Cloth, Creativity & Collaborating: Cas Holmes & Anne Kelly

Cloth, Creativity & Collaborating: Cas Holmes & Anne Kelly

We’re delighted to welcome back to the site Cas Holmes and Anne Kelly who are launching a new book on which they have collaborated; Connected Cloth. There’s an opportunity to win a copy at the end of this article! Here they tell us a bit about how their partnership came about, how they work together and the creation of the book. There is also a sneak-peak at some of the work that will be on show in the accompanying gallery tour.

Connecting through recycled, up cycled and found objects

We began our collaboration as ‘Resonant Textiles’ over six years ago, after seeing each other’s work at a postal exhibition at the County Gallery in Maidstone. Since then, we have exhibited jointly, producing site specific pieces for each venue. In both individual and joint works we use a range of recycled, up cycled and found materials and fabric. These are altered using a number of fine art techniques including drawing and painting, but their expression of line is clearly distinct.

Connected Cloth by Cas Holmes and Anne Kelly

‘Connected Cloth’ grew out of that collaboration and the resulting tour relates to work both featured in the book and as examples of collaborative pieces over the last few years.

You can find the book here.

Differences and similarities

Our first venue is at Cranbrook Library Gallery, a small but well lit and inviting wall space. We have included elements from our most recent collaborations ‘Norfolk Weeds’, ‘Domestic Mapping’, ‘Garden Paths’ and ‘Cuttings’. We have also displayed some small recent work to highlight the differences and similarities in our work which are discussed at length in the book.

Textile art by Cas Holmes and Anne Kelly on display

Cranbrook Exhibition: Left to Right Norfolk Weeds (4 panels), Domestic Mapping (5 panels) and Garden Paths (3 panels)

Textile artists Cas Holmes and Anne Kelly's work on view at a gallery

Cranbrook Exhibition: detail of Garden paths, (AK centre, CH outer two panels)

Textile cuttings on display at the Knitting and Stitching Show

Cuttings on show at the Knitting and Stitching Show Alexandra Palace. 2012

‘Domestic Mapping’ came out of our interest in domestic spaces and the surrounding environment and was first exhibited at Maidstone Library Gallery. Cas’ focus for this piece was concentrated on crows, bees and butterflies which are more territorial or localised in any given garden or space. Anne’s work is based on travel, and the contrast between the small scale or local and the more international, represented by maps. It has been shown in a library, a shed, a hospital and a theatre gallery since then.

Work by artists using textiles on show at Cranbrook

Domestic Mapping Detail of panels

Domestic Mapping. First showing of all eight panels at Maidstone Library Gallery. This gallery no longer exists unfortunately.

Domestic Mapping. First showing of all eight panels at Maidstone Library Gallery. This gallery no longer exists unfortunately.

Anne Kelly Domestic Mapping Detail

Anne Kelly Domestic Mapping Detail

Cas Holmes Domestic Mapping Detail

Cas Holmes Domestic Mapping Detail

Finding a starting point

Starting points were taken from an agreed size and subject matter, and as always began with some common materials. We made reference to journals ‘Garden Sketchbooks’ which we used to inform the content of the pieces. We are constantly busy with other projects and continue with work in our own studios. When we met up to discuss how the project was progressing, we were surprised to discover that we were working on different size formats. In the end we felt that the piece benefited from this and reflects the irregularity of a garden path and our individual approach.

Garden Sketchbooks Anne Kelly (Top,) Cas Holmes (Bottom)

Garden Sketchbooks Anne Kelly (Top,) Cas Holmes (Bottom)

After a research visit to the Rochester/Strood for our exhibition at Strood Library we choose ‘Bridges’ as a theme. We were struck by how the bridge dominates the landscape and the ‘bridge’ of our joint work and friendship.

A piece of textile art in progress

Bridges in progress

Finally, one of our first pieces, Seed Bird Map which reflects our joint interest in the environment, travel and the domestic. We have travelled a long way together.

