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Exploring the Art of Japanese Embroidery

With Rob Jones

6 May 2022 - 8 May 2022

3 day course 10am - 4pm

As part of ‘Japan Week’, the first of our regular international spotlights on arts and culture, we are offering this three-day intensive course in exploring the art of Japanese embroidery techniques, taught by textiles expert Rob Jones.

Throughout this three-day course, you will be immersed into this meditative and highly-skilled practice, learning Sashiko stitching and Boro mending, as well as Kogin-counted thread embroidery – a practice which Rob is currently the only teacher of in the UK.

The pace of the classes and the retreat-like atmosphere of Clayhill Arts will allow you the time to complete larger pieces across the 3 days. By the end of this course, you will have developed new insight and practical skills and under Rob’s guidance, you may even gain the confidence to create your own designs using these ancient techniques.

Download the full course itinerary here


I have been on many residential courses, but can’t remember ever feeling as cared for and relaxed at the same time as feeling invigorated by the teaching and companionship. I’m at something of a turning point and the weekend has helped me see a way forward. Highly recommend this wonderful place. 
– Nicola Grove, course participant


I had a lovely weekend learning Japanese embroidery here. Everything about my experience was amazing. Set in an area with beautiful views and peaceful surroundings. My room was very comfortable and cosy, decorated with great attention to detail. The food was excellent. Very friendly and accommodating host. The course content, delivery and tutor were very good. Really hope to attend again.
– Anne Chaplin, course participant

Rob Jones

Rob Jones is a textile artist and teacher, who takes his inspiration from Japanese Textiles traditions including Shibori, Katagami stencilling and Sashiko embroidery and Boro. Having discovered Shibori, the ancient Japanese art of resist dyeing, at West Dean college in 2011, Rob went on to study in Japan under indigo guru, Bryan Whitehead.

In 2018, Rob returned to Japan to expand his Japanese textiles skills, visiting Ise, the home of Katagami stencilling and buying supplies. Rob set up his own teaching practice back in the UK and has been teaching Japanese textiles crafts since 2015.

All our course days run from 10am till 4pm

Focusing on Moyozashi Sashiko (pattern sashiko) where the patterns change direction to make a larger one and Hitomezashi Sashiko (one-stitch sashiko) where the patterns are stitched to a grid.

Includes a full run-through of the basic techniques including creating border patterns and sewing a selection of Modoko Kogin patterns, as well as how to start out making your own designs.

Finishing off with a session on starting your own Boro quilted project, so you have a keepsake from the weekend to continue at home.

We have a fantastic accommodation offer onsite, and would recommend staying here for the fully immersive Clayhill experience. All our accommodation is reserved for the students for the duration of the course and you will have a bedroom of your own. Our rooms have been converted from a series of old cattle sheds and from an old milking parlour and retain characterful features such as exposed wooden roof timbers and stone walls. Each bedroom has its own tea and coffee making facilities and outdoor seating area.

We also have an onsite laundry should you need to use these facilities during your stay with us. WIFI is available throughout the complex, heating and hot water is supplied by biomass technology, electricity by solar technology and all of the water around the site is fed by a natural spring.

Accommodation is offered at £80/night. If you would like to make your stay here more comfortable, you can also buy single additional nights before or after the course. (Please note - Any additional nights before will include catering in the evenings, and additional nights after will include an evening meal and breakfast the following morning)

All courses at Clayhill Arts are fully catered, and our locally-sourced food is included in the price of your course ticket. If you do choose to stay with us a bespoke evening meal as well as breakfast and lunch will also be provided. To read more about our food offering, follow this link. About our catering

Anyone with an interest in textiles/art/crafts or Japanese culture, with desire to learn new techniques.

You will need to bring a piece of fabric, preferably denim, for the boro project.

Yes! We provide refreshments throughout the day and a home-cooked lunch which is freshly prepared in our Granary kitchen. Lunch is served around our communal dining table, offering you a great chance to get to know everyone on the course and share in the making processes you have been developing throughout the day. Please advise us of any dietary requirements before arrival.

Yes! All of our bedrooms here at Clayhill are en-suite so you will have your own private space to retreat to and relax in after spending your day in the meditative space of the Studio. We provide you with your own towels and bathroom products for use throughout your stay and you can enjoy the extensive grounds well into the evening. If you do choose to stay with us a bespoke evening meal as well as breakfast and lunch will also be provided.

Textiles crafts have a long-established pedigree in Japan with examples of patterned fabric having been found in tombs in Nara as early as 756 AD. The poorer farming communities in Japan were forbidden to wear cotton (and silk!) and had to make and constantly mend their clothing using scraps, which is where the traditions of Boro mending and Sashiko embroidery originated. Clothes and bedding, whilst serving a practical purpose, were also embellished with stitch, creating something both aesthetically pleasing and practical, as the stitching added a layer of warmth to garments. Kogin embroidery, originating in the Northern part of Japan in Aomori prefecture, is a type of counted thread work. The name “Kogin” derives from the Japanese word “koginu”, “ko” being “small” and ginu meaning “wear”, the name of a long Japanese jacket, which was often decorated with this technique.

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We have also set up a payment plan so that you can spread the cost of the sessions over the next 4 months. You will find the option for doing this as you enter the checkout page.

Find out more about our Partial.ly Payment Plan here

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Working with Deborah and Michael was such a pleasure. They understood the project from the beginning, what the needs of the makers and our audiences would be, and acted as thoughtful ambassadors for the project when we were not able to be there. Every aspect of the exhibition and events was facilitated in such a calm and confident manner, which made my job of coordinating a group of artists so much easier! The whole event became a pivotal moment for the project, bringing people together in a way I could never have anticipated, and which has altered my thinking about the future of the project. Thank you for making us feel so welcome.


The weekend I spent at Clayhill Arts was a very welcome change of scenery to my otherwise urban setting. I felt calmed yet invigorated by the surroundings, and the accommodation was beautifully tasteful and very homely. The main space is wonderfully considered and very versatile - an ideal space for creativity and dynamic discussion. I left on the Sunday feeling energised and inspired by the experience of staying at Clayhill.


As a singer it has been one of the best spaces to sing in with generous reverberation and acoustics.  It is a space which complemented the type of instruments I was working with and the songs.


I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed being at your venue. It is a lovely and inspiring artistic space. The food was fantastic, homely yet unusual. I really enjoyed the day.


As an artist retreat, the venue at Clayhill Arts provided a warm and welcoming environment, allowing a safe and constructive space where individuals creative needs can be met. 


We were lucky enough to be able to take over the whole venue for a weekend, using the Granary as our base for experimentation, discussion and shared learning. The informality of the accommodation, and the relaxed surroundings, put everyone at ease and offered a space where cooperation and encouragement evolved naturally.


Everything was wonderful! This is a beautiful place. Thank you, we really enjoyed our stay.


Clayhill feels remote which is great but it also is close to Cannington which has everything, so supplies can be bought without travelling a great distance...I also really enjoyed that it is still a working farm, because it feels productive and there is such a lot of life around us which is very inspiring


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