Textiles

Textiles at Downe House is a versatile subject that gives pupils the chance to create, and one that boasts excellent results at GCSE and A Level.

Head of Department: Miss Amy Majerski

The number of girls choosing to study Textiles at GCSE in the Lower Fifth is growing, and in turn leads to increased numbers of girls taking A Level. The Department is proud of the 100% pass rate at GCSE and A Level with a 100% Level 7-9 pass rate at GCSE. 58% of the 2022 cohort attained a Level 9 which is exceptional. 

Projects for all year groups in Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5 are new, innovative and encourage all students to excel creatively.

Textiles departments 620 x 580 sewing machine downe house
Textiles Departments jacket half block

Lower School curriculum

Key Stage 3 (Remove – Upper Fourth) 

The students in Lower School enjoy five-ten week rotations in Textiles, dependent on their year group. 

Remove: Students work towards a brief where they are asked to design and make a fair-trade textile product. This includes an introduction to the sewing machine, becoming confident with the process of threading and operating the sewing machine and becoming familiar with the full range of stitching techniques. Surface decoration techniques using block printing and batik are used to create fabrics as used in developing countries. The fabrics created are then used to create a patchwork lavender heart; students learn how to join fabrics, how to press using the iron and finally how to create seams.

Lower Fourth: Students look at the work of the contemporary artist Kurt Jackson and interpret one of the artist’s paintings to create a landscape from textiles. Each student will examine distance and perspective, breaking up the background, middle ground, and foreground, and placing the horizon to form an interesting and striking composition, using a combination of materials such as soldered synthetic fabrics, paints and a range of decorative hand and machine stitches. Each student will have the opportunity to explore a wide variety of techniques and demonstrate the ability to use colour effectively in a composition. A completed canvas displaying their work will form the outcome.

Upper Fourth: In the Upper Fourth it is important that students begin to get a feel of what an Art and Design Textiles GCSE option may feel like. They are taught to undertake tasks expected of students at GCSE level. This includes the creation of a written Artist Study and in this case pupils look to the work of Josh Blackwell. They are also introduced to drawing exercises; contour drawn portraits are added to with colour and pattern inspired by the work of Natasa Kekanovic. This research and planning then feeds into the creation of a bold and colourful stitched portrait created on upcycled substrate, often a disused plastic bag as informed by Josh Blackwell.  

Upper School curriculum

Key Stage 4, GCSE (Lower Fifth and Upper Fifth)

Art and Design: In Textiles Design, pupils learn to work as both artists and designer makers. They are taught the skills required to produce outstanding GCSE controlled assessment coursework. They are provided with A3 sketchbooks in which they are expected to present all work created to an exemplary standard. A range of skills are taught including sketching, mark making, drawing with stitch, the manipulation of textiles, weaving, knitting, printmaking, and construction. The students begin formal controlled assessment coursework in the first term of the Lower Fifth year, and this is assessed as part of their GCSE qualification. 

Component 1: Personal portfolio: 60% of the qualification
Component 2: Externally set assignment/practical exam: 40% of the qualification 

Sixth Form curriculum

Key Stage 5, A Level (Lower Sixth and Upper Sixth) 

At A Level, students study Art and Design and Textiles Design. Students will be introduced to a variety of experiences that explore a range of textile media, processes, and techniques. 

Students explore the use of drawing for different purposes, using a variety of methods and media on a variety of scales. For example, a student may select a theme ‘Travel’ and then investigate the theme by creating paintings, collage, pencil, and ink sketches. These investigative methods are then used to inspire the development of techniques to include quilting, embroidery, print methods, dyeing methods, weaving, knitting and more. 

Students use sketchbooks and A1 boards extensively to underpin their work. Once techniques have been explored, a textile outcome is created which include fashion clothing and sculpture.

Further information about the teaching and learning of Textiles may be obtained by contacting Miss Amy Majerski; Email: majerskia@downehouse.net

Alumnae:

Kezia Dubens completed a Fashion Design Programme at Parsons in New York and has now founded her own business called Ossatura London.

Marina Hacking is a former pupil who has recently completed the Fashion Folio course at Central Saint Martins; she proceeded on to the degree course at CSM and she is now a Designer at Burberry.

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