Coming this summer: Irish Traditional Trades Fair 30-31 July, 2022

This is planned to be an annual event held at Ballylongford Mill in North Kerry.

The first Fair will be held over the weekend of 30-31 July, 2022 where Irish traditional trades and craftspeople from all over the country will talk about and demonstrate their work.

It’ll be a family friendly weekend with old fashioned fairground games for the kids, food and entertainment and lots of traditional crafts for sale.

There will be a wide variety of trades and crafts on display, from Longbow makers to Coppersmiths, Feltmakers to Musical Instrument makers, Basketmakers to Blacksmiths.

So far there are 26 different trades and craftspeople confirmed, and we hope to have more by the time of the Fair.

We are writing this blog post to tell you that Feltmakers Ireland hope to participate at this event, provided we have enough members that can commit to volunteer to demonstrate and help out. If you are interested in working with us to  give a good showing at this event, please contact us on

We also want to tell you that this is coming up if you would like to participate as an individual.

For more information on this event, please check out their facebook page:


Ballylongford Mill is a collection of early nineteenth century industrial buildings on two-thirds of an acre in the middle of the village of Ballylongford, which comprises the old working port of the village.

It includes the five storey Mill, originally built as a grain drying store in 1846, the Creamery and Famine Hospital which both appear on the 1851 map of the village, and a large buried eighteenth century boat dock in the centre of the site, which will be excavated and reinstated as a dock for wooden boats.

All of the buildings have been disused for a number of years, but work is about to start on the restoration of the buildings and walled yards which make up the old port of Ballylongford.


Heads up: application date for Sculpture in Context coming up.

Fiona Leech

Sculpture in Context is a large outdoor and indoor sculpture exhibition taking place in the Botanic Gardens in Dublin every year. the exhibition was set up in 1985 by sculptors whose aim was to work on behalf of fellow sculptors to provide space for exhibiting work of sculptors in venues outside of the normal gallery context.

It has been successful in that aim over the years and and is a very popular event every autumn where visitors can see the magnificent gardens and chance upon art works around every corner.

The Botanic Gardens is a huge space for a sculpture exhibition and that gives the organisers leeway to welcome new and unknown artists and makers as well a better known names. This makes it a great place to dip your artistic toes into applying to show your work to a wider audience. There is a lot more space outdoors than indoors, so you have a better chance to be accepted with outdoor works. Some felted art will be fine to stay out doors for the couple of weeks the exhibition is on for. Otherwise you may want to look at some kind of weather proofing of your work. If this is an area you are interested in, get in touch and we can do another blog post on the subject, or discuss it at one of our Sunday sessions.

As far as we know, only three members exhibited at last years exhibition: Fiona Leech, Ramona Farrelly and Annika Berglund. If we missed one of our members exhibiting, get in touch and we will add your work to the next blog.

Ramona Farrelly

So, we suggest you give it a try this year!

Here is all the important information:

Sculpture in Context is a pivotal event in the Irish arts calendar and the most important sculpture exhibition in the country. The annual exhibition attracts a large public and critical audience and is the highlight of the National Botanic Gardens calendar.  Sculpture in Context is a key event for both public and private buyers of all levels.

Open to all artists working in three dimensions in any medium. Proposals may be durable or time-based artworks, including performance or video.

Important Dates- Sculpture in Context 2022

Submission Deadline – Friday 8th April

Artists Notified – End of May

Outdoor & glasshouse Installation– Thursday 24th and Friday 25th August from 5-9pm

Gallery Drop off – Saturday 27th August from 11am to 2pm

Opening – Wednesday 31st August

Exhibition Take down- Saturday 8th and Monday 10th October (See details below)

Exhibition Dates – Thursday 1st Sept to Friday 7th Oct

Site Visit

If you would like to visit The National Botanic Gardens to see the venue; the gardens are open to the public seven days a week, admission is free.

Important Changes

Over the last few years as the exhibition has grown, our running costs have risen. To help cover these costs we have had to make some difficult decisions to ensure that Sculpture in Context continues to successfully support artists and promote sculpture in Ireland.

