The Gail Harker Center for Creative Arts offers a comprehensive course schedule for artists of every level. Our internationally acclaimed faculty conducts certificate, diploma, and tutored courses in textile art, color studies, machine embroidery, paper and feltmaking, multimedia art, and dozens more. Whether you choose to visit our center in beautiful La Conner, or elect to enroll in our self-paced or mentored courses from your own home, we invite you to explore the resources we have to offer as you pursue your personal artistic goals.

Color is important in many of the courses at our center.  Level 1 Color is regularly offered at the studio and is also available online. Color theory is explored and provides hands on experience creating and working with color and color schemes.  This course forms a foundation for Art, Design and Stitch Courses. There are no prerequisites to take any of the Level 1 Courses.

Art and Design is included in a number of courses.  Some specially focus on the elements, whether working in paper, fabric or stitch.  The Online Course Circles  is such a course that I have developed over many years to challenge and stimulate new artists.

Make your mark with needles and threads. There are so many ways in which to make marks using threads on fabric or paper. Our students call it an addictive and compelling art form.

Dyeing and painting of fabric and threads is undertaken on many of the courses. It precedes making stitch samples or projects.  Some people have never stitched before, some have done a little and others want to expand their vocabulary.

Do you have a fear of stitching on a blank sheet of white fabric?  It’s similar to a writer being challenged with a white sheet of paper.  It can be difficult to place the first image or word.  Painting or dyeing the fabric can be a tremendous inspiration and often reduces the fear factor.

Students study historic and multi cultural approaches to the creation of stitched textiles.  Some courses feature the study of design motifs and the techniques involved in making these stitches. A contemporary focus is given to new work.

Dyeing threads is particularly rewarding, especially when you see the wide variety of colors and values that can be made from only a few dyes.   Cotton stranded and twisted threads are used for dyeing and stitching. Dyeing Threads is included within the Level 1 Experimental Hand Stitch Course.

Our courses are well known for their creative contemporary approach to embroidery through basic design, technique and color.  Level 1 Experimental Hand Stitch and Level 1 Experimental Machine Stitch combines and focuses on the variety of effects that can be achieved through imagination.

Machine Embroidery was sometimes named Painting with the Needle –  from the 50s onwards. Creating art with your sewing machine makes lush, rich surfaces.  Level 1 Experimental Machine Stitch begins this journey of learning in a 5 day course.

Hand Stitching or Embroidery calls up images of richness and historically has been the favored textile of Kings and Queens. Even and especially ordinary people like to express themselves with stitch.  Levels 1, 2, 3 and 4 use Hand Stitch as an art form.

Level 3 Studies in Art and Design supports our higher level Stitch Courses or may be used for those studying art and design as a stand alone subject. It includes and extends the basics of art and design. New skills are developed through working with a range of different media is used such as acrylics, pencils, different forms of collage, printing and more.

Experimental Research for Advanced Design is the highest level of Design offered at our center.  Students design large scale artwork, make handmade books and learn to illustrate an historical theme.  They also are able to choose a topic to design from.  During this course they advance their understanding of media from Level 3 Art and Design.

Many of our students come from a distance and stay locally at Hotels or Bed and Breakfast venues.   It is always a special time when they come together for a class, exhibition, an Open House or Artist in Residence Event. The last class in a series focuses on staging an exhibition or art event. The local public is invited to attend.

There are a number of Special Interest Courses throughout the year.  Anybody can attend. A wide range of art, design, fabric and stitch subjects are offered. This is a lovely way to learn a new skill with like minded people, or improve on what you already know.

Materials play an important role for a textile artist. Different threads create different effects. We learn to stitch with a variety of thread and fabric types. Stitching with Metal Threads (Goldwork) is a skill all its own and is offered for advanced students. There are a special selection of metal threads to learn about and to use.

Interims (tutoring and mentoring sessions with students) are offered occasionally, either at the studio or online. These sessions are available to everyone.  Students work at the studio and have individual tutorials throughout the day.  An interim session may be set anywhere from 1 to 5 days.

News & Events

The Center’s New Phone Number–  Please note: (360) 720-1919

Sample of Couching and Laidwork stitching by Rebecca Crompton

Starts September 29 for 6 online mentored sessions

Learn legendary stitch techniques using the laying of threads, cords, or other materials and stitching over them in simple or elaborate designs! Includes PDFs and videos as well as online in-person mentored class times. Create thread patterns that add texture and dimension to your work!

Click for more information and to Register!

Two cats made with kantha stitching by Gail Harker's student Laura Elmore

September 18-21 at Studio and 2 online follow-up sessions

Combining design, sketchbook work, fabric painting, historic/cultural studies and hand stitching, this course will move your from learning the meditative kantha hand stitches to creating a piece of your own design!
Information and Registration online here!

Next Class Begins September 17! Meet with Gail for 8 online sessions as you learn to paint fabric, try out hand embroidery stitches, and put it all together in a little handmade book.  Great for beginners or those would like a refresher and chance to work on a mentored project with like-minded students.  Powerpoint presentations, workbook PDFs and videos will also be included.
Find out more or register online here!

Machine stitching sampler by Gail Harker's student Charlotte deRenne

November 11- 14, 2021 live at the studio

Join us in the studio for 4 days of exploring machine stitch!  Get to know your machine and how to use it in an artful way!  For all levels from beginners to experienced machine stitchers.  More information here!

We have re-opened for courses at the Center!  Some classes will still be offered online, some with a hybrid in-person/ online combination.  Students attending live classes at the center must have their full Covid Vaccinations.

New Courses Quick Look

Free Video for Art Journaling!

Our online, self-paced Designing with Circles 1 & 2 courses are in the process of being revised and will be back soon!

Check Out our new Gallery of Graduates of the Gail Harker Center for Creative Arts!

Complex Threads Exhibition GalleryIncredible artwork by students of the Gail Harker Center shown at the Schack Art Gallery in Everett, WA

Ask your loved ones for the gift of stitch!

Gift Certificates Available in any denomination!

Simply call the office, (360) 720-1919 with the particulars. Gift certificates can be delivered via email directly to the recipient, or sent via USMail.

Gail Harker Center for Creative Arts featured on Create Whimsy!  Read the Article Here

Color Studies: Level 1 A short slide presentation in color adds extra information to the Color brochure.


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EDUCATIONAL TEXTILE TOURS

Our 2014 “Glories of British Textiles” brought students to explore numerous museums and meet local stitch experts for in-person study.
> Read More about their experiences
> Sign Up to receive information when the next tour occurs