Wishing bowl workshop

Last weekend we had the pleasure to restart the Feltmakers Ireland workshops with one of our most inspiring artists Astrid Tomrop-Hofmann from https://bombyxmoriwearableart.com

We made wishing bowls using a unique technique of laying and felting fibres.

It seemed like a historical moment- getting back together after long two years and pandemic challenges meant that everyone took a leap of fate.

Astrid burst into action full of colour and energy and was very attentive to everyone’s needs and ideas. 

We started by making a very textured prefelt – it was a platter of found and saved textiles and fibres. This was going to be used to decorate our bowls, but there was plenty left from it for the future.

Then using the precision of a true perfectionist Astrid divided the wool into 20g and 10 g and laid it out to look like a colourful meringue with fibres laid as beams coming from the centre of the bowl. Then we put a thin layer of 10g going sideways. After we have done that we put the embellishments in whatever shape we wanted them to be and started felting and fulling. 

Astrid, as the participants noticed, was very much hands on tutor and loved nothing more but to help out, demonstrate and show us how she does it.

In the intermission most of us let loose at the artisan food market and enjoyed the yummy food in the beautiful relaxed grounds of the Marlay Park.

The wonderful surprise came from Helene Dooley who knew that Astrid has birthday in a few days so she made her a delicious birthday cake. Astrid was in tears (and so was I). 

It was lovely to see two new members joining us as a result of workshops.

The best part is always the smiles of the participants. This time I made sure that I heard from each participants in a quick chat after the workshop- great day, well organized, inspiring teacher were some of the comments. Astrid was delighted with the group and was very enthusiastic about their talent and dedication. Probably, most memorable to me would be the comment that we need more people like Astrid in our life. You see- I couldn’t agree more. 

I joined Feltmakers Ireland 10 years ago as I found that our community nurtures talent  and fosters wonderful connections. This year I found myself in a position to be able to serve this community.  It is a great privilege and a testament to you all that I was able to give back to you

You know, sometimes your aspirations become reality. Just roll up your sleeves.

What was my wishing bowl about? 

My wishing bowl was for good times with great people.

So in a way my wish has come true.


A Year’s Turning | Contemporary textile and multi-media exhibition, Blessington, Wicklow

by Breda Fay

Element15 is a collective of 15 textile and mixed media artists. They have used the past year despite all the restrictions of Covid to allow nature to inspire them. They were fortunate to be welcomed into the wonderful gardens of Jimi Blake at Hunting Brook and June Blake’s Garden, to respond to the gardens over the seasons.

The culmination of their work is being shown in an open-air exhibition across the two public gardens. The artworks are integrated into the lush landscaping in the form of an art trail.

Opening Times:
Hunting Brook: Weds – Saturday 11 am – 4 pm, entrance fee €8
June Blake’s Garden: Weds – Sunday 11 am – 5 pm, entrance fee €6

On Wednesday last I decided to go and view the art nature combination. It was amazing: the planting display showed off the art to wonderful advantage. A weather proofed catalogue was available on both sites with a map to guide you along the paths, as well as through meadow and woodland, to view each of the art works. Naturally it also included a short artist statement and a description of the work.
A great visit for the combo plant/art enthusiast. 

Reminder: Tomorrow is last day to apply to Colour Our World – Feltmakers Ireland Members Exhibition 2021

The deadline is approaching- 20th of August. We have many exciting entries already, but want to encourage as many of our members as possible to participate!

1) There is no fee for submitting your piece.

2) This is a “members exhibition” with no adjudication or judging, we would like to show the range, breadth and depth of our talent as an organisation, with the primary purpose of promoting the craft of felt- be you a beginner or a professional.

3) Please read the application form carefully- for details of requirements, size, photograph etc…


4) Let the title “Colour our World” inspire you, don’t be afraid to push the boundaries, show your skills, experiment… 1 piece from each member is guaranteed accepted… 

5) Feel free to contact the committee for any assistance, advice, question or help.

UPDATE: Feltmakers Ireland Workshop – Wishing Bowl- Astrid Thomson

This exciting workshop is coming up soon, so apply now to ensure you get a spot!

Date 11th Sep 10am -4pm

Venue: The Kitchen, The Courtyard, Marlay Park, Dublin

The materials list included with the application form has been updated so make sure you download the newest version of the form;

For those who do not have any Finn wool white, Mountain sheep or Tiroler Bergschaf wool listed in the materials list, Astrid will have Bergschaf wool available for sale at a nominal price.

This will be a great opportunity to reconnect with fellow feltmakers and a lovely day out!

For details and completed applications contact


Google location : https://goo.gl/maps/4WgETKJrvJ7SC9wEA

Beautiful location with artisan food market and free parking.

Astrid Thompson: https://bombyxmoriwearableart.com/

FB: (20+) Bombyx MORI – wearable art | Facebook

Feltmakers Ireland Workshop – Wishing Bowl- Astrid Thomson

We are delighted to re start our workshop program with

Wishing Bowl- Astrid Thomson

Make a felted bowl  with one of our most beloved artists.

