and lengths. You will also be provided with a raised floating frame, which facilitates a more expressive and gestural interaction with the ground, as it allows for a greater degree of physical interaction and movement both above and below the surface of the cloth/ground you choose to work into.

The course will begin with a series of demonstrations that outline the technical parameters of the equipment you will be working with. This will be followed by selected visual references to add context to the nature of your experimentation, imagery that relates in feel, concept and aspiration. This is not a stitch workshop per se but an opportunity to either experiment in a freeform gestural way or reference/extend traditional stitch structures. You are free to combine any forms of graphic mark making-media, thread, wool, tape, pencil, paint or crayon together.

The first session will be a brief group introduction and outline of the workshop. You should bring something that either describes your working methods or illustrates your chosen area of visual research.

Where courses can be regarded as stalking horses for ideas, workshops are designed to mentor and substantiate participants’ own practice via individual and group discussion. The tutor’s aim is that you will return to your own workspace empowered and with a renewed sense of self-belief.

Course Materials


  • On this course, the tutor will supply some of the materials, including: needles and a selection of random threads.
  • Some other equipment and materials, including a floating frame will be supplied by the College.

What students need to bring

  • A collection of materials that you enjoy using and which are relevant to the workshop investigation and which might add character to your work e.g. wires, threads, string and wool, fabrics, paints, ribbons and tapes.
  • Drawing media, thin papers, a personal textile/paint/work box of the things you like to work with or have collected. Linear material is particularly relevant, as you will be building surfaces in a series of layers.
  • Bring to the first session something that either describes your working methods or illustrates your chosen area of visual research. This could be a sketchbook, photograph, object, piece of work or idea/inspiration image that illustrates your practice.
  • Also bring some basic tools, scissors, needles, pliers, brushes, etc.
  • Camera/phone to record work.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Needles, threads, graphic media, papers
  • Available from tutor:
  • Additional needles and wires

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


Michael Brennand- Wood portrait

Michael Brennand-Wood

Michael has an international reputation as one of the most innovative artists working in textiles today. He has lectured at Universities in London, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Poland and USA.His work is represented in collections worldwide, including the Victoria & Albert Museum and the National Gallery of Australia.


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.