Project Partners and Residency Hosts

Somerset College – Textiles Fashion and Design –

Somerset College

The college vision is that every learner will excel and develop their talents and potential for employment, independence and life, and that Somerset College will be a catalyst for economic and social change in Taunton and Somerset.

Our ambition is to create the college of the future providing a unique blend of professional and vocational further and higher education to meet the needs of the local and regional economy for employment, prosperity and success.

The College has a strong tradition of higher education provision and is the largest university provider in Somerset and Devon.  The greatest provision is in arts and design, with a strong offer in health and social care and a growing offer in technology. The College is also unique in Somerset in being able to offer foundation degrees and honours degrees.

The Textiles Fashion and Design department runs a 3 year BA hons degree and students can chose from the following distinct pathways

  • BA (Hons) Design (Fashion)
  • BA (Hons) Design (Fashion Textiles)
  • BA (Hons) Design (Surface Design)
  • BA (Hons) Design (Interior Textiles and Surface Design)

The department is spacious and well equipped and offers facilities for garment construction, digital imaging, silk-screen and printmaking, laser cutting, and embroidery.

Fox Brothers Ltd –

 Fox Brothers logo

Established in 1772, Fox Brothers Ltd is the original creator of flannel suiting cloth and to this day continues to produce wool and cashmere fabrics at its mill in Wellington.      The company is now jointly owned by Managing Director Douglas Courdeax and Deborah Meadon (Dragon’s Den).

They supply Savile Row Tailors, the military, luxury brand, fashion houses and individual clients.  The company archives are said to be one of the most important textile archives in the British Isles.   They have an in-house tailor based in the showroom at the factory that is opposite their historic base at Tonedale Mill which was the largest textile mill in the South West.  Tonedale Mill stands largely empty after failed attempts to redevelop the site.  Fox Brothers have ambitions to move operations back to the old Tonedale Mill site and in the meantime rent office and showroom space there for their new enterprise The Merchant Fox.

A new online business, The Merchant Fox offers a collection of one-off and limited edition, luxury lifestyle and interior goods that pride themselves in being handmade in Britain. The range currently covers handcrafted leather, jewellery, textiles, furniture, baskets, bags, and accessories.  The products are either designed in-house or sourced from existing suppliers, which are mostly in the South West.   Decca Lang runs the Merchant Fox.

Somerset Heritage Services –

The Heritage Service provides care of and access to Somerset’s archives, museum objects, historic buildings and sites.  It provides research facilities, exhibitions, advice, events, outreach and learning opportunities about Somerset’s rich heritage. The Somerset Heritage Centre houses Somerset’s archives including a collection of 30,000 textile items (smocks, waistcoats, needlework samplers, lace collars, shirts, Quantock Weavers collection rope and hessian) It is also home to the Heritage Learning team and the Museums Service.

John Boyd Textiles –

John Boyd Textiles logo

First established in Castle Cary in 1837, John Boyd Textiles is proud to maintain the tradition of horsehair weaving. Horsehair fabrics are woven with the finest and best quality tail hair from live horses and cotton or silk warps using the original looms and techniques from 1870.

Horsehair fabric was originally used by famous furniture designers such as Chippendale, Hepplewhite, Lutyens, and Rennie Mackintosh, and are ideally suited to most forms of upholstered furniture; antique, classical, and contemporary. To this day, horsehair fabrics are widely recognized for their unequalled lustre, durability, care properties, and value. Horsehair fabrics have been used with many prestigious projects throughout the world.

John Boyd Textiles is now one of the last companies in the world still weaving hair cloth. Although the historical traditional fabrics are still woven today, contemporary designers also appreciate the unique qualities of horsehair fabrics. Many new designs and colours have been added to the collection in recent years.

WSP Textiles Ltd –

wsp logo

WSP Textiles Ltd is an independent UK company who specialise in the manufacture of high performance woollen cloth for billiard sports and tennis ball coverings.

Manufacturing in Stroud, the company is proud of its West of England heritage and the WSP acronym recognises the founding mill owners, Messrs Winterbotham, Strachan and Playne.

Today the Strachan brand dominates the snooker and English pool markets while Playne’s tennis ball cloth can be found on Dunlop, Wilson, Head, Babolat and Tretorn tennis balls used at many tournaments worldwide including Wimbledon, the Australian Open and Roland Garros.

Stroud International Textiles –


SIT aims to raise awareness, increase knowledge and the enjoyment of contemporary textiles and contemporary crafts and to challenge the public’s perception of contemporary crafts while increasing active participation in the arts for a wide range of people and abilities. SIT’s vision is to act as a catalyst for experimentation and collaboration by promoting an innovative year round programme to the general public that includes high profile exhibitions and learning experiences. Our vision is to support the work of emerging and established artists encouraging them to reach their creative potential. SIT aims to enhance people’s lives and bring pleasure through the arts.


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