Seed Bird Map on show at Maidstone Library Gallery

Seed Bird Map on show at Maidstone Library Gallery

‘Connected Cloth’ tours at the following venues,

(NB Please check with venues before travelling an distance for any changes in opening times)

Spring 2015: Prague Patchwork Meeting


10th February – March 3rd: Town and Country Gallery, Trinity Theatre, TN1 1Jp. Church Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent.Open 10.00-6.00 Monday to Saturday and during evening performances.

21st May – 16th June: Ripley Arts Centre, Bromley, Bromley Arts Council, Ripley Arts Centre, 24 Sundridge Avenue, Bromley, BR1 2PX
Tel: 020 8464 5816

31st October -14 November: Crowborough Centre, Pine Grove, Crowborough


10 Sept – 23 October: Cranbrook Library Exhibition Space, ‘Connected Cloth – Reflections’ Carriers Road, Cranbrook, TN17 3JT
Open Tuesday to Friday 9.00am to 6.00pm, Saturday 9.30-4.00pm, Closed Sunday and Monday
Tel: 08458 247200

8th October-18 November: Strood Library Gallery ‘Connected Cloth – Bridges’, Strood Library, 32 Bryant Road, Strood, Kent, ME2 3EP
Tel: 01634 335890

Resonant textile updates can be seen on our blog

Also see and for links to our current exhibitions and events

Win Connected Cloth: Creating Collaborative Textile Projects

The publishers of Connected Cloth by Cas Holmes and Anne Kelly, Anova Books Group, have kindly given us a copy of the book to give away to one lucky reader. To be in with a chance of winning all you need to do is leave a message in the comments section below letting us know what your favourite book related to textile art is and why. The winner will be picked at random on October 31st and contacted about their prize. Good luck!


Read more articles on by Cas Holmes and Anne Kelly:


Don’t forget to leave a comment below for your chance to win Connected Cloth.

Saturday 23rd, September 2023 / 17:21

About the author

Joseph Pitcher is the son of textile artist Sue Stone. He is an actor and voice-over artist and has worked at the RSC, the National Theatre, West End theatres and several other leading regional venues across the UK. Find Joe on Google

View all articles by Joe



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76 comments on “Cloth, Creativity & Collaborating: Cas Holmes & Anne Kelly”

  1. Pauline Wallace says:

    As I am already an avid fan of Cas Holmes I have to choose her book ‘The Found Object in Textile Art’. It is so inspiring, and shows how you can make beautiful work from the everyday, the found and discarded. Many thanks.

    Pauline Wallace.

    • This work is really awesome and aww inspiring. I love this sight and it’s a great new beginning for me and my explorations of textiles.
      Keep up the fantastic work. ^_^

  2. Anny Sharman says:

    I’m the proud owner of a little dandelion piece by Cas, and love my copy of ‘the Found Object’. I am trying to work far more on my own stuff now, not attending so many shows and workshops, and using the books I have as inspiration when I need it, so I would love to own “Cloth, Creativity & Collaborating.


  3. Nadine says:

    Ces travaux croisés sont très inspirants j’aimerai bien posséder le livre

  4. Kim Baird says:

    My favorite is an oldy, Quilts: Women and Domestic Art. The play The Quilters was partially based on this book. I’m still moved to tears by the stories in it.

  5. absolutely love Cas Homes work, really enjoyed her inspiring exhibition at Kniting and Stitching last year, and her Found Object book, would love to learn about collaborating and sharing a project…we have a ready made group locally! Thanks for another wonderful insight

  6. Cas Holmes says:

    Thankyou for your kind comments. I have so many fav books so feel unfair to comment here. But I do own a lovely book on Washi (Japanese Paper) Sukey Hughes which first got me interested and enthused about paper as a textile too many years ago. Maybe why I am such a textile menace my good friend, and co writer of ‘Connected Cloth’ may possibly testify to.


