On Wednesday morning I had a very enjoyable session working with 20 fifth year Enniscorthy VEC students helping them complete their first flat felting project. My good friend Shaz is their regular art teacher and had invited me several weeks ago to speak about feltmaking and give a short demonstration explaining the process further. Because there is no funding for this type of activity at fifth year level parents contributed a small fee per student to cover my time and costs while I provided all the materials necessary for everyone to create a beautiful piece of flat felt to take home for themselves at the end of the morning.
This workshop was optional for the students and as a result everyone who attended wanted to be there although as always some people found the actual felting and fulling harder than initially anticipated!
I started the morning by asking everyone to choose just two main colours, less choice is MUCH simpler I find at the beginning and weighed out 60g Icelandic wool per person. They laid out the wool in several overlapping layers and when all the wool was used then came the fun part deciding what colours and fibres to use for the decorative top layer. Many of the students were quite adventurous with their selection enjoying a range of fibres including a coarse bamboo, silky corn, fluffy angora (from a friends bunny!), shiny acrylic yarn, painted sliver, merino and more Icelandic wool, there was also some silk chiffon and cotton muslin which a couple of the students choose. I was very impressed with how everyone concentrated on their own work and nobody seemed to copy their friends which sometimes happens when you get a large group working together. Quite a few of the students had started with the same two colour combinations but everyone was amazed at the end of the morning to see how totally unique each of the felt pictures ended up when finished! One of the students incorporated a lock of his own hair in his felt, a modern take on a Victorian idea?