Media, materials and processes: textiles

Some pupils prefer working with textiles to the ‘messy’ aspects of wet media. Textiles have particular resonance in a Northern Ireland context because of the history of the industry here. The various practices and procedures of working with textiles are also widely reflected in contemporary practice, in the fine and applied arts.

Learning Intentions

  • We are learning about the construction of traditional and new fabrics, and to use this knowledge to create imaginative 2D and 3D works.
  • We are learning how to use colour to decorate fabric.
  • We are learning how to use stitch to shape, embellish and join fabric.
  • We are learning that we can apply textile processes to materials other than fabrics.

To help set this work in context, you may wish to refer to the other Key Elements for Key Stage 3 Art and Design on this microsite:

Learning Activities

Help the pupils to gain knowledge and experience of:

  • examining textiles for colour, weave, texture, weight, pattern etc;
  • weaving, e.g. by recording colours, patterns and textures they observe, or by creating woven images;
  • knitting, for example using flexible materials such as strips of plastic or flex which they can incorporate into 2D and 3D work;
  • felting, discovering the range of fibres which can be successfully felted;
  • moulding felted fibres into 3D forms;
  • creating 3D fabric forms;
  • deconstructing woven, knitted and felted fabrics by ripping, tearing or melting materials to use in 2D and 3D works; and/or
  • recycling a variety of man-made plastics such as bubble wrap, polythene and plastic bottles into imaginative textile structures.

Show the pupils that they can create an original piece by:

  • dyeing, painting and printing on fabric for a particular purpose, e.g. to make a wall-hanging;
  • staining, bleaching and distressing fabrics to change their appearance; and/or
  • using various resist techniques such as batik, gutta, machine stitching, relief and screen printing on fabrics to create patterns and images.

Allow the pupils to use hand and/or machine stitch to:

  • shape or pleat fabric, foam or paper;
  • create patterns and textures;
  • explore appliqué, quilting and patchwork techniques with traditional and non-traditional materials; and/or
  • draw using free machine embroidery techniques.

Discuss other possible creative applications of textile processes, for example:

  • applying colour and stitch to papers, plastic, leaves and other natural and man-made materials; or
  • using natural and man-made materials to make clothes, or soft furnishings such as quilts and hangings.