Textiles is a fun and highly creative subject spanning all areas of art and design. You can explore the living world through research, analysis and experimentation of surfaces, nature, environment, man-made structures, colour, design and texture. The course develops your confidence in creative thinking which enables you to expand your ideas and techniques to produce a wonderful variety of exciting and original final outcomes. Observations and critical studies of artists, fashion designers and craft practitioners form a vital role in enriching your understanding of the creative world.

Staff List

Mrs Margaret Maunder - Head of Department
Mrs Maunder started her career at Heathside School where she rose to Head of Curriculum for Art and Design Technology. After 16 years she moved to the private sector and taught textiles at Cranleigh, and photography, graphics, art and textiles at St Catherines’ Twickenham. Recently she has built her own studio at home to further her own work. She has joined the school and brought a wealth of knowledge with her from her extensive career, which complements the excellent work already done within the department.
email: Margaret.Maunder@stcatherines.info

Mrs Amy Hare
Mrs Hare trained at Wimbledon School of Art and has a degree in Costume Interpretation.  She has worked in the costume industry for film and television for 5 years and began a teaching career at Rosebery School in Epsom.  She was also Head of the Textiles department at St Philomena's school in Carshalton for 10 years.  More recently she is currently working as a Senior Lecturer at the Royal School of Needlework as well as teaching part-time at St Catherine's.  In her spare time, she has publishes research about the history of textiles as well as raising a family. 
email: Amy.Hare@stcatherines.info.

Mrs Jo Barratt - Technician

email: joanne.barratt@stcatherines.info

Curriculum - A Level

Examination Board: Edexcel

Why study Textiles?

Textile Design is a dynamic and highly creative subject that encompasses many disciplines in Art and Design. The field of Textiles is a broad and exciting one that combines drawing and painting with print, felt making, fabric manipulation, machine embroidery and constructed textiles. During the course you are encouraged to develop and build on your creative strengths through an expressive and experimental approach. This allows for a high level of creative individuality. Final outcomes are a personal decision arrived at through rigorous investigation and can take any form.

Through the study of Textiles you have the opportunity to follow pathways into many areas of design.

Course Content

The start of the course involves the exploration of a theme using analysis and research to develop skills and knowledge in design, colour and stitch techniques. Contextual studies in art and design are required as a written element and will support your practical investigations.

You will have opportunities to generate and develop ideas, research primary and contextual sources, record practical and written observations, experiment with media and processes, and refine ideas towards producing personal resolved outcomes.


A Level: 60% Personal Investigation, 40% Externally Set Assignment: Practical work and a personal study; a written essay of 2000 - 3000 words - assessed as an independent unit: 15 hour examination

Curriculum - GCSE

  • AQA 4204 60% Controlled Assessment 40% Externally Set Task
  • Length of Examination: 10 hours (four week preparatory period)

GCSE Textiles is an exciting and challenging course that explores art and design through the medium of creative Textiles. You will learn new skills such as batik, tie dye and print methods and build upon other techniques of stitched and constructed textiles such as felt making, appliqué, quilting, hand and machine embroidery.

  • The course is designed to develop your individual creative strengths.
  • A number of visits to galleries and exhibitions are arranged throughout the course.

Course Content

During the two years you will be completing two projects of portfolio work supported by sketchbooks, A1 Preparatory boards and a practical outcome. Bodices, evening purses, belts, wall hangings and masks are examples of some of the possible final outcomes.

  • 60% Portfolio Work - Controlled Assessment comprising of two themes :
    Design and Colour
  • 40% Externally Set Task – 10 hour practical exam

You will answer one question (design brief) from the exam paper, which is issued in January of the exam. year. This is the preparatory period in which to research, develop your ideas and plan your final realisation. You will then make and complete your final outcome in the ten hour exam (arranged over a two week period) in May.

All work is internally marked and externally moderated by AQA.

The assessment objectives are:-

  • A01: Develop ideas through investigations informed by contextual and other sources demonstrating analytical and cultural understanding.
  • A02: Refine ideas through experimenting and selecting appropriate resources, media, materials, techniques and processes.
  • A03: Record ideas, observations and insights relevant to intentions in visual and/or other forms.
  • A04: Present a personal, informed and meaningful response demonstrating analytical and critical understanding, realising intentions and where appropriate, making connections between visual, written, oral or other elements.

Studying Textiles at GCSE can lead into a range of exciting career opportunities including fashion/textile design, interior design, fashion promotion, costume/theatre design.

Curriculum - KS3

Textiles is a specialist subject and requires specialist subject knowledge and expertise which the girl’s learn at St Catherine’s. Textiles is taught throughout the School and is a very exciting and rewarding subject.

On entry at 11 the girls are introduced to a variety of techniques and processes at different points in the course; each one will aid in their creative development. These processes are fun, with plenty of hands on experimentation and construction from traditional embroidery skills to dyeing, silk painting, appliqué to a more individual creative exploration at U4.

Most projects start with a design brief for inspiration. In U4 this becomes a more personal investigation into their creative strengths; building upon the skills gained in previous projects.

U3 Embroidered bag

  • Skills: hand embroidery, design work, dyeing in a microwave and construction techniques.

L4 Silk painted panel and appliqué

  • Skills: introduction to colour and silk painting, how to use the sewing machine for straight and zigzag stitches, how to use free machine embroidery creatively. Layering and embellishment with appliqué techniques.

U4 Creative Sketchbook using the theme of 'Colour'.

The final piece will be developed from their investigation into colour and different textile techniques:

  • Skills: fragment trapping, felt making, soft edge appliqué, printing, machine embroidery.
  • Sketchbook: sketchbooks are used for recording, research and developing ideas in all year groups.
  • Dyeing Techniques: print paste dyes, stencils, breakdown printing

Knitting & Stitching Show

Every year the Textiles department visit the annual Knitting & Stitching Show in Alexandra Palace, London in October.  All students studying GCSE and A Level will attend this as it is a vital research opportunity to meet contemporary textile artists who exhibit at the show.