Experimental Handstitch – with Amajeet K Nandhra


This course will explore an experimental and free approach to hand stitching. You will begin with a variety of traditional stitches, undertake challenges that will push, stretch and redefine their character. Set exercises will explore building, cutting, distorting, scale and colour. The aim will be to create experimental and expressive samples using a range of unconventional materials.


What is the course about?

An alternative approach to using hand stitch in a  more experimental and expressive manner. Using design exercises, you will learn/revisit a range of stitches and techniques, and be encouraged to break the rules to create a very individual and personal response to the set exercises.

What topics will we cover?

In each session, you will be introduced to a range of different techniques and stitches for you to creatively interpret into samples. These will include stitches from the chain family, buttonhole, loop and knotted family. Working with simple design exercises you will look at different ways of using stitch to build up texture; consider pattern, colour and the use of expressive line. You will also explore and experiment with unusual materials both to stitch with and on.  The aim will be for you to work on samples that can be used as to part of a portfolio or for personal development and enjoyment.

By the end of the course you should be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of basic hand stitch techniques
  • Build  confidence it experimenting with a range of hand stitch techniques
  • Identify and use a range of non traditional materials
  • Create a range of hand embroidered samples
  • Use the elements of design to inform your work
  • Create a wide range of experimental and responsive hand embroidery samples

Additional information


8th and 9th July 2021




Your lunch and…

  • A selection of fabrics that you may have coloured ,dyed or printed for previous projects (light and medium weight), vegetable/fruit netting, some  papers, felt, scrim, hessian, sheers, any scraps! Just bring what you have.
  • 1-metre lightweight calico
  • A range of threads – thick, shiny, matt, to include stranded cotton, perle, strips of fabric, raffia, ribbon, wool/tapestry threads  in fact anything that will go through a large eye  needle (which I will supply)
  • Embroidery frame /hoop
  • Usual hand sewing kit – pins, scissors, a range of needles
  • Your sketchbook or a selection of photographs that you have taken.

Amarjeet Nandhra Bio:

I am an artist and educator based in West London. Trained in Graphic Communication, I have also worked as an Art Director on various independent short films. My teaching experience covers a range of courses; printmaking, mixed media and contemporary textiles, at Diploma level, City & Guilds and Adult Education. Currently I run Advanced Textiles and Mentoring sessions  based in Bracknell and Oxfordshire.  Alongside this I teach at City Lit adult education centre in London.

My practice often addresses themes of social causes, using textiles and mixed media. The narrative behind this work examines the hidden meaning, looking beyond the aesthetic sensibility of the textiles. I am interested in unpicking and examining the stories, history and memories, that they hold.

This pathway has led to re examining the colours, patterns and marks, associated with traditional Indian textiles. At first glance the ornamentation seduces the viewer. Creating a superficial lens in which these traditions have historically been examined. To be seen , simply as colourful and aesthetically pleasing items.

However, such a reductive viewpoint, prevents a deeper understanding of the textiles. The often intricate and beautiful embroidery of these pieces, disguises their identity, as powerful carriers of meaning and memory. These textiles, past and present, are both making and marking identities, conveying a narrative through stitch, colour, mark and pattern.

Print, mixed media, and stitch provide the foundation to express these ideas. The work develops through layering of marks, text, patterns and stitch. The ideas are formulated through drawing and samples whilst explorations have also resulted in wire drawings and small constructions.


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