What is Textiles?
Textiles has shrugged off its old reputation of being all about ball gowns and peg bags and has moved into the 21st century. This course allows you to experience the “new textiles” and leads you on a journey through the ever growing and exciting world of printed, constructed and illustrated design. Textile, fashion and surface pattern are all important elements of today’s design world and many people who follow such a route find themselves with very exciting and varied career opportunities.
You may either base your studies on an arts and craft approach, exploring surface textures, embellishments and construction techniques or follow a more commercial style of working. Both are highly rewarding and provide students with a rich and varied body of work. Everything from product and greeting card design through to haute couture, fashion illustration and interior design find their roots firmly planted in textiles, proving that this is both an exciting and varied subject. If you are interested in this or any form of fashion or textiles and wish to develop your skills through practical, hands-on experience, then this course could be for you. Many of our students go on to follow careers in art and design but for others it is just an opportunity to gain a good AS or A level grade in a subject they enjoy!
Is Textiles suitable for me?
This course requires enthusiasm and ideas, solid drawing ability and an interest in extending your knowledge of fashion and textile designers are also helpful. To succeed you need to be good at working independently, managing your time and meeting deadlines.
You will not only develop those skills you already have but also find the opportunity to explore new areas and techniques. The course allows you to explore ideas in illustrated design and fashion drawing, printed and constructed textiles and all forms of mixed media surface pattern. Some students choose to specialise in one area, but many enjoy the opportunity to try many things. Current students have found that computer software opens up a fascinating range of possibilities for producing a high level of professional finish in their fashion design work. Other students have preferred to work in more extravagant mixed media or even 3 dimensional constructed textiles.
Whatever your interest all students enjoy the more personal project work in specialist, well equipped art and design studios.
How will I learn?
You will work on a series of projects, typically lasting 3 or 4 weeks. You will be encouraged to explore your own responses to a fashion or textile design brief, researching and developing your ideas by means of considered drawing, investigating form and tone in particular, within sketchbooks, mood boards and design sheets before moving on to more resolved final pieces. You will have access to many materials and tools and will be shown different processes through workshop and studio activities. You will be encouraged to explore the work of other artists, designers, and cultures. Alton is not the centre of the art world so we regularly organise visits to art galleries, exhibitions and design studios and each February we take a party of art students to an overseas city. In recent years we have visited New York, San Francisco, and Beijing.
4 to 5 hours private study per week is expected at AS.
How will I be assessed?
Coursework: Year 1 – 60%; Year 2 – 60%.
AS Level Year 1
- Art and Design coursework 60% of AS (30% of A2)
- Eternally set 8 hour exam 40% of AS (20% A2)
A2 Level Year 2
Art and Design coursework 60% of A2 (30% of A Level)
Externally set 12 hour exam 40% of A2 (20% of A Level)
Each Unit will include development studies and research in a work journal or sketchbook together with finished pieces of work.
While many students go on to follow art and design courses in higher education, this course is by no means only for future fashion or textile designers. A Level Textiles is accepted by all universities for almost all courses. It offers a broad and valuable education developing aesthetic awareness and judgement together with creative thinking.
Alternatively you may choose to move directly into employment in one of the careers associated with fashion and textiles such as promotion, advertising, buying or marketing.
Many students make successful applications for higher education places on specialist art and design/textiles courses at art colleges and universities. It is possible to take a wide range of degrees, in subjects as diverse as printed and woven textiles, fashion illustration, interior design, furnishing, fashion marketing and promotion, fashion technology, costume design, and many more! Most students wishing to pursue a degree in fashion and textiles will initially choose a place on a one-year Art Foundation course. Successful Alton College A level Textiles students have the opportunity to stay on to complete an Art Foundation course here.
Students studying a 3 or 4 AS level programme should normally have achieved an average GCSE point score of 5.5 or above and at least a grade C in Maths and/or English (unless specified otherwise). Students with a point score between 4.5 – 5.5 will normally take a mixture of Subsidiary Diplomas and AS levels. You can check your likely GCSE point score by going to 'Choosing the Right Course' on the website and entering your predicted grades.
The most important qualification for success is enthusiasm for, and interest in, the subject. We will normally expect you to have achieved a C in GCSE in Art or Textiles, although in exceptional circumstances we do consider students without an art/textiles qualification. You must have an open mind and enjoy the challenge of exploring new ideas and ways of working.
All students will be expected to provide their own textbooks, stationery, computer disks and calculators (where appropriate).
Essential: £30 for a box of art materials (this is a comprehensive set of materials which is available through the College at a substantially discounted rate).
Optional: £50 for trips and additional materials.
If the costs of equipment, materials and trips may cause you financial hardship, you may wish to read through details of our financial support scheme on our website.