  7. kathyS says:

    Currently I am inspired by Drawn to Stitch by Gwen Hedley, as well as, of course, The Found Object in Textile Art by Cas Holmes

  8. Marta Brysha says:

    Lovely work (as always) Cas and Anne. I too have an extensive library to draw on for inspiration. Some are books directly connected to textiles, many are books on colour, and then there are books that just contain amazing images and photos.

    But, if I had to single one book out it would be Textiles by Mary Schoesser (see link)

    This book seems to have a bit of everything, from contemporary textile artworks to ancient fragments and traditional costume. It is a big book with a huge number of quality colour images. I can open the book at random to any page at all and be filled with inspiration and ideas. Many books that give a broad overview of a single topic can feel a bit piece meal and unsatisfying. The examples presented in Textiles have been so carefully selected and collated that it feels more like a well curated art show.

  9. I have shelves of books on textiles and my favourite changes over time, it would be like having to choose your favourite child it can’t be done 🙂

  10. Lu Peters says:

    Selecting one book is difficult but I feel that The Painted Quilt by Laura and Linda Kemshall was a pivotal read for me and inspired me to add more printing to my art quilts. I work collaboratively with Connie Akers and we have shared a similar journey in developing as artists and friends.

  11. Trisha says:

    My favourite book is a bit of an oddity. As a professional designer I have many, but always return to this one. A little book called “Thinkables” by Finnish textile artist Anu Tuominen, which I picked up in Kiasma, the modern art museum in Helsinki (the English version!). I have Finnish relatives on my husband’s side and love many aspects of Finnish art and design. Tuominen’s style is truely quirky (a word often overused or misapplied here). This book makes you look at familar things with totally new eyes – an odd glove found in the street, a bright coloured comb, worn down pencil stubs, etc. Its not about the actual items themselves so much as the way it trains your brain to think in new and creative ways during the design process. I think its still obtainable via her website.

  12. Jo Britt says:

    My favourite book is usually the one connected to my latest project. At the moment that is FME so I’m reading all Alison Holt’s books.

  13. Ulrike Hutchins says:

    Well, this may be a little embarrassing to mention this but I love Cas Holmes other book “The Found Object in Textile Art”, especially since attending an inspirational two-day workshop with her. But if I want to remind myself what I can do with hand stitching then I look at my old copy of Constance Howard’s “Book of Stitches”. It’s all about mark making!

  14. Ginny French says:

    Eco Dyes by India Flint has been my favorite and constant companion for the last 3 years. It has given my the information on capturing the beaut of leaves on cloth. Great book!

  15. Cheryl Edwards says:

    Drawn to Stitch by gwen hedley combines textiles with drawing – inspiring.

  16. So many books already mentioned that I love! I have Cas’ first book and it is one of my go-to inspiration books along with Sandra Meech, Gwen Hedley and Kay Greenlees’ books. Would love to add this to my collection.

    Thanks for the giveaway.

  17. Jane Kelton says:

    A Treasury of Knitting Patterns (Barbara Walker) is the first volume in a series of four. She’s an indispensable guide to stitch patterns and techniques for knitters. I’m working my way through her books, using her work to alter otherwise mundane rectangles into highly textured projects. Her work is inspiring.

  18. Julie Brayford says:

    It is so hard to pick a single favourite from the numerous books on my shelf but one that I go back to time and again is ‘Surfaces for Stitch’ by Gwen Hedley.

  19. Annette says:

    I also love the ‘Found object’ but apart from that ‘Matisse his Art and his Textiles’ is a beautiful book and I wish I could see the exhibition again!

  20. Sara says:

    My favorite has to be “The Complete Book of Drafting for Handweavers” by Madelyn van der Hoogt. This book taught me so much and gave me the confidence to explore and make my own weaves, breaking away from recipe weaving. Had it not been for this book I may not be making the things I am today.