Date 11th Sep 10am -4pm

Venue: The Kitchen, The Courtyard, Marlay Park, Dublin

For more information and application form click here:

For details and completed applications contact


Google location : https://goo.gl/maps/4WgETKJrvJ7SC9wEA

Beautiful location with artisan food market and free parking.

Astrid Thompson


FB: (20+) Bombyx MORI – wearable art | Facebook

Our Astrid was born in Germany, but lives and created in Ireland since 1979. She is a true pioneer at heart. We are all familiar that she was one of the first people to start the feltmaking movement in Ireland.  Beyond that she has also been living off grid for decades- long before it was mainstream movement. 

Since her childhood Astrid was surrounded by creativity, fashion and art. Her mother was a textile designer and her grandparents owned a beautiful garden, which inspired Astrid greatly. She was trained as a professional make-up artist at Film Studio Hamburg and Thalia Theater, and has been involved in art all her life. In 1986 Astrid started painting on silk and eventually committed to textiles as career. The rest is part of Feltmakers Ireland’s history. Astrid works with some of the most beautiful galleries in Ireland, exports internationally and exhibits in curated shows. The secret to it all? Talent and kindness.

Online Workshops for 2021

Dear members,

We hope you are all doing well, staying safe and finding some time for crafting. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, there is one actual benefit from the pandemic, and that is that more felting workshops than ever are offered online. This means that you can learn from artists across the world and establish contact with other makers from many different countries. The best courses are quite pricey and fill up quite fast, but if you compare with the time and cost involved in doing in-person workshops they start to seem a bit more accessible. Also, remember, all renewing members will be placed into a draw for a bursary award to the value of €200 for an online international tutor workshop this year.

In this blog I want to present a list of artists whose courses I have done, or would like to do, in case any of you are looking for workshops to do in the coming year. Learning about new techniques and being encouraged to keep making has helped me retain a modicum of sanity in the last year and I am planning to keep it up in the new year as well. If any of you know of other courses and artists not mentioned here that you would like to recommend, please send us a line.

Fiona Duthie: Fiona Is well known for excellent online workshops. They one I took last year definitely improved the quality of my finished felt. She is also very generous with help and advice and added a number of extra tutorials to the course in response what students were interested in. Fiona is opening registration for her spring courses on January 4th.

Online Workshops – Fiona Duthie

Pam de Groot: Pam’s workshops focus on 3D felting, and allows you to explore how felt can go from 2D to 3D and the effects and structure you get by varying the thickness of wool in a felted piece. Pam has not posted dates for courses in 2021 but sign up to her newsletter if you are interested and be first in line when registration opens.

Pam de Groot – online workshops | courses

Eva Camacho-Sanchez: Eva is a Spanish artist living in the US. Her online classes are mostly 2D, incorporating, mark making, stitching and Joomchi. Joomchi is an old Korean technique where water and agitation fusing mulberry papers together to create a strong and interesting surface that can be used on its own or with felting and stitching. Eva has not yet put up dates for 2021, but join her newsletter if you are interested in her courses.

Online Classes — eva camacho

The Online felting Studio with Ruth Lane and Teri Berry have courses that are quite a bit cheaper, but much shorter that the ones I mentioned below. Ruth lane teaches 2D embellishments and mixed media approaches to felting and Teri berry ‘s courses include an interesting looking concertina hat. These would be good if you wish to dip a toe into online learning.

Online Classes | feltingandfiberstudio

Mandy Nash: Based in Wales, Mandy did a few live zoom classes last year. I attended two of them (remotely) and learnt how to make two types of fabulously colourful felted fish. These are now available as a video down load. They are quite long as they include the recording of whole day workshops. They are very reasonably priced, but require a specific wool (bergschaus) for best results. This is a very interesting wool as different colours of a separate layers of wool migrate through the layers and give both vivid and subtle colour gradations when felted.

Workshops – Mandy Nash

Patti Barker: Patti has a number of shorter tutorials and workshops. They are very reasonable and for the “Demystifying felt resist “ course she did Last year she even sent you all the materials needed. She does not have any dates up yet, buit her courses can be found here:

workshops | patti barker | Instructor

Molly Williams: Molly’s workshop teaches how to felt human figures in 3D around a metal armature. I am signed up to begin one of her courses in January, so will keep you posted.  She has opened registration for courses beginning in March.

Online Workshops | MOLLY WILLIAMS TextileMatters

International Feltmakers CiFT: the International Feltmakers offers a course that gives a certificate in Feltmaking, CiFT.  You receive course information online and send samples for feedback to a course coordinator. There is also a facebook group were students can interact abd support each other. I have not done this one, but would be curious to sign up some time in the new year. If you have experience of this course, please send some feedfback or information to Committee

CiFT – Introduction – International Feltmakers Association

International feltmakers also list a number of upcoming workshops on their Events page, including feltmakers Ireland’s upcoming workshop with Gabi MacGrath.

Events Archive – International Feltmakers Association

Hoping for a brighter 2021 with lots of making opportunities!

Stay making! Stay in Touch and thanks for reading