First time felting with fifth year students

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. 

Students with their beautiful felt pictures - please excuse the quality of my images today

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? 

Close up of various fibres and textures

Detail including human hair in the centre of the top right piece of felt

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I am still swooning at this wonderful box full of surprises!!!!

My fantastic swap package

I discovered to my horror over the weekend that I only have until the end of this week to finish three sculptural pieces ready for a joint exhibition in June (need to get to the venue beforehand) and complete my submission for the RDS and Crafts Council of Ireland National Crafts Competition.  This has really put me under tremendous pressure especially as yesterday the large piece that I was working on turned into a total disaster and eventually I just cut it up in frustration.  Imaging then my delight with this beautiful upcycled box of gifts from Jasmine aka Natures Whispers that I recieved as part of the Spring Clasheen Crafty Swap, it really made my day seem brighter!  It is hard to describe how perfectly Jasmine captured my personality and likes and dislikes when preparing this amazing swap package to post to me so I am just going to let some pictures do the talking and will blog properly about the AMAZING and unusual fibres (vicuna, possum, cashmere and angora!!!!!) as soon as I get a chance to try them out!  

I love this text and the hearts!

It is also incredible to think that Jasmine only started starting felting her amazing nuno scarves earlier in the year having followed my tutorial here on the blog and to say that what she sent me blew me away is an understatement.  The wonderful scarf is felted from merino, bamboo, silk tussah and angora; the silk, angora and bamboo were dyed with daffodils and the merino with lilac twigs from Jasmine’s garden.  Each end of the scarf has beautiful embroidery and shisha mirror work (instructions enclosed so I can try it myself!), I really, really must try stitching again as this extra detail totally finishes the scarf beautifully.  I don’t know if Jasmine has ever seen a picture of me in one of my Blue Fish linen pieces but I have collected a whole collection of pieces in combinations of straw and green and this scarf compliments them perfectly!  Check out my Flickr photos to see more pictures of this fantastic bundle of gifts and see what else was enclosed in the beautiful upcycled box but for now I leave you with a couple of images of my amazing new scarf!!! 

Beautifully felted and embellished scarf from Jasmine

Stunning detail