Day one of our complex felted bag workshop

We were an excited bunch of felters on Saturday morning as we examined and exclaimed over a selection of Lyda’s gorgeous and sculptural felt bags. 

Beautiful surface detail

Lyda is well known for the strong sculptural shapes and attention to surface detail in these pieces as is well evidenced in this close up shot from one of her large double pocket bags.  The flaps in this particular photo are actually not visable when you are using the bag (being hidden when the upper flap is dropped) so this just gives an indication of how she likes to decorate every surface and create a beautiful object, the hidden is every bit as important as the obvious.  If you are interested in seeing larger pictures of some of Lyda’s bags pay a visit to gallery 5 on her excellent website. 

Elaine adding glass nuggets as she lays out the various layers of her complex felt bag

Elaine and Carmen decided on different large bags with several pockets while Cristina and I both decided to create smaller bags (me because of my back) starting from the same shaped resist.  To begin with we all started by making samples, Lyda explained that it is far better to have a disaster or an unexpected outcome at this stage than when the larger bag is well underway!  I sketched my proposed bag in my notebook as I worked and as the morning progressed decided to add a small loop on the bottom of the back side to enable me convert my driftwood handle for use as a backpack if I so wished.  I decided early on to have a different surface design on the back and the front of my bag so that I could wear it either way around, both of these designs would be laid out on a base colour of deep green and this would wrap around the edges of both flaps to form a border for the reverse of the ‘unseen’ flaps.  This face of the bag I wanted to experiment with a totally ‘subdued bling’ element using a rich blend of orange, wine, yellow and raspberry merino overlaid with loads of artificial gold fabric and gorgeous gold silk yarn.  I know that it sounds a bit mad but the colours blended well together and the overall effect is not quite so glittery and obvious as might be expected from the description! 

Carmen working the various pockets


Carmen also used some artificial fabric in her design, pieces of silver mesh which combined beautifully with the charcoal and white merino to almost sparkle in her finished bag.  Here is a picture of her working the various pockets at the outside of her bag.

Check back tomorrow to follow our progress!


3 thoughts on “Day one of our complex felted bag workshop

  1. Good morning Nicola,

    I can’t wait to see your bag with all it’s bling! I’m going to wear my sunglasses when I read your next post:-) It actually sounds really cool!

    Good to finally see Carmen…Hear about her a lot…It’s nice to put a face to the name.

    Hope your back is feeling better.


  2. This is perfect timing since I just started making bags and pouches and this workshop is an inspiration to experiment more now that I have figured out the basics.
    Nicola, can you include a bit about how the straps are made for these bags? Since they are long and thin & doubled over in the final shape, are they felted at the same time as the bag? Or are they added later in the process?
    I’d love to know!
    I find felted straps (including rolled tubes) just aren’t as durable and my customers prefer straps that are industrial strength!
    This long, thin, doubled strap is a great alternative to using other materials like cotton canvas for straps.

Please comment if you feel like it, I love the interactive nature of my blog!

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