We have introduced a new entry fee of €15 per entry (max. of 3 entries) and new commission rates- 25% commission on all work up to a value of €15,000 and 20% commission on all work above €15,000.

New Installation Details- In line with the National Botanic Gardens new health and safety requirements ALL outdoor and glasshouse work will be installed outside public opening times.

Outdoor and glasshouse works- Thursday 24th and Friday 25th August from 5-9pm

Gallery works- Drop off to gallery on Saturday 27th August- 11am to 2pm

Entry forms and conditions are attached. Applications by email to

Please send all information in one pdf attachment only using your surname and first name in the file name ie.  ‘Smith_John_EntryForm2022.doc’

Applications by email to  Please send all information in one pdf attachment only.  Complete all relevant sections on the attached Entry Form and include additional pages with the following:-

1. Two Images or drawings for EACH proposed sculpture

2. Written description of sculpture to include details of materials, dimensions and proposed method of installation (max 500 words).

3.Two images of previous work

Payment of Entry Fee can be made to Sculpture in Context by bank transfer. Please use your surname and first name as a reference on all transactions. Bank details can be found on the entry form.

We have tried to make the entry process as easy as possible, but if you are struggling with internet issues (submission or payment) please contact us at  directly and we can make alternative arrangements for you.

All enquiries regarding the exhibition and/or siting must be directed to the Sculpture in Context Committee at

Entry form:

Good Luck Feltmakers!

Annika Berglund
Annika Berglund

Opportunity to to run workshops

Just in from the Crafts Council:

Ballymaloe May Fair looking for workshop facilitators


Ballymaloe May Fair is accepting applications from craftspeople from around Ireland to conduct hands-on workshops at the fair which will be held on the grounds of Ballymaloe House in East Cork in May.

More information:

Good luck Feltmakers

Sunday Session with Marie Dunne

Last Sunday was our second get together at Killester and what a great morning it was. Marie Dunne, a natural teacher and born entertainer wowed us with her beautiful merino and viscose cowls made using a novel Russian technique. She found it on YouTube during the lockdown. 

It is not translated to English, but gives a great idea of the process anyway.

The process began with her laying out eight even horizontal strips of merino onto flat plastic (no bubble wrap was used at all!). Followed by prizing apart the viscose (dark green in photo) and laying it on top in small cut pieces. 

It was a slow process to lay out with a delicate touch, though Breda and Clodagh were on hand to help speed up. 

Water next. Lots of water, thoroughly wetting it and flipping over to repeat the laying out to produce a continuous circular seamless cowl. 

A quick coffee break in the very capable hands of Rita and her now infamous homemade fruit cake while Marie continued to lay out the fibres. 

After coffee Marie surprised us all with the shrinking technique. Just gentle shaking and flapping.That’s it. It actually felted really well. There wasn’t enough time to completely finish the cowl but we learnt enough and could be confident to try it ourselves. 

To finish, Marie was fantastic to give up her time to teach and entertain us with her knowledge and stories. She even told us about the naked felting couple! Who knew!! Worth getting out of bed on a Sunday morning? Sadly there’s no photo!

We would love more of our members to come forward and join our Sunday Session team to demonstrate any aspect of felting whether advanced or not. So if you feel so inclined you can email Deirdre Crofts at

Or Fiona Leech at

Thank you. 

GANS Opportunity to collaborate with a fashion designer – deadline extended to 12/03/2022

This exciting opportunity is still available for the next week. Carmen Garcia has kindly offered to share her experience in just such a collaboration to give us an idea on how it may work. Her report can be found below.

This scheme will run from the end of March to August.

It has come to our notice that the form to apply for this collaboration has to be filled out by our GANS representative, so if you want to apply, please send an email to Annika Berglund, one of our two reps, and she will facilitate the application. Her email is

This is Carmen’s report and a photo of the beautiful result of their cooperation:

In 2019 I took part in a cooperation project between The Council of Irish Fashion Designers and The Design and Crafts Council of Ireland. 

