My complex felt bag and excellent soap for felting

Today I am going to tantalise you with some detailed shots of my own bag before the big reveal later in the week! 

Detail from the front of my bag

This first image shows the bottom right at the front of the bag.  It is a bit difficult for me to photograph the surface detail accurately because in reality the fabric almost disapears into the felt and the glittery circles seem to float on the surface.

I am actually going to have this piece photographed professionally by Bernie McCoy but until then these images will just have to do. 

Fishskin inserted

The second shot is one of the details from the back.  I had various round shaped pieces of resist between the layers, Lyda would have used bubble wrap as it is not so thick but I decided to use laminate floor underlay because I wanted to know exactly where the plastic was in order to add my surface decoration on top.  When the bag was almost totally felted I opened up these areas and then worked on sealing the edges and in some cases inserting fishskin to add extra texture and interest.  Within several of these ‘pockets’ I had positioned gold fabric under the resist and these areas now add an additional excitment to the finished bag, I feel that what you get is more than what you see at first glance.  During the whole process I was using gorgeous soap made by my friend Anna Browne, olive oil with a light scent of orange.  If you want the opportunity of trying out this special felting gem why not visit Anna’s blog and enter her current ‘castille soap’ giveaway

Detail from the hidden flaps

The last picture for today is from the flaps which are hidden when the bag is held in your hand.  The only way you can see this surface is if you lift either flap, the bright colour and gold silk thread really adds a lively feel and an element of surprise.


Wow, brilliant felting workshop in Mullingar last Sunday!

Thanks to Anna for organising such an artistic and fun group of people for the beginner’s felting workshop in Mullingar on Sunday.  I am going to finish blogging about my large felt sculpture but until I get time to finish shaping and fulling the piece after Lyda Rumps’s vist and workshops this week the next stage of documenting the process will have to go on hold!  For the Mullingar workshop we were lucky enough to be able to use the facilities at the Educate Together primary school, in exchange I facilitated a felting morning for the sixth class pupils on Monday, more about that and a picture later. 

Atsuko's piece prior to wetting out

After I had explained the basic felting principles and shrinkage rates etc. participants decided what flat felt project they wanted to create.  We had several felt wallhangings, two pairs of stitched slippers, one folded and stitched bag to match a new coat, one experimental felt lampshade (which made a stunning but delicate light felt wrap!) and then one interesting felt pod which was designed to be a sun glasses case but could in fact be purly decorative or used to protect a variety of small treasures.

I wanted everyone to work at their own pace and in their own style, the finished work far exceeded my imagination and it was amazing to think that this was actually a beginner’s workshop and not an advanced class!  Anna had said that Sunday’s participants were all artistic, check out the full batch on photos on Flickr and I think we will have to ammend that to VERY artistic!!!

The following morning I was back at the school, the full compliment of 24 sixth class pupils were in attendance and felted an OUTSTANDING wallhanging, there must be something in the water in Mullingar!  This class will be the first to graduate since the school was opened six years ago so for them it was an exciting opportunity to create a lasting memento which will now be embellished and hung for posterity somewhere in the public area of the building.  Each pupil created a beautiful and individual piece of felt to signify something personal and of meaning to them.   They then decided how we would lay out the work and the mammoth task started of laying out a white wool background and felting the whole piece together.  Realistically this was a very ambitious project for anyone nevermind 11 to 13 year olds who had never handled raw wool in their lives before!  Interestingly one of the pupils was from Mongolia and as a younger child had seen her grandmother felting, brilliant to think that she can move to another part of the world and actually participate in the process as a united class activity. 

AMAZING large felt wallhanging!

Because of parental consent etc. I am not going to put up pictures of the pupils actually making the hanging (they will follow if all the parents are happy to give permission), here is the completed hanging however and I am so pleased looking back through the pictures at all we achieved on a cold and frosty Monday morning!  Triona (their class teacher) is now going to work with the pupils embellishing the hanging with stitches, beads and various found objects before adding a pole and hanging the work for all the other staff, pupils and parents to enjoy.  Although we didn’t measure the finished work at a rough estimate is measures 4′ X 6′, each individual pupils work is almost 1′ square!