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Italian Summer School : Stitch


Textile Art Summer School in Italy : “Dionne’s first Summer School has been a great success and an amazing experience visiting stunning locations with lovely companions and following a creative programme which inspired, motivated and challenged in equal measures . Dionne is a brilliant teacher and skilled communicator and this week has enabled me to develop an exciting repertoire for future work . I just can’t wait to return to continue this creative journey. Many thanks to Dionne , Mark and the friends I made at La Vecchia Scuola”

The workshop only price is £495. You are responsible for booking flights [approx £60 – £200 return] and accommodation [£250 – £360], airport transfer 50 euros [payable locally]. 6 students per week.

NEW: you can now pay in 2 easy instalments of £260.  Please select the appropriate option [the second payment is due approx. 10 wks before the workshop]

If you have a group of friends and would like me to develop a specific workshop week/weekend just for you then please get in touch and we can make plans!! 🙂

There are further images from recent Italian summer schools on my Facebook page HERE

I’m sure you’ll have plenty of questions…please do not hesitate to get in touch 🙂

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Textile Art Summer School 2018 : Abruzzo, Central Italy with Dionne Swift

Location: La Vecchia Scuola, Colle Case 15, Torrareccio, CH 66046


Sunday 23rd September 2018 arrival – you’ll be collected from Pescara [if required [the UK flight arrives at 5/6pm.] Its a 1 hour transfer to Atessa and your hotel, once you have freshened up everyone is invited to a welcome meal at the hotel.
Return back to the airport the following Saturday for the evening flight home.


This 5 day summer school provides you with the opportunity to explore drawing, design, textiles print and stitch in an inspiring atmosphere with a highly experienced tutor.  You’ll leave with a bundle of experiments and ideas which will inspire and full further projects for many moons to come…not to mention great memories of a fantastic creative adventure in this wonderful region of Italy.


23rd September – 29th Septemeber 2018: [only 1 place left!] This workshop will have a strong stitch bias running alongside location based research and information gathering.  You’ll discover experimental approaches to Free Machine Embroidery and discover tips and tricks to help your sewing always run smoothly!

Each day of the workshop I will pick you up at 9.30am at Hotel Al Duca and return you there for 5.30pm after a full day of creativity!  Evenings are free time for you to enjoy…

Day one 

Morning – Researching and collecting visual information.  The Abrussese coast line is dotted with spectacular ‘Trabocchi’ [wooden fishing platforms] – they are a truly special feature of the Abruzzo region & perfect visual stimuli! We shall enjoy lunch at a local restaurant near the beach.

Afternoon – Back at La Vecchia Scuola I shall introduce a technique to help you develop the images collected that morning.

Day two

Morning – Researching and collecting visual information.  We shall venture into the mountains and work ‘en plein air’ to capture the amazing vistas and landscapes of the Appeninnes: followed by a  traditional mountain lunch at a local Agriturismo.

Afternoon – Back at La Vecchia Scuola, I’ll demonstrate another new technique useful for developing that mornings images and incorporate yesterdays ideas and techniques.

Evening- Enjoy an aperitif at La Vecchio Scuola whilst listening to an informative talk about my work and career.

Day three

Morning – Tornareccio, the nearest village, is known for its honey and its mosaics – we shall spend the morning investigating the latter through the small alleys, streets and piazzas of this pleasant hillside village: then its lunch at the local restaurant: Meditteraneo

Afternoon – Back at La Vecchia Scuola we shall look at incorporating further techniques into your new repertoire and discuss how you might move forward with your work.

Day four

Morning – Its market day in Atessa…. we shall make a late start so you can absorb the sights and sounds of the local town: There are numerous amazing Baroque churches, beautiful cobble streets and ancient arches & doorways to explore:  you can enjoy lunch in one of the numerous restaurants and bars of Atessa

Afternoon – Time for some individual development and 1:1 discussion to help clarify your ideas

Day five

Morning – Developing and resolving images and ideas…

Local lunch…

Afternoon – This is a great time to consider different methods of finishing/mounting/presentation pieces. You’ll have time to complete your work as well as review and evaluate [individually and with the group]…sadly its time to say goodbye….