The idea of these cooperation projects is to randomly pair a designer and a craft maker to produce a design working together. I was paired with the talented designer Charlotte Lucas.

We designed a wedding dress with hat inspired by Balenciaga. We mixed the fluidity of Charlotte’s style with the rigidity of the felt.

We found our common ground, what we shared in our approach to design, and we both moved towards the other. It was a very interesting experience. 

We felt stretched in our approach to the design, and found the limitations in the process were stimulating for the creative process and both were very happy with the result. 

I totally recommend the experience to any Feltmaker that might be considering it. 

Feltmakers Ireland @ Irish Showcase 2022

The guild of Feltmakers Ireland was invited to take part in SHOWCASE IRELAND 2022 to demonstrate the craft of feltmaking.

Showcase Ireland, Ireland’s Creative Expo ® is one of the country’s largest international trade shows. Over 4,000 buyers visit the event from across the world,

This year we were asked to participate with only a week’s notice, which was pretty tight but we managed to rise to the challenge of showing what felting is about over the 4 days of this event.

It was a great opportunity to tell people about the guild of Feltmakers Ireland and we hope that we have opened the door to future opportunities for those in our guild who sell their work in larger quantities to participate in this event in the future.

There were many interested people who stopped and enquired about our guild, about the felt making process  and the felt pieces that were on display. Each day our stand changed what pieces were shown depending on what maker was demonstrating.

Our contact in DCCI was very happy that we managed to pull this off with so very little preparation. Given the positive feedback our stand generated she was hopeful  that we can do this again in future years, hopefully with more advance notice.

Feltmakers Ireland would welcome the opportunity to do this again. With more notice we would be able to  have  time to advertise beforehand on social media  and on our blog.

We would also open the space, and the manning of the stand, to all our members, hoping that as many as possible of our members who sell their work could take part and be able to share their creations with the retail sector.

We think this could be a great showcase of the talents of our members and the possibilities of making quality products using felt.

GANS newsletter with opportunity to collaborate with fashion designers.

GANS (Guilds, Associations, Networks and Societies) latest newsletter:

Of special note is the following. The dead line is very close, but all you need is to express an interest. Further details will follow.

CIFD / GANS Collaboration Project 2022 – 3rd March for expression of interest – Expression of interest are being sought from DCCI GANS to take part in the Council of Irish Fashion Designers and Guilds Associations Network & Societies (GANS) collaboration project. This is an opportunity for all GANS that are interested in exploring the potential of working with fashion designers to create interesting collaborations. Form to be completed by 3rd March launch will takes place by zoom on Friday March 4th 12.15 pm to 12.45pm


‘Contemporary Dancer’ – Felt workshop attended by Doris Reinisch, winner of Feltmakers Ireland’s bursary 2021 – report by Doris Reinisch

First of all, I would like to thank the Feltmakers Ireland for the generous Prize of 200 Euros that I have won in a prize draw after renewing my membership for 2021.
The prize money was contributing towards a felting workshop of my choice throughout the year 2021.

At the beginning of October 2021, I participated in a six week long virtual online 3D felting workshop called ‘Contemporary Dancer’ by Molly Williams.
The weekly course material was accessible via an online platform ‘’.
Each weekly module was accessible with video instructions and the group of participants also had a Zoom meeting with Molly. We were able to discuss our projects, tips and tricks, and how to overcome difficulties throughout the different stages of completing the contemporary dancer sculpture.
The course was directed towards advanced skilled felters and the instructions were very clear and easy to follow.
It began with looking at the human form and drawing of the body in different shapes and movements. As we progressed towards selecting the movement and shape of the contemporary dancer, we were working with a sketch book to generate ideas.

After deciding on the dancer position, we created the skeleton (50cm tall) of the body form with a strong wire. When the skeleton was ready, we added a tissue layer by covering the wire with a light wooly material strips as a felting starting point. We applied layers of felt wool to build up tissue and muscle of the body form.
This technique was an interesting experience for me, as we were applying the wool in a similar way as to working with clay. As soon as we were happy with the shape we created the skin by preparing a colourful and textured strong pre-felt. The skin was applied to the body where my sewing skills came in very useful.

