Textile Study Group

artists and tutors sharing ideas imagination and skills

Summer School 2021

Seeing Through Layers

A residential summer school tutored by Textile Study Group members and open to everyone.

Sarah Burgess
Sheila Mortlock
Amarjeet Nandhra

Hillscourt Hotel and Venue, Rose Hill, Rednal, Birmingham B45 8RS
Monday 19 – Thursday 22 July 2020

textile textile textile

Tutors on this year’s summer school have developed three exciting new courses around the theme of layers.

You may be drawn towards a course which looks at shadowy images, reflections and disrupted surfaces, or you could choose to experiment with building up layers in a brand new sketchbook, or expand and develop ideas from close up detailed observations.

Using their own individual skills and interests your tutors will provide inspiration, support and encouragement to enable your own creativity to blossom.

Summer School brochure (PDF)

Summer School booking details, terms and conditions (PDF)

Online booking form. Please ensure you have read all terms and conditions before completing the booking form online.

Shadows and Reflections with Sarah Burgess

Fleeting images, reflections and constantly shifting shadows are our starting points. We will work with the student’s own imagery; such as plant and tree forms, reflections and shadows on water or man-made structures, as our design starting points.

Participants will create and record their own disrupted surfaces and experimental shadows following a series of structured exercises. Working with a range of opaque and semi-transparent papers and materials we will use mono-type printing to explore positive and negative prints, after-images and layering. We will investigate stitch both as a printing surface and in experimental shadow work using hand or machine stitch as preferred.

Participants will have the opportunity to produce a range of highly individual and atmospheric pieces culminating in more resolved personal work supported by discussion and individual tutorials.


Sarah taught in further and higher education for many years. She has exhibited widely, taught freelance on degree courses and currently works with groups and individual students. Following her college teaching she undertook an MA ADD in Textiles at Manchester School of Art. Sarah lives and works in rural Derbyshire.

Building Layers with Sheila Mortlock

The blank pages of a new sketchbook can be quite intimidating but this workshop is designed to help students take that first step towards developing ideas for textile or other projects from their own personal starting point. That initial idea may be stimulated by a favourite holiday destination, a country walk or even responding to the flowers in a garden.

Each layer will be a personal response to the process, and the techniques used on the pages of the sketchbook, once learned, can be applied to any future projects. Through a sequence of exercises we will change the surface quality of the pristine page, add layers, take away, collage, colour; the list is endless.

In the end we will have a range of sketchbooks brimming with ideas for future work, texturally inspiring, that will also be an interesting and exciting artefact in itself.


Sheila studied printed textiles and embroidery at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Dundee and latterly taught City & Guilds Stitched Textile courses. She is a founder member of Edge – Textile Artists Scotland and runs workshops for textile groups. Her recent solo exhibition explored croft boundary markers in a remote part of the Scottish Highlands.

Imperfect Layers with Amarjeet Nandhra

Looking in detail at things we often ignore, taking time to appreciate their imperfect qualities, will be the starting point for this workshop. We will loosely translate these images on to paper and fabric, using monoprinting, stencils and stamps.Drawing inspiration from our immediate environment, we will explore marks, textures and patterns.

Techniques involve cutting, obscuring, ghost images and overprinting to build up layers and depth in the prints. Participants will be encouraged to allow the serendipitous nature of fragments and print to inform these experiments.

Reworking these papers and fabrics using collage, mark making and stitch, participants will either fill a sketchbook with exciting ideas or develop a set of small collaged pieces. Development of ideas will be supported by tutorials.


Amarjeet’s teaching experience covers a range of courses: printmaking, mixed media and contemporary stitched textiles. She has taught at Diploma level, City & Guilds and Adult Education, both in Spain and the UK. Her current practice explores the narrative of cloth within a social, economic and cultural setting.

More about Sarah Burgess, Sheila Mortlock and Amarjeet Nandhra on the members pages

The Venue

Hillscourt is a delightful venue set in 25 acres of beautiful grounds and gardens. The Victorian house dates back to 1897 and retains many of its original features. It is located in leafy South Birmingham, near to Bromsgrove, Worcestershire and close to the Lickey Hills.

The venue is easily accessible by road being a 5 minute drive from the M5 Junction 4 and 5 minutes from the M42 Junction 1. The nearest station is at Longbridge and the nearest airport is Birmingham International Airport.

There is ample free parking available.

More Details

The summer school begins at 2.00pm on Monday 19 July, and ends after afternoon tea on Thursday 22 July 2021.

All bedrooms are to be vacated by 9.30am on the Thursday morning.


Booking, payment and cancellation information is on the accompanying booking details. This year for the first time please use our online booking form to send your booking once you have read through the  booking details.

Terms and Conditions

The booking details include important Terms and Conditions in line with our liabilities to the centre. Please ensure you read these carefully.


All bedrooms are ensuite.

For this year only, due to Covid 19, tutor groups will be reduced from 16 to 10 students. Unfortunately this does mean an increase in costs.

Full board, course fee, accommodation £650

International students £670

Non resident day delegate and course fee £470
This includes lunch, dinner and workshops in the evenings.

The course fee does not include lunch on Monday 19 July.

If you are making a long journey, bed and breakfast for Sunday and/or Thursday night can be arranged by booking directly with the centre. This also applies to partners who wish to stay at the centre.

Those receiving in-service grants from colleges should send the Textile Study Group the course fee and claim back a refund from their college.


For any queries about the Summer School please contact email hidden; JavaScript is required

You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to read the PDF files – you probably have it already so try downloading first. If the PDF doesn’t download you may need to obtain the Reader free from Adobe’s website.