  21. Carolyn Rogers (Cazanne) says:

    I am steadily building my textile book library. It includes books on many textile persuits by a range of exciting and well known authors. I recently added Fabric Surface Design by Cheryl Rezendes. I love this book, it is beautifully written, clear bright photos and has instructions that answer questions. Cheryl introduces you to and puts a face to names I have heard of and followed eagerly over the years.
    Cheryl covers many disciplines many of which I use, others which still beckon. There are only so many hours in the day and this new addition to my library is a new chapter in my creative life and will be handed on to my granddaughters along with all my other studio treasures as they learn to find and follow their own textile art path.
    This book belongs on every textile arists reference bookshelf.

  22. Leyla Johnson says:

    Love the taster of the book really inspiring. So many favourite books – which to pick – love anything by Jan Beaney and
    Jean Littlejohn presently Stitchscapes is keeping me thinking.

  23. Daisy says:

    Every time I pick up a textile art book it becomes my favourite. This week I have been reading Textile Adventures by Isobel Hall and finding it full of ideas and inspirations.

  24. Patchacha says:

    My favourite book ? Depends of my projects !!! At the moment, I read “Print with collage and stitch” (V. Holmes) and I find this book really interesting !
    I’d like to win a copy of Connected Cloth !!!

  25. Having done a workshop with Cas which was very inspiring,
    I continue myself to recycle and enjoy using the ‘found object’ within my own textiles.
    I would enjoy being inspired by this new joint authored book . I have many books that inspire me and recycling objects is a way of saving our planet.

  26. sheron king says:

    I of course love cas holmes `found object` but my favourite and first book on these lines purchased was `Creative Embroidery` by Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn

  27. JB says:

    Art Quilt Workbook by Davila and Waterston contains interesting binding techniques which work well for art quilts. Their exercise and techniques are a good way to kick start creativity.

  28. Because I am partial to Japanese aesthetics, my favorite textile books are about Japanese textile arts, such as Seiroku Noma’s “Japanese Costume and Textile Arts,” The Textile Museum’s “The Kimono Inspiration,” and The Victoria & Albert Museum’s “V&A Pattern: Kimono.” And I’m impressed by Yoshiko Jinzenji, who wrote “Quilt Artistry: Inspired Designs from the East.” I also appreciate the books I have on the textiles of Laos/Thailand, India, and Central Asia.

  29. A friend gifted me a copy of The Found Object in Textile Art by Cas Holmes and i have been enjoying it ever since. I would love to have a copy of “Connected Cloth” as a Swiss artist friend and i are working towards a collaborative show with recycled textile pieces!!!

  30. I love Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn. Have a few of their books. I love any textile art though and just cannot get enough inspiration. Any book is appreciated.

  31. My first thought was the Art of AnneMieke Mein. Then Ann Johnston’s Dyeing by Accident because it launched me into dyeing my own fabric. And I enjoy ‘Matisse his Art and his Textiles, too. But I think my greatest textile art inspirations are Mother Nature and artists in other media: Vincent Van Gogh, Matisse, Rembrandt, Albrecht Durer…the imagery and line and color….so many possibilities! Would love to win this book, too!

  32. Peg Grady says:

    A book of Lenore Tawney’s work is always within reach in my studio…as is Drawn to Stitch and The Found Object in Textile Art. I can lose myself in any of those and would love to win Connected Cloth to add to the inspiration.

  33. Nancy Latham says:

    Oh, what a tough question.
    My all time favourite go to reference books is ‘Surface Design for Fabric’ by Richard Proctor and Jennifer Lew which I’ve had for 28 years. It taught me lots of techniques and is well worn, stained and still very useful.

  34. Celia Stanley says:

    Very interesting article and good to read about collaborations between artists.

  35. Eggenberger Elisabeth says:

    Wonderful book with lot’s of ideas, inspiring for any age if interested persons.


