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A-Level Textiles

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Why study Textile Design?

Exam board and specification codes: Edexcel 8TEO / 9TEO

Textile Design is a versatile subject that involves the creation, selection, manipulation and application of a range of materials and processes in order to produce fabrics for different purposes. Textile Designers are expected to work in a multi-disciplinary way to create ideas, concepts, materials and techniques for different applications. These include Fashion Textiles (specialist areas might include fashion and clothing, sportswear, accessories or innovative clothing for theatre or film). Textiles for Interiors (fabrics, wallpapers, upholstery, bed linens, curtains, carpets and rugs or more generally as surface designers for vinyl coverings, tiles, leather, glass, packaging, greetings cards and wrapping paper). Fine Art Textiles (a form of personal expression using mixed media constructions, tapestries, soft sculptures, wall hangings and installations).

At the core of any textile art and design related practice is drawing. Drawing is an essential skill in the development process, from initial visual research, recording from primary sources, through to the translation of ideas into finished designs. The practice of drawing in textile design embraces traditional and non-traditional tools with digital translations and applications.

Through studying this subject, you will gain an understanding of Textiles across different times and cultures and an introduction to the diverse roles and functions of Textiles in contemporary life. A foundation in this subject will provide you with many transferable skills and can lead to a wide range of career opportunities in the creative industries.

What is covered by the course?

AS Art and Design (Textile Design) (A one year course)

AS Components 1 and 2

Component 1 (Personal Investigation 50% of your overall mark)

This Component will introduce you to the subject and involve exploring textile materials, techniques and processes that can be applied to fabrics for different purposes. You will learn many new skills and investigate historical and contemporary aspects of the subject through studying the work of other textile artists and designers. This will help your understanding of world cultures and their influence on textile design today. Visits to Galleries and Museums are an integral part of the course and you are encouraged to visit exhibitions independently. For this component, you will be given a theme to develop under the guidance of your Tutor and you will have the opportunity to pursue work under the categories that interest you most (Fashion Textiles, Fine Art Textiles or Textiles for Interiors).

Component 2 (Externally Set Assignment 50% of your overall mark)

The Exam Board will set a theme for you to respond to and during the preparatory weeks, you will be supported by your Tutor. Using the knowledge, skills and processes learnt on the course, you will research and develop your own ideas, which will culminate in a 10 hour exam where you produce a final outcome for assessment.

A Level Art and Design (Textile Design) (A two year course)

A2 Components 1 and 2

Component 1 (Personal Study and Personal Investigation 60% of your overall mark)

At A2 level, Component 1 is in two parts, comprising of a Personal Study (contextual research plus an essay with a minimum of 1,000 words in continuous prose) and a Personal Investigation. This is research and practical work that reflects your personal interests in the subject. It will involve negotiating a suitable starting point with your Tutor who will support and guide you throughout.

Component 2 (Externally Set Assignment 40% of your overall mark)

The Exam Board will set a theme for you to respond to and during the preparatory weeks, you will be supported by your Tutor. Using the knowledge, skills and processes learnt on the course, you will research and develop your own ideas, which will culminate in a 15 hour exam where you produce a final outcome for assessment.

How is it examined?

For both AS and A2 level Textile Design, your work will be internally assessed and externally moderated by a visiting examiner. Throughout your course you will be given written and verbal feedback on your attainment and work towards a realistic target grade based on your full potential.

Related University courses and careers?

For students wishing to pursue Textile Design at a higher level, there are two main pathways.

  • Art Diploma (Foundation) This course is an intensive multi-disciplinary course for those students wishing to identify the field of artistic study that they wish to pursue at University. It includes modules in 2D and 3D Visual Studies, Design for Communication, Applied Arts and Design, and Photography.
  • Direct entry into Higher Education. For students who are certain of their career direction within textile Design, there are many specialist degree courses available across the country.

Careers linked to Textile Design include all Applied Arts and Crafts, Costume and Theatre Design, Fashion Design and Business, Fashion Illustration, Film and Television Production, Interior Design / Textiles for Interiors.

Suggested reading:

Websites

Fashion and Textile Museum 

V&A 

British Museum

Crafts Council 

Selvedge

Textile Techniques

Saqa

Books

400 Years of Fashion by Natalie Rothstein (V&A Publications)

The guide to Textiles for Interiors by Dianne R. Jackman, Mary Katherine Dixon, Jill Condra. Portage + Main Press 2003

Japanese Fashion Designers : The work and influence of Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo by Bonnie English. Berg 2011

The New Textile – Trends and Traditions by Chloe Colchester

From Image to Stitch Maggie Grey. Batsford 2008#

Magazines

Crafts Magazine

Embroidery Magazine (Embroiderers’ Guild)

Selvedge Magazine

Vogue Magazine