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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : Design

Undergraduate Course: Stitch: Embroidering our Heritage into Contemporary Practice (DESI08118)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 1 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryFabric, thread and beyond; stitch can be a powerful medium. Decoration and embellishment, construction and repair, embroidery has the capacity to transform a base substrate not only on a practical but on a social and political level. Steeped in tradition, often narrative and poetic, the haptic resonance and meditative effects of the activity of stitching on the maker, also have proven befits to the maker in addition the product itself. This course incorporates both theory and practice of this subject. Practical workshops will take place in ECA textiles workrooms. The hands-on study of over 350 precious stitched objects held within the University research collections and associated 20th century publications from the Needlework development scheme archive in ECA, make this practical course unique.
Course description Stitch crosses many boundaries of discipline from the practical aspect of holding materials together, to the decorative application of one material applied onto and through the other using a needle. This course encourages students to explore practical skills alongside theory and current status of stitch in art, design and contemporary culture. The course will introduce students to the potential of stitch through hands-on workshop activities, lectures and field trips.

Practical workshops will introduce a repertoire of techniques and materials encouraging students to gain knowledge and understanding of stitch and embroidery, including hand stitch, machine stitch, fabric manipulation and digital embroidery with the CAD machine.

Lectures will include the study of historic stitch, embroidery for fashion and embroidery in contemporary culture.

Embroidery possesses a cultural significance deeply engrained in many social traditions. Opportunities will include the study and handling of the Universitys NDS collection of historic embroidery samples from around the world and ranging from 16th-20th century pieces. This will encourage students to study and analyse embroidered items in detail at first hand.

Building these experiences on a weekly basis, students will begin to apply these specialist practical and theoretical approaches to their own practice, making connections within the discipline and challenging perceived norms through the use of unusual materials, concepts, scale and contexts for embroidery.

10 x morning workshop sessions 38.5 hours
2 x lectures (week 1 and week 5)
2 x group tutorial sessions (weeks 3 and 9)
1 x formative feedback ( week 10)
1 x summative feedback (week 12)

Aims of course:
To introduce techniques, practitioners and traditions associated with embroidery and stitch.

To provide students with the technical and cultural knowledge of the discipline and the confidence of understanding to develop these skills and techniques and challenge contemporary approaches to the discipline for future projects.

To encourage individuals to produce a personal project recording processes and associated research, as a resource for future reference and development.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements This course is open to ALL STUDENTS and enrolments are managed on a first come first served basis until the course is full. The course will be open to enrolments from Wednesday 11th September at 11.00 am. Please sign up for the course through your own School (they will advise if this is done via your PT, SSO or Teaching Office). We do not currently keep a waiting list.
Additional Costs Yes, list of basic materials required will be supplied in advance. Materials costs which will vary depending on the student's individual method of production but could be approximated at £15 for this course.
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the techniques, processes and cultural significance of stitch through practical engagement with the course.
  2. Apply knowledge and skills of embroidery and stitch methods introduced within the course, to demonstrate practical abilities and to explore the possibilities of these techniques and practices creatively.
  3. Consolidate your findings in a personal format clearly demonstrating your understanding of the potential of stitch and embroidery for future development.
Reading List
Butler A, The Arco Encyclopedia od Embroidery stitches, Arco (1979)
Coats, J&P Ltd, 100 embroidery stitches (, Coats publications ltd. 1981)
Kettle, A & McKeating J, hand stitch perspectives, Bloomsbury (2012)
Nicol, K, embellished, A&C Black (2012)
Snook, B. Embroidery stitches, Batsford (1981)
Thomas, M. Mary Thomass dictionaly of embroidery stitches,, Hodder and Staughton Ltd, (1974) - Woolf, C. The Art of Manipulating Fabric, Krause Publications (2003)

Current articles, websites and thinking
Cornelia Parker embroiders the Magna Carter
Embroidery in prisons
Alice Kettle, contemporary artist using machine embroidery
Debbie Smyth, contemporary artist designer -
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Linking research with the development of practical skills.
Applying practical experience and knowledge to creative development of ideas.
Communicating technical understanding and ideas effectively.
KeywordsTextiles,stitch,tradition,culture,dyes,fabric manipulation,workshops
Course organiserMs Lindy Richardson
Tel: 0131 221 6129
Course secretaryMs Georgia Dodsworth
Tel: (0131 6)51 5712
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