Susie Gillespie

Residential Creative Textile Course


Flax processing, spinning, weaving & natural dyeing with Susie Gillespie


Course dates: Feb Mon 20th to Fri 24th 2017 – Full

Course dates: May Sun 7th to Thur 11th 2017 – Full

Course dates: July Mon 3rd to Fri 7th 2017 – 1 place

Course dates: October 1st-5th

3 places

Susie’s workshop and studio are set in the orchards of a 15th Century cider farm in South Devon . It is the perfect place for you to relax and be inspired on this 5 day Residential Creative Textile Course.

Susie Gillespie will show you how to process and spin flax grown in her orchard to make a hank of linen, colour it using natural dyes and then weave a cushion cover or piece of artwork. The course is 5 days and includes all materials, accommodation, breakfast, lunch and dinner.

You can relax during the evenings by bringing along your own knitting, crochet and sewing project and share your ideas with the other students. Or take the opportunity to explore the beaches, countryside and river estuaries of South Devon recording what you find in sketches, photographs and found items and return to the studio to incorporate your ideas into your woven art work.

Susie plants the flax seed (which is also called linseed) in spring and it is ready to harvest around August time. Susie will talk you through the process of rippling, retting and drying and you will be supplied with the flax stems from last summers harvest for you to start the next stages of processing the flax into linen yarn.

91Firstly you will put the stems through a giant wooden crimp called a breaker to reveal the flax fibres. The remaining bits of hard pith that are left on the fibres are then removed with a wooden knife called a scutch.

To prepare the fibres for spinning, you will comb them through fine metal tines (prongs) called a hackle and they will begin to resemble the pony tail of a flaxen haired maiden.


103The pony tail is then spread out on a table and wound onto a distaff. Susie will then show you how to tease the fibre off the distaff and onto the spinning wheel to produce the linen yarn.

Once you have a hank of your own linen yarn you can colour it using natural dyes and then move on to the weaving studio where there are large four shaft floor looms and begin the process of weaving the linen into cloth to produce your own cushion cover or artwork.

95Susie will show you basic weaving techniques as well as her more unusual ideas in weaving.

You can weave different textures and experiment with wrappings, twill, looping, slits and tapestry inlay. You can also experiment with gesso, paint and earth pigments and if you are making an art piece distress, fray, stain, unravel, darn, stitch, cut and sew fragments together.

Suitable for complete beginners and experienced spinners and weavers and you will come away with your own linen cushion cover or piece of artwork designed and created by you.

92Course price £875 full residential and includes 5 days tuition, all materials, accommodation in the Farm House and Barn House, breakfast, lunch and dinner.


July Course dates: Mon July 3rd to Fri 7th July 2017 

July Accommodation dates: Sun 2nd July to Thur 6th July.

Course times: 10am to 4pm each day





2017 course dates

May 25th and 26th – Weaving course – full

June 3rd and 4th – Weaving course – full

July 18th and 19th – Weaving course – full

July 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th Residential 5 day Creative Textile Course – 3 places

July 31st, Aug 1st, 2nd, 3rd – Textile Art Techniques with Alice Fox and Susie Gillespie – full

August 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 24th – Flax processing, spinning and weaving course – 1 places

September 16th, 17th – Weaving course – full

October 21st, 22nd  – Weaving course – full 

November 4th and 5th – Weaving course – 2 places

2018 course dates

March 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st – Textile Art Techniques with Alice Fox and Susie Gillespie – full

July 30th to August 2nd – Textile Art Techniques with Alice Fox and Susie Gillespie – 5 places