  36. this is a good article, telling us how you came to work together and a bit about the How it is done .
    Being a Fiberartist myself , i am fascinated when other `kind` of artists can join me , have worked with a painter , but usually i do my own solo work .
    My favorite book is The Story of Craft, The Craftsman`s Role in Society, By Edward Lucie-Smith , Cornell University Press, 1981.
    It answered a lot of private hesitations and questions i had about my need/urge/will to create with Textiles.

  37. Margarethe says:

    Het boek, dat ik regelmatig inkijk, is “Eigentijdse Quilts” van Sandra Meech.
    Hierin vind ik naast inspiratie ook tips en mogelijkheden om een quilt te ontwerpen en
    het ontwerp verder uit te werken. De inspiratie vind ik verder ook in jullie website met
    geweldige artikelen over textielkunst, foto’s en personen.


  38. Anne Taylor says:

    Nothing like having a really good textile book for inspiration, to pore over, and go “ooh and ah”. Last year I bought the book ‘Eco Colour’ botanical dyes for beautiful textiles by India Flint. I found this book invaluable. I happen to have and try to maintain a largish garden. So was able to collect bits and pieces and experiment in dying silk. Later I went on to be part of a shared exhibition, which included working hard with a good dollop of fun.

  39. Gillian Riley says:

    Cant wait to read this book ! waiting for it to be returned to library, hoping to purchase it soon looks really inspirational…

  40. Connected Cloth is certainly going on my Christmas wish list ,
    my favourite ever book ( up to now ) is the absolutely stunning book ” The art of manipulating fabric” by Colette Wolff
    this woman is simply a genius and so very inspiring

  41. Laura says:

    So hard to pick a favourite. My current vote is for Connecting Design to Stitch by Sandra Meech. Lots of inspiration.
    Exciting about your book give away. Thanks.

  42. Wendy says:

    This is a great article. I am just dipping my toe into the huge pool of the textile world starting with a city & guilds course. Your book is already on my christmas list. My favourite book that I just love to look through is by textile artist Annemieke Mein.

  43. Anne Kelly says:

    Thanks all for your kind remarks – we are really pleased with the feedback so far – ‘Connected Cloth’ is making its mark! I would have to mention a French book ‘The Art of Embroidery’ by Francoise Tellier-Loumagne as inspirational for her use of stitch. So many to look at and enjoy… x Anne

  44. susan coupe says:

    So inspiring and personal. Gwen Hedley’s book is also a source of further ideas.

  45. From the point of view of textile sophistication, I wish I was English, or educated in an English art school.
    But being what I am, Indian textiles are an endless source of inspiration, especially the printed turbans. I also was happy for weeks after seeing the exhibition of Sonia Delaunay, “Color Moves”.
    I find the images of the collaboration of Cas Holmes and Anne Kelly very appealing.
    They remind me of the textile works of Louise Bourgeois.
    Will get the book.

  46. Jill M says:

    So many good books and each new one I discover becomes a favourite for a while but the one that really got me started on my textile ‘journey’ is Inspired to Stitch by Wendy Lees. It gave me the confidence to experiment and opened the door to a whole new exciting world.

  47. Luane says:

    So happy to have happened upon this sight. Looking forward to stealing time to absorb it all. Very inspiring.

  48. marilyn hall says:

    I love the idea of collaborating as it takes you outside your private little comfort zone! This books sounds very useful and inspiring

  49. Kay Bragg says:

    Loved’The Found Object in Textile Art’ & was completely hooked after a workshop with Cas. This plus ‘The Subversive Stitch’ by Rozsika Parker would be my Desert Island books.

  50. Patricia Perry says:

    Im a newcomer to this facet of art. Ive been inspired by this website, particularly by Cas Holmes work. I would love to own this book “Connected Cloth” to gain knowledge through Cas and Annes work.

  51. Patricia Perry says:

    Im a newcomer to this facet of art. Ive been inspired by this website, particularly by Cas Holmes work. I would love to own this book “Connected Cloth” to gain knowledge through Cas and Annes work. Can i order on line?