Saturday departure.  We can collect you from the hotel in the afternoon for a departure from Pescara airport returning to Stansted

What workshop supplies will you need to bring? 

A hardback sketchbook – ideally ring bound A4 [or larger if you prefer]…something to draw in and collect information in when we are out and about.
Drawing/sketching media – pencils, graphite sticks, charcoal – whatever your prefer.
Something water-soluble would be most beneficial – coloured Caran D’ache type pastels are ideal.

Small water container &/or refillable brush

Some means to carry the above whilst we are out and about.

Bear in mind it may be very warm – you may like a hat & suncream…

What supplies/materials/equipment will be provided for you at La Vecchio Scuola? 

Sewing machines [suitable for free machine embroidery]

Threads and embroidery hoops
Silk Screens, dyes and supplies

Basic range of fabrics for print and stitch

Basic auxiliary fabrics [ e.g. water soluble]

Getting there

The nearest airport is Pescara https://www.ryanair.com there are regular flights from Stansted, UK.  Arrive on the Sunday afternoon flight, depart on the Saturday evening flight [to coincide with transfers/pick ups] or extend you stay in this wonderful region.

Some students find it easier to fly to Rome – there is a bus that connects from right outside the terminal [of both the Roman airports] to Pescara [approx 2.5 hours €27 bookable online] Prontobus http://www.prontobusitalia.it If you aim to arrive to coincide with airport collections/drop offs, I can whizz by the bus station to collect you as well 🙂


Hotel Al Duca in Atessa: Antonio is lovely and has agreed to offer a 10% discount on his B&B rates for my students [you would need to book directly with him via his email address:  info@hotelalduca.it   rather than via some of the online booking agencies].  I can help you connect with Antonio: he’s a bit slow at responding to emails, but I drop in to see him when I’m in the area to check all is well & it always is 🙂
I have had a tour of this hotel and it is perfect: its a small, well run hotel which has been recently re-modelled.  Its exceptionally clean and the restaurant is well regarded in the area – there’s free wifi and access to the local swimming pool a short walk away.  For guests, Antonio will also offer a set price dinner for 15 euros.
Rooms 201, 202 & 203 have balconies and view across the town to the sea in the distance.  302/303/304/402 also have views but no balcony. 403 has mountain views.
There are good reviews on Trip Advisor that are worth reading & I have a small flyer that I can send to you if you like. [their website is currently being updated – but other booking sites have imagery]
Single room 40/45 euros [less 10%]
Double 65 euros [less 10%][twin beds]
Double 65 euros [less 10%][double bed – ask for ‘matrimonial’]

Agriturismo Montagnola has a cottage to rent – it would be ideal for families or couples…you would definitely need a car!

Casa Pietra is delightful self catering Farmhouse in a beautiful spot: there are 4 double ensuite rooms in the main house and the Casetta sleeps 2 to 4 guests.  Robert, the English speaking owner can help you get out an about and will even cook for you if you would like a night off!

La Fontana Tornareccio : A boutique B&B in the local village – you would need a car to get about.


Independent travellers may wish to hire a car – Abruzzo is a rural area, the roads aren’t as busy as in other Italian locations, but a Sat Nav or Google Maps is extremely useful.
Car hire is available form the Airport and the Railway station: we often use Firefly [car hire can be booked via Ryanair when purchasing flights]

We can collect students from Pescara Airport on Sunday afternoon and return the following weekend in time for the Saturday afternoon flight back to Stansted [please let me know if you would like to be collected/returned from/to the airport = 50 euros] – transfer of this nature is only feasible if your are staying at Al Duca in Atessa our suggested accommodation.

We will collect students daily from Al Duca for the workshop excursions: Al Duca is well placed in the centre of Atessa where there are a range of bars and restaurants all in strolling distance.

Non participating guests and partners are welcome to join in on meals and ‘extras’ yet would need to make their own transport arrangements. [Advance notice and payment would be appreciated]
We can suggest a range of activities and excursions to suit their interests: mountain walks and cycling are very popular…yet also a quick search in Trip Advisor for activities in the area will highlight many opportunities.

Please get in touch if you have any queries.

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