Introducing Sarah Taylor, new Textiles Curriculum Leader

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Our new textiles curriculum leader, Sarah Taylor, introduces herself below. We are very pleased to have her join the team.



‘My interests lie in the exploration of light within cloth. Since the mid-1990s I have specialised in light-emitting material exploiting optical fibres within woven textiles and design-led artefacts. I use traditional, craft-based processes in conjunction with digital technologies to create novel, time-based aesthetics. The nature of my practice is cross-disciplinary and I have been lucky enough to work on numerous projects with electronic and lighting specialists, designers and scientists.



I have exhibited at national and international venues including the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, the National Museum of Scotland and the Museum of Kyoto in Japan. I have been commissioned for exhibitions including, The Cutting Edge: Scotland’s Contemporary Crafts; the multi-sensory exhibition, Coming to Our Senses and was also a finalist nominee for the Jerwood Applied Arts Prize: Textiles. The work has been featured in numerous design publications and journals including Textile Design, Art Textiles of the World, Techno Textiles and International Design Year Book series.


I graduated from Winchester School of Art specialising in woven textiles (1991) and was awarded two prizes acknowledging innovation and creativity within the subject. I gained a Textile Institute Scholarship to undertake a postgraduate diploma in textile design at Heriot-Watt University with distinction (1992) and was funded by the university to undertake an MPhil research degree where I specialised in fibre optic technology for textiles (1995).


I have enjoyed a varied academic career for nearly 20 years as a senior lecturer and Reader at Heriot-Watt University and the University of Brighton. I have taught textile students within visual design and weave and have supervised honours, master of design and doctoral students. I have external examined for 10 years and given a number of invited presentations within the UK and design institutions oversees and in Europe.



After leaving full time academia two years ago, I have enjoyed the opportunity to be involved in a digital Arts Learning and Teaching on line research project and working as an artist in residence in a collaboration project with Danish lighting designer, Tom Rossau. I am keen to develop and share my interests and knowledge in teaching, learning and research and I am looking forward to the opportunities of working with the Open College of the Arts and teaching students from diverse and interesting backgrounds.’


Note: Sarah replaces our previous textiles curriculum leader James, who moved on unexpectedly.


  1. Julia 21 February 2013 at 2:26 pm

    What hugely intriguing work! Here is a warm welcome from a Textiles 1 student.

    1. Sarah Taylor 21 February 2013 at 10:53 pm

      Hello and thank you Textiles 1 student! I hope you are enjoying your time with OCA? I am excited about joining the team and working with you all.

      1. Julia 27 February 2013 at 2:22 pm

        You are more than welcome! Enjoying my time with OCA but also keeping myself amused with the odd short burst of textile-related practical course which involve some Real People. Glad you are on board and it is nice to have a responsive tutor roaming the virtual domain that is OCA. And don’t worry the Moroccan silk question on the forum was a one-off for the Research Point in Assignment 2 of my course which asks you to write about a piece in your home. Hope you are enjoying your new role too!

      2. Malena 1 May 2014 at 11:45 pm

        Hello Sarah wow amazing work I was looking for Sarah Honeywell and I found you. Congratulations on your brilliant work.

        malena from Winchester nutty knitter!

  2. Judith Cutler 21 February 2013 at 3:11 pm

    And a warm welcome from me too, Sarah! I imagine that the OCA textiles students (and no doubt many of those studying other areas of the arts as well) would be be very interested in finding out more about your work: any exhibition/workshop you might hold in the future should prove very popular!

    1. Sarah Taylor 21 February 2013 at 10:55 pm

      Thank you Judith! I will keep you posted…

  3. emma drye 21 February 2013 at 3:42 pm

    Best wishes to James too – I hope he has gone on to something good!

    1. Sarah Taylor 21 February 2013 at 10:57 pm

      Best wishes of course! Thanks Emma.

  4. Ann-Marie 22 February 2013 at 7:58 am

    I welcome Sarah and feel her knowledge and very interesting work very inspiring! I personally am very fond of the contrast of traditional techniques and very modern technology and hope Sarah will place interesting marks in our work!. Textile 1 student

    1. Sarah Taylor 25 February 2013 at 10:43 am

      Thank you and hello Ann-Marie! We are lucky to be working in such an interesting time with the availability of new developments in materials and technologies. Using optical fibres was a natural progression for me as my weave development was naturally focussed on the use of light-orientated yarns. Working with actual light in textiles has opened up a whole new vocabulary for me. You might find the new book, Warp and Weft by Jessica Hemmings (Bloomsbury, ISBN 978-1-4081-3444-3) interesting. It focusses on the subject of weave with the context of our digital age and the impact of new materials.