The next step was to wet-felt the whole dancer more intensely until the skin was felted on to the felted layer below. It was important to achieve a more solid final shape. After a few days, the felt sculpture was dry enough and the head was decorated with my prepared felted piece.
Finally, my contemporary dancer sculpture was ready to be attached to my wooden platform for display.

I had a lot of fun creating the sculpture, even if there were a good few challenges to master.
The workshop in general was well set up and the host was very helpful and supportive.
It was a great opportunity for learning and exchanging my felting experience with other experienced felters from abroad during the workshop in the zoom meetings and through online chatting on the course platform.
Participating in this workshop opened up a new perspective on using the felt technique for 3D sculpting, and it was new experience for me to participate at a felt workshop online.
Not just the outcome of my final sculpture, but also the journey involved was very enjoyable.
I thought I’d share a little insight about my participation at the contemporary dancer workshop with you.
If you have any questions I am here for you and you can contact me by email:
Many thanks to you all.
Best regards,

Feltmakers Ireland would like to thank Doris for her lovely report and gratulate her for a brilliant result from the course.

We will raffle another bursary in the next month or two, so make sure to renew your membership in time to be in with a chance!

Upcoming events that may be of interest:

Talk: Launch ships and burn towers: Beatrice Elvery and Patrick Pearse

Upcoming Needle felting landscape courses at The Muddle

Talk: Launch ships and burn towers: Beatrice Elvery and Patrick Pearse

 It explores the fascinating relationship between Patrick Pearse and the artist Beatrice Elvery. 
Several of Elvery’s paintings hung in Pearse’s school, Scoil Éanna and she also illustrated Pearse’s book, ‘Íosagán agus Scealta Éile’. The talk will also look more generally at the central role which art played in Pearse’s innovative and experimental school. 
Hopefully these stories will inspire you and be just what you need to get your creative juices flowing and help you beat the January blues. The talk will also look at aspects of the history of early 20th century Irish stained glass and will help you in finalising your ideas towards submission for Keep Well Felt with Us Felt Stained Glass Exhibition scheduled for launch in Pearse Museum in April. The Pearse Museum and St. Enda’s Park are managed and run by the OPW.

This event can be booked on Eventbrite:
Launch ships and burn towers: Beatrice Elvery and Patrick Pearse Tickets, Thu 13 Jan 2022 at 19:00 | Eventbrite

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Niki Collier at

The Muddle; needle felting classes

The Muddle in Bray has added some 2022 Needlefelting Landscape classes onto the web for booking.

One is an online needlefelting class, two hours, two week on zoom on a Wednesday evening.

The other is Needlefelting landscapes in  person in The Muddle Sat Feb 26th

For the online class you will need a basic kit which you can order on the website or collect from the shop. The kit is provided for the inhouse class. Here are the two links. 

The muddle is also planning classes this year in natural wool fibre preparation, wool washing, dyeing, carding and spinning.

They are also starting Kids after schools classes and adult weekly mixed craft sessions. Also on the website. The classes will differ each week depending on the tutor. Like a plethora of art and craft, tasters sessions etc. 

Feltmaking Course in Castleknock Community College

If you are in a position to get to Castleknock once a week for 10 weeks, this might be for you:

Feltmaking with Clodagh Mac Donagh

Course Content:
Welcome to the wonderful world of wool. Using beautiful Merino wool and other fibres to produce woolly works of Art. You will learn all of the terms and many techniques to create your own fabric and solid forms, from fluffy fibre, done using the wet felting technique. (Students will be required to pay a €25 materials charge)

Course Schedule
NameDateDayStart TimeEnd Time
M29 Feltmaking with Clodagh Mac Donagh24/01/2022Monday19.0021.00

To enroll:

You can contact the Director of Adult Education directly on (01) 8129346 or by e-mail at