The Textiles Department is a dynamic, forward-thinking Department, conscious of sustainability and the impact of fast fashion on the environment. We aim to promote sustainability and to encourage students to think about their consumption of resources, and we work closely with Old Cornelians to broaden our knowledge of new practices and technology within the industry.
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Students use wool from school sheep and alpacas in their work, make their own re-usable food wraps with beeswax from the Mayfield beehive, and make natural dyes from foraging and kitchen waste. The girls also learn to make their own fabrics through bonding, weaving, crochet, and knitting.
Small teaching classes and one-to-one tutorials help to develop each student’s ability to understand how design is influenced by external factors, and to use this knowledge to inspire, interpret and inform their own ideas.
We have two fantastic studio spaces. The Main Studio is in the heart of the School and is fully-equipped with a large sewing station and various machines, as well as wet and dry areas for activities ranging from Japanese Shibori dyeing, to pattern cutting and manipulation. We also have a wonderful collection of relevant, subject-specific books and magazines available in our small but well-stocked library. Our smaller Design Studio provides an alternative space for A Level students to work in.
A Level Textiles introduces students to wider opportunities, building a strong foundation of knowledge and technical skills. The OCR Art and Design, Textiles qualification requires the learner to complete two components: a personal investigation and an externally set task.
The Textiles Department runs a busy co and cross curricular programme. The Studio is open in the evenings and at weekends so that students can work independently during their study periods and free time. We also encourage students to take part in national competitions such as the Royal Opera House Design Challenge. Cross-curricular links are made with subjects such as Chemistry (natural dyeing), and Maths (subtraction cutting). This year we are also launching Competitive House Tapestry Club and The Chapel Project.
The Department makes regular trips to museums and shows including the V&A, the Knitting and Stitching Show, Graduate Fashion Week, and the Textile Design Museum. We also offer a variety of workshops whereby invited textile artists share their skills, knowledge and experiences with the girls.
Past students have gone on to study Fashion Design, Fashion Marketing, Costume Interpretation, Art Foundation, Illustration and Shoe Design, among other courses, at a range of prestigious universities including Leeds, Manchester, Arts University Bournemouth, University of Madrid and Central Saint Martins.
After having her family, Terri studied as a mature student at Rayner Academy, Durban, South Africa. She went on to work as a freelance costume designer in film and theatre, as well as opening her own design studio where she designed and made bespoke wedding dresses. After moving to England, Terri joined Mayfield School in 2001 to work alongside in the Drama Costume Department. She went on to introduce Textiles back into the School, creating a thriving and well established Department.