  52. I have a book called Printed Textile Design by Terence Conran printed in 1957. It has a stamp inside saying ‘Ducie Shool for Girls’ which I have never heard of. I have no idea how this book came into my possession but it is fascinating, it also smells of old book, which I like,

  53. Nancy says:

    I like my Angie Huges book because it provides both inspiration and technique. I would like to win the book described here.

  54. sheila biggs says:

    My favourite book is the first one I was given when I started studying textiles Helen Parrot’s Mark-making in Textile Art. It really nspired me to think about textile art in a different way.

  55. ruby starrs says:

    I love mandy pattullas ‘textile collage’ its fired me up to use materials in a different way and those i think i.m keeping for “special” … no point just keeping for looking they need to be used!!

  56. Carol Fulwood says:


  57. Barbara Fix says:

    Of course I am a huge fan of Cas Holmes. I also have enjoyed a favorite artist, Sandra Meechand her book, Connecting Deisgn To Stitch. Sandra encourages exploring and observing things around us and in our world.

  58. P Boszko says:

    Since I am new to this genre, my newest book is Layer Paint Stitch by Wendy Dolan. This book would add to my slow growing collection.

  59. Joan says:

    I like the book Doodle Stitching because it is for beginners and very easy to get started stitching and creating. I am a beginner and I would be interested in any book or video recommendations that you have for me! Thanks!


  60. Kim von Weidts says:

    I received a copy of Textile Collage by Mandy Pattulo as a Christmas gift and love the combination of cloth and stitches which evoke memories. I have been using embroidery as a source of self healing through a painful time.

  61. Carol Sonogan says:

    Love Cas’s Found Object! Working my way through it again, always another daily practice idea to interpret. Have been fortunate enough to do workshops with both Anne and Cas – thankyou both for your dedication and such wonderful creative inspiration!!

  62. Helen Cooper says:

    Your work is so inspiring and offers so many ideas to learn from. I love the idea of working together with a fellow artist, offering each other peer review and sharing ideas and expertise. For me, my favourite book that I love to pick up and explore is by the textile artist Annemieke Mein.

  63. Carol McKinney- Brown says:

    Love working with textiles. This has been very inspiring for me.

  64. Leonie says:

    Love your work…. awesome

  65. Claudia Lemacks says:

    I am very excited to learn of your work. I am a total fiber junkie and love playing with natural fabrics in many ways already, felting, weaving, applique, embroidery, and most recently eco-dying! Keep the lovely work going. Cheers.

  66. Syndi says:

    Your work is so inspiring! I love how you collaborate and execute beautiful textile art!

  67. Marta Drizdova says:

    Je to velice inspirativni a rada objevuji vse nepoznane od Jana Beaneyho a Jeana Littejohna,take se mi libi Cas Holmese a Mandy Pattullo.Marta Drozdova

  68. Jeni Holness says:

    Wow, just wow. Such inspiration.

  69. Monna Carson says:

    I began to feel envy as I read about Cass and Anne collaborating. I can’t imagine how that must feel and how one’s work might evolve.

    Like previous readers have commented about their favorite books I too find my favorite changes over time. I don’t believe anyone can have too many books as long as they are read/used.

  70. Beverly Cheuvront says:

    I saw Cas Holmes’ work for the first time only recently and am mesmerized by her art. And now you’ve introduced me to Anne Kelly. What another great inspiration! Thank you!

  71. Darla Keller says:

    The book that has influenced me the most in the past couple of years is ‘the hand-stitched surface’ by Lynn Krawczyk as it gave me inspiration to stitch on more things than the traditional fabric arts I’d been doing for all my life (formal embroidery, crocheting, quilting etc). I had thread and needle to lots of stuff in ways I’d never considered before… at first it felt like breaking the rules… then I realized there are really no rules except those I wish to use from time to time to increase my joy of stitching.

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