      Enjoy your own explorations of traditional and new materials!

  5. Miriam 22 February 2013 at 11:59 am

    Welcome along Sarah, I really hope you have a successful and enjoyable time in your new role within the OCA. As a Textiles Degree student I would be interested to understand a little more how you see your role at the OCA panning out over the coming months?


    1. Sarah Taylor 26 February 2013 at 12:05 pm

      Thank you Miriam; I have various roles as a part-time employee including tutoring and assessment, working with other staff and strategic developments for course curriculum. I am also involved in other art-based and work activities. So, over the coming months I will be busy working on a variety of activies. Will you be coming along to the Kaffe Fassett exhibition in May?

  6. Ruth 22 February 2013 at 2:07 pm

    Hi Sarah

    It’s great to have you on board. Your work looks fascinating and I look forward to reading more about your ideas for OCA as time goes on. I’m approaching my last assignment in T1: A Creative Approach so hope you will be on board for many more of the modules still to do! Good luck with the post


    1. Sarah Taylor 25 February 2013 at 10:04 am

      Thank you Ruth and good luck with your assignment. I shall look forward to seeing the work at some point soon!


  7. LizzyB 25 February 2013 at 9:42 pm

    Welcome Sarah. It’s very inspiring for us Textile 1 students to see your work and I am very pleased you have joined the OCA. I’ve always loved the effect of light streaming onto a surface through coloured and textured glass. Seeing your images of light through cloth gives me a similar feeling and I’m looking forward to exploring your work further.

    Do you know anything about the work at the Textile Centre of Excellence in Huddersfield? I came across them last week as I was doing the research point at the start of Assignment 3 of A Creative Approach. I approached them to ask more about their DNA anti-counterfeiting techniques for textiles and they have invited me to go and visit. They also do 3-D weaving and multiplex laser surface enhancement – whatever that is!

  8. Sarah Taylor 26 February 2013 at 12:18 pm

    Thank you Lizzy. Their Centre was set up in the 1970s to support the local textile industry. I think you will have a fascinating visit. The (MLSE) Multiplex Laser Surface Enhancement can do extraordinary things. As a state of the art machine it can change fabric performance properties at Nano level and the processes are environmental. Wish I was going!

  9. sandra flower 28 February 2013 at 2:47 pm

    Hi sarah, just wanted to say hello and wish you a very warm welcome. I’m really looking forward to working with you, and look forward to some interesting disucssions and chats on the textile forum too. Good luck with the post


    1. Sarah Taylor 4 March 2013 at 10:57 am

      Hello Sandra, thanks very much and for keeping the textile discussions vibrant! Very much look forward to working with you.


  10. Susan 1 March 2013 at 8:16 pm

    Your work looks facinating Sarah. I look forward to seeing more and meeting you at the Kaffe Fassett exhibition.

  11. Sarah Taylor 4 March 2013 at 11:07 am

    Thanks Susan. I’m really looking forward to the Kaffe Fassett exhibition visit it should be very inspiring. We’ve had a great response and are fully booked. I’m keen to organise others too. Look forward to seeing you then.


    1. Karen Woodfield 11 March 2013 at 9:04 pm

      How about the Stroud Textile Festival –

      We also organise an informal study visit ourselves to the Holburne Museum in Bath to see two textile related exhibitions and have a show and tell mini workshop. Its on Saturday 16th April.

  12. Sarah Taylor 12 March 2013 at 10:05 pm

    The Stroud Festival is on my agenda Karen! I am keen to organise something, so I will let you know, many thanks for bringing this up.

    The informal study visit sounds excellent and the exhibitions will be hugely inspiring, that’s great. Hope you get a good number of students to come along.


  13. Michele Millidge 28 April 2014 at 8:07 pm

    Just found you Sarah, glad you are still doing well -this looks like an interesting role. we were at Winchester together such a long time ago, when I was a Beckhurst! I am now part time teaching Art in the grammar school here in Salisbury and was just researching Michael Brennand Wood for a new project the boys are doing!

    1. Sarah Taylor 29 April 2014 at 10:39 am

      Well stone the crows…how are you? Your job sound really great too! Be great to catch up Michelle, my email is:


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