An Interview with Wendy Bailye.

In August of this year Felt makers Ireland had the pleasure of hosting award winning Australian felt maker Wendy Bailye for a 3 day workshop, entitled “Fiffty shades of Grey”. This was a sampling workshop, the prime objective of which was to play with fibre and fabrics in a layering style to discover new ways of making felted textile.

We looked at surface textures and discovered the differences in speciality fibres such as hemp, silks, neps and proteins. We used silk chiffons and lightweight cottons in layering techniques, always in an experimental fashion, learning through our own exploration.

Wendy showed us a large section of samples from her vast portfolio. Many of her samples looked at surface design and stitch. Many of the class then went on to experiment with free- motion stitch on their own samples.

It was a very enjoyable and relaxed workshop in, held in Portmarnock. Three days of experimentation that resulted in each student producing a small library of samples.


I reached out to Wendy, now that she is back in her native Australia to ask her about her own work. I hope you enjoy her responses:

Tell us a little about you as a person? 

I have always been a maker. My mum was a very creative soul and I have many happy memories doing classes and working creatively from a very young age. It was a very “1970’s upbringing” with experiments in, copper enamelling, Ikebana, macramé, drawing to name a few.

I trained as a Secondary Home Economics Teacher, doing a lot of textile work, and then I went on to train in Special Education with Art as a major. I have also worked as a restauranteur, a caterer and gallery owner as well as opening an organics store. A very varied career! I have been a full time, professional felt maker for 12 years.


How and when did you start Felting… what is your experience, tell us a little about your journey with felt?

I started felting 25 years ago. A friend and I made hats for our children and then felted together for a while. I became addicted to the medium immediately.

Tell us about your process from conception to creation and what is your motivation?

My main interest is in surface design and technique innovation, I like to play with a “big canvas” so I make a lot of large wraps.My artwork originates from the heart and my hands often do their work without thought.


A miraculous dance of sorts, moving in unison and independently of the conscious mind. The shaping and fulling of wool is so dependent on this connection of heart and hands. There is something very special about wool, it has such unique properties.

What currently inspires you?

I am inspired from within, my inner landscape in combination with the never- ending inspiration of colours, textures and patterns in the outer world.

I am planning a trip back to the UK in 2020 this travelling and connecting with people and places deeply informs my work. Especially the connections made with other artists working thoughtfully in their chosen careers.


I am fortunate to be able to assist others to develop their creativity- a vocation like no other and very necessary in today’s complex world.

You can learn more about Wendy Bailye on her Facebook: The Felt Studio and Wendy Bailye and Instagram is #wendybailye and also #wildthingstextileart

Thank you so much to Wendy, both for the wonderful workshop earlier in the year and for taking the time to share these unique insights with us, perhaps we will meet again on your next international tour.



Have you felt my fleece?

So this year we have had the Sloth and the ubiquitous Unicorn on seemingly every piece of kids clothing, decoration and even in the shape of doughnuts and milkshakes!

Summer 2018 brought us the flamingo, a happy go lucky fellow but fleeting as the Irish summer… Now here comes the Llama as the trendiest animal of the year!

If you have kids who play “fortnight” on xbox or playstation you may over hear them referring to the fellow- as one of the quests is to search for the purple llamas, to claim a high score.

Slogans have begun appearing everywhere- don’t be a drama llama, what’s your prob llama?  And this cute and cuddly if a little ugly beast is having a “moment” in fashion.

What has all this got to do with the price of wool? Well… exactly that- Llama wool can be used in felting… and its smaller eared cousin is the Alpaca!

Alpaca V Llama

I overheard Gladys Paulus at the March- Seed Pod Workshop- say that Alpaca was one of her favourite fibres. I’ve since bought some on world of wool- alpaca

I see that world of wool also have baby llama fibre world of wool -llama I would love to hear your experiences. How do they compare? In wet and needle felt.

The drama Llama definitely has my vote as the trendiest animal of 2018; Why? Its simple- have you ever tried to felt with the fleece of unicorn!

An Interview with Feltmakers Ireland Member- Leiko Uchiyama


We asked Feltmakers Ireland member Leiko Uchiyama a few questions last month to get an understanding of her work and what motivates one of the members of our guild.
We hope you enjoy her responses and gain an understanding of how your fellow felt-makers work in this craft.
Can you tell us a little about yourself Leiko?
I’m Japanese and I’ve lived in Japan, NZ, France, Indonesia and now in Ireland over the last 6 years. I was studying animal science (sheep reproduction) in university in Japan and I was shearing sheep… Felting has been how I make my living since 1994.
How and when did you start Felting… what is your experience, can you tell us a little about your journey?
My first felting experience was when I was working on the sheep farm in NZ in 1987 with my farm boss and the book called “Felt Making” by Inge Evers. Then I had a chance to take the felting class with Jorie Johnson in 1992 in Japan. I was learning spinning, weaving and knitting but felting drew me the most.
What is your process from conception to creation and what is your motivation? 
I like keep my hands busy and it makes my brain works. Hand craft is very important in Japan and I believe it makes the society rich. Sheep is the animal which has the longest relationship with human being and they’ve been providing us food, shelter and clothes.In this 21st century, I’d like to see what real hand craft can do and to remember how skilled our hands are.
What currently inspires you?
Everything I see and everything goes through my mind and body.

Thank you Leiko for taking the time to speak with us.

read more about Leiko here