Pathway: Cloth, Thread, Paint

Pathway for Years 3 & 4

Painting, Sewing, Drawing, Sketchbooks

Key Concepts:

  • That artists can combine art and craft using painting and sewing together to make art.

  • That when we use two media together such as paint and thread, we can use their unique qualities in different ways to build an image.

  • That the skills we learn in one medium such as mark making in drawing, can be used in another such as sewing.

  • That we don’t have to use materials in traditional ways – it is up to us to reinvent how we use materials and techniques to make art. 

In this pathway children are introduced to artists that combine paint and sewing, art and craft, to make work. 

Children explore how these artists use fabric, paint and thread to make work in response to landscapes (and sometimes the people within those landscapes). 

Children are invited to start by creating an underpainting on cloth, using paint in a fluid and intuitive way. They then go on to explore sewing not as a precise technical craft, but as an alternative way to make intuitive, textural marks, over the painted backgrounds. 

Sketchbooks and drawing are used as a way for pupils to discover their own personal response to the landscape used as stimulus, and as a way to explore mark making, colour and composition. 

Fabric (Calico), Paint, Thread

Artists: Alice Kettle, Hannah Rae

If you use this resource in your setting, please tag us on social media: #InspiredBy @accessart (facebook, twitter) (instagram) and share the url. Thank you!

Acrylic Paint
IMG_0631 copy
Sea Figure by Alice Kettle
ages 5-8

A PDF of this pathway can be found here.

Teaching Notes

Curriculum Links

Geography: Adapt your focus to create sewn landscapes/oceans according to topic.

History: Create a sewn scene inspired by a local history event.

Science: Explore habitats, Local environment, materials.

Maths: Pattern, measuring.

I Can…

  • I have explored how artists combine media and use them in unusual ways to make art.

  • I can share my response to their work.

  • I can use my sketchbook to make visual notes capturing ideas that interest me.

  • I can use my sketchbook to test ideas and explore colour and mark making.

  • I can use paint to create a background on fabric, mixing colours to create different hues, tints and dilutions.

  • I can use thread and stitching to create textural marks over the top of my painted canvas, creating interesting marks which reflect my response to the landscape. 

  • I can share my work with others and share my thoughts about the process and outcome. I can listen to their feedback and take it onboard.

  • I can appreciate the work of my classmates enjoying the similarities and differences between our processes and outcomes. I can share my feedback on their work. 

  • I can take photographs of my work, thinking about lighting and focus.


This pathway takes 6 weeks, with an hour per week. Shorten or lengthen the suggested pathway according to time and experience. Follow the stages in green for a shorter pathway or less complex journey.


Soft B pencils, coloured pencils, handwriting pens, Calico or other neutral fabric cut into A4 or smaller rectangles, acrylic or poster paint, brushes, card for palettes, sewing thread, needles.

Volcano option: Large canvas sheet, white emulsion paint, acrylic or ready mixed paint, materials to create texture


Pathway: Cloth, Thread, Paint

  • Aims of the Pathway

    This pathway aims to introduce children to how artists use textiles and sewing to make art. The pathway explores how we can use cloth, paint and thread to explore colour and texture, creating imagery inspired by land and seascapes.

  • Week 1: Introduce Artists

    Hannah Rae & Alice Kettle

    Odyssey by Alice Kettle, Odyssey, thread on canvas (2003)
    Odyssey by Alice Kettle, Odyssey, thread on canvas (2003)

    Introduce children to the work of textile artists Alice Kettle and Hannah Rae through the free to access “Talking Points: Alice Kettle” and  “Talking Points: Hannah Rae” resources.

    Use these artists to inspire class discussions about how artists use cloth, thread and paint to make work. 

    Use the “Making Visual Notes” resource to help children understand how they can use sketchbooks to collect, process and consolidate information absorbed while they look at artists work. 

    Textiles by Hannah Rae

  • Week 2: Develop Mark Making

    Finding Marks Made by Artists

    Van Gogh

    Use the “Finding Marks Made by Artists” resource to help pupils understand how artists use a variety of marks, and to develop their own mark making vocabulary. Choose a landscape based image from the resource as inspiration. The mark making that pupils develop will then be used later in the pathway when they work in stitch.

    Work in sketchbooks or on larger sheets of paper. Use sharp soft B pencils or handwriting pens. If you need a further challenge explore pens of different line weight such as sharpies and marker pens. 

    You can find a zoom recording of how to use the Finding Marks in Drawings Made by Artists here. 

  • Weeks 3, 4 & 5

    Find Your Focus

    Decide as a class if you’d like your theme to be land or water. Adapt the resources below to suit. You can also adapt the theme to suit a curriculum theme such as volcanoes (below). 

  • Start with the Canvas

    Painted Canvas

    Use the second part of the “Making Painted & Sewn Landscapes” resource and use stitch to create texture, marks and energy on the painted canvas. 

    Continue to use sketchbooks as a tool to experiment with mark making, looking back to the “Finding Marks Made by Artists” task earlier in the pathway. 

    Painted Canvas

  • Stitch!

    Use the “Making Painted & Sewn Landscapes” resource to enable an exploration of how to make painted and sewn squares. 

    Use sketchbooks as a tool to develop ideas, explore colour and experiment with mark making. 

    You may like to use the following free to access Drawing Source Material resources in your class:

    Wild Flower Meadow
    Drone Footage Natural Landscape
    Drone Footage Urban Landscape
    Moving Water 

    Or better still have the pupils explore their own environment and make work in response to the habitat/environment local to them. 

    Painted and sewn cloth

  • Adaptation

    Volcano Adaption

    If you wish to adapt this resource to a volcano theme:

    Begin by introducing children to the work of Frank Bowling with our free to access “Talking Points: Frank Bowling“. 

    Volcano Painting

    Explore the “Volcano Painting Inspired by Frank Bowling” resource and adapt to help you create a painted background. Use stitches to add lava/rocks etc thinking about energy and flow.

  • Week 6: Share & Celebrate

    Share, Reflect, Discuss

    Painted Canvas

    Tidy the room and make space to see the sketchbook work as well as the final outcomes. 

    Remind the pupils of the progress they made, and the artists they saw along the way. Invite them to make links between the work they made in sketchbooks, on drawing sheets and final pieces, and the work by artists. 

    Encourage them to feel safe to share how they feel about their own work, and nurture an environment where pupils feel able to comment on their classmates work, treating everyones work with respect.

    Use the “Crit in the Classroom” resource to help you. 

See the Pathway Used in Schools...

Year 3 Redesdale Primary
Year 3 Redesdale Primary
Year 3 Redesdale Primary
Year 3 Redesdale Primary
Year 3 Redesdale Primary
Year 3 Redesdale Primary
Year 3 Redesdale Primary
Year 3, Haydon Wick Primary School
Year 3, Haydon Wick Primary School
Year 3, Haydon Wick Primary School
Year 3, Haydon Wick Primary School
Year 3, Haydon Wick Primary School
Year 3 at The Holt Primary School Skellingthorpe Lincoln
Year 3 at The Holt Primary School Skellingthorpe Lincoln
Year 3 at The Holt Primary School Skellingthorpe Lincoln
Year 3 at The Holt Primary School Skellingthorpe Lincoln

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