Studio 05: Small Encounters

Studio brief

The Second International Exhibition of Miniature Textiles in 1976 served as a showcase for almost 90 artists from around the world to present a piece of work no bigger than a 20cm by 20cm cube at the British Crafts Centre, London. Yet, all that remains is the exhibition catalogue, colour slides and a box of miscellaneous items in the Archive of Art and Design at the V&A Museum. What happened to all the artists? Are they still making work using textiles now? What inspired these textile pieces then, and who inspires your own practice now? By researching into these artists, this studio guides you through developing a methodology to understand the context of your own work and that of other makers.

Textiles present exciting material and theoretical opportunities for us to think through our practice, to make sense of the world around us in the past, present and future. By threading our stories with those of others, this studio offers you the opportunity to do original primary research, reflect upon your own design identity and contribute to the fabric of our society through a practice-based dissertation.

You will actively investigate artists of your choosing, drawing upon oral history and object analysis as well as theoretical areas such as gender, sustainability, scale and identity, to develop your own 20cm x 20cm response, supported by a written text of 4,000 – 6,000 words.

Suggested readings, resources and preparatory activities

  • The Second International Exhibition of Miniature Textiles catalogue (1976) 
  • V&A Archive of Art and Design, Blythe House 
  • The Constance Howard Gallery and Goldsmiths Textile Collection, Goldsmiths University 
  • Jessica Hemmings, The Textile Reader (2012)  
  • Bradley Quinn, Textile visionaries: innovation and sustainability in textile design (2013)  
  • The Textile Society, journal 
  • National Needlework Archive 
  • The Journal of Modern Craft, journal 
  • Nadine Kathe Monem ed., Contemporary Textiles: The Fabric of Fine Art (2008) 
  • Jeffries, Wood, Conroy and Clark eds., The Handbook of Textile Culture (2016) 


Image credit: Contemporary Applied Arts, formerly known as the British Crafts Centre

Dissertation studios

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Cass Studios archive by year