Form and Function

  • Date: 15/06/2023 12:00 - 22/06/2023 12:00



This workshop will focus on using repurposed fabrics and threads to create functional pieces that can be loved and used for years to come. Various techniques will be demonstrated and individual styles encouraged.

The course is suitable for beginners as well as the more experienced textile lover. A material list will be sent out to participants before the course - there will also be materials for all stages of the weeks work readily available .

On completing this course students will have a variety of pieces, using many different textile techniques. This is an opportunity to extend and explore stitch knowledge and further enhance textile skills. Exploring well known stitches in different ways and building up compositions of different shapes and colours.

Pincushions: The course will begin with setting up some Solar Dyeing pots - we will use natural dyes ( logwood, pomegranate, cochineal, onion skins, madder, walnut and more!) to colour our threads and small pieces of fabrics. These coloured pieces will be added to our “palette” for when we get to hand stitching. We will prepare our “grounds “ to make pincushions.

Using discarded woolen jumpers, we will enhance the background areas with woollen tops and sheer silks , making a “painterly “surface to work upon. The embellisher machine will aid us in creating our background areas. 

We will add hand stitching - exploring various stitching techniques with various threads , from wool to cottons. Then we will form a stable shape to construct our pincushions, adding lids and bases. Each one will be an unique decorated form.

Folk Art Birds: Using our naturally dyed threads and fabrics we will start to explore the form and patterns of a Folk Art Bird, developing this into a textile collage.

Using images from Hungarian folk art we will start to explore bird forms, their shapes and patterns. We will use this bird form as a basis of a fabric collage with hand stitching as decoration. Templates of bird shapes will be readily available; a sketchbook is advisable to plan and extend ideas. 

These pieces will be further decorated with flower motifs made from re-purposed cotton lace and enhanced with hand stitch.

A small fabric Bird Book will also be formed and we will explore various ways of building up bird shapes and decorating the background pages.



Ann Stephens is an artist living and working in rural south west France.  Working with old, worn, repurposed fabrics and threads, Ann builds up surfaces and adds layers of stitching to create complex surfaces of interest.

Ann is Fine Art trained and has moved from the medium of paint to now predominately working with fabric, thread and natural dyes. She finds this ‘soft’ approach a more sympathetic way of expressing her notions of herself.

After running a large Art Department in Wales and moving to France, she now has the time to explore her own work.  

Ann has exhibited both internationally and in France.
Instagram: ann.stephens.artist
Facebook:      Ann Stephens Textile Artist