Learning practical skills, mastering materials and developing aesthetic understanding
Art and design textiles is a dynamic and exciting course that appeals to pupils who are interested in costume, fashion and interiors. It is a thriving department with excellent facilities including two classrooms with a suite of sewing machines, sublimation printer and access to a laser cutter.
Pupils can opt to study textiles in Year 9 where they are introduced to the sewing machine, working with colour, and manipulating fabric skills. GCSE textiles runs over two years and A-level textiles pupils will usually have studied the subject at GCSE.
Pupils studying for A-level textiles will have a strong creative vision and skills in design as well as an interest in fashion or interior design. This course is highly creative and pupils are able to experiment with a range of media. Skills gained include garment construction, embroidery, print and fabric manipulation.
In the Lower Sixth, pupils are able to experiment through a wide variety of experiences, exploring all elements of textiles: colour, contrast, harmony, pattern, repetition, shape and texture, using a range of media, techniques and processes. In Year 13 pupils create their own briefs and specialise in a particular area or medium.
Pupils wishing to apply to art or fashion foundation courses are fully supported in developing their portfolios.
In year 10 and Year 12 pupils have the opportunity to work with the director Tom Guthrie designing costumes for the Royal Opera House as part of the Royal Opera House design Challenge. Pupils work to a live brief and design for either an Opera or a Ballet explore the themes within the story and work to visions provided by the director. In 2021 two textiles pupils in Year 10 were awarded joint winners in this prestigious competition.
Developing strong creative vision and skills in design.
Beyond the Classroom
The Textiles Department runs a co-curricular programme to give access to facilities and staff expertise throughout the week. Pupils are encouraged to work in the department independently during any of their study periods and during other department opening times. In addition, textiles activities are offered as part of the College co-curricular programme.
Pupils can choose to participate in a range of activities within the department. These have included partnership projects with the Royal Society of Arts, the ‘Dress a Girl Around the World’ project, a textiles residency with Cath Stonard and work with several local artists. More information about these projects can be found on Textiles page within the co-curricular section of the website.
While in the sixth form, dedicated textiles pupils are able to use their skills towards their Gold Arts Award, extending their achievements in fashion and textiles. A recent project of note was a major fashion show in the Birley Centre for St Wilfrid’s Glad Rags charity event that included a photo and filming shoot and a live auction and catwalk. The auction raised over £7,500.
As part of the textiles programme, a strong collaboration has developed between the Textiles Department at Eastbourne College and the Hetzendorf Fashion Institute in Vienna, Austria, including a biennial exchange for GCSE and A-level pupils.
We encourage pupils to take part in national competitions, for example Wool4school and the Royal Opera House Design Challenge. There are also opportunities to work with the Drama Department, designing and making costumes for productions, usually through the Gold Arts Award offered at A-level.
Recent examples of GCSE and A-level pieces. Click on the images to view them full size and high resolution.