Gabi Mc Grath- 30th Jan 2021 Zoom Workshop

Delighted to announce an ONLINE ZOOM based workshop on 30th January at 10am.

This is a workshop with tutor- Gabi McGrath, 3hrs long, starting at 10am. To make an A5 felted book cover. Your 100grm of fibre and cotton gauze is included in the price and will be sent out in advance. You will need to have downloaded the zoom platform as a link will be sent one week before.

The price is €55- and this also includes your membership to Feltmakers ireland for 2021.

Please fill out both the application form for the workshop and the membership form- sending to

Payment should be made by bank transfer- details on the membership page of this site- please make a note when paying- your name and “workshop- member”.

This is a great value offer and a nice way to either learn the skill of felt making or brush up on your skills and come away with a lovely token – a book cover that could be used as a journal, diary or inspiration notebook. Start 2021 the right way.

Please help Feltmakers Ireland by spreading the word and sharing- to beginners or gifting this to a friend.

Places limited to 30- first come first served.


Felt in Arts Review Ireland? Woo Hoo

We are delighted to share that  our own Niki Collier ( link : solo exhibition has been reviewed in the portfolio section of Irish Arts review. winter edition. Her solo show Viruses runs from 5th Nov 20 – 22nd Jan 21 at University of Atypical (
Here is how Niki describes her fate as a virus veteran:

How did I get infatuated with the bugs?

The sculptures are the culmination of a conversation in wool which started for myself a decade ago and somehow to my overwhelming sadness brought the whole world to a standstill in 2020. The dichotomy between function and form in viruses is commonly our immediate response. How something so cute and small (in our eyes) could do so much damage to us. To Us?! To Humans?! Often when fear and darkness overwhelm us we ask the wrong questions, don’t we?

 My life experiences have made me ask a different question. 

Are we the measure to all? As humans we have the weakness to put ourselves in the centre of the universe. It is heart wrenching to try grasping the idea that more often than not we are part of the universe., an organism in nature, not the centre of it. So the bugs that are bugging us have brought me humility and their impact on my life- a constant reminder of this eye opening perspective to our self proclaimed hierarchy.

There were those who were unfamiliar with Niki’s life who expressed disgust in her practice. She hopes that this interview for RTE Culture File would make them hear her point of view ( can see a virtual tour of the exhibition, created by Niki’s 11 year old daughter Tanya here ( ).Make sure to leave a comment in support of Tanya’s effort.
Niki knows that things are tough so  is having a craft kits give away for those who need a sparkle of joy for Christmas.You can claim yours here (link
niki socialInsta : @nikicollierfeltFB:

Evie and Us- exhibition currently running

Exhibition of Felt Artists inspired by Evie Hone’s legacy.

Exhibtion currently running (until end Oct) at “The Constant Knitter”- Francis Street, Dublin, organised by Feltmakers Ireland Member Niki Collier:

The exhibition was by invitation and engaged with artists during the lockdown. Over Zoom we looked into Evie Hone’s work and created pieces in stained glass visual narrative. The exhibition is comprised of 10 artists in different stages of their career. It is a combination of stained glass technique and hats made as a homage to front line workers. Most of the work in the exhibition is developed through workshops with Niki over Zoom. Each artist Clodagh O’Connor, Paula Delaney, Deirdre Carey, Claire Tudor & Dorothy Ingram had done something created this year during the pressures of our changing lives. Additionally two established artists supported Niki by submitting two pieces for the exhibition. Niki is really grateful to artists Claire Merry and Helene Dooley for supporting the initiative with their pieces. And Niki put the piece she pushed herself to explore freehand machine embroidery on felt and a few hats.

Here are 4 of the Exhibiting Feltmakers:

Paula Delehny Sunrise

Paula has loved textile for a very long time. She has been doing felting, sewing and knitting for many years now.

She has embraced felting as a centre of her interest for several years and has travelled on Feltmakers Ireland trips to Hungary.

Her work was inspired by sunset and uses a combination of wet and needle felting technique to create the piece.

Helene Dooley

Evie Hone was a deeply religious person who principally created sacred art in
the latter part of her life. It is believed that her conversion to Catholicism in
1937 influenced her decision to work with stained glass. While not exclusively,
much of Evie’s work is associated with church settings.
Light and shadow reflections through stained glass were the inspiration for this
piece. The felted spiral is suspended and is in constant motion creating shadows
as the light hits it. The coloured viscose sections retain an element of mottling
and shine which seeks to mirror light in the style of light reflecting through
stained glass.

Clodagh O’Connor, has been inspired by Evie’s work on stained glass, but used fish images to explore its possibilities in felt.Clodagh has become a full time artist 3 years ago. Her work is multidisciplinary.

Deirdre Carey has used a trip to Spain for her inspiration. She has used a combination of wet felting and needle felting techniques.Deirdre has been taking feltmaking classes for several years and enjoys creating art pieces that are delicate and beautiful.

If you are in Dublin perhaps you can take a trip along- #supportthearts #supportlocal #supportingartists


Meet the Maker- Fiona Leech

Fiona joined the feltmakers Ireland committee earlier this year. Some of you may know her from her “Feltathome” handle on instagram or as a regular seller in Dublin markets- back in the day when that was a thing!

We asked Fiona to provide us with a little information about her piece “Touch”, submitted to the Endangered exhibition. Due to the change in space and location of the exhibition changing at such late notice we even had to display Fiona’s wonderful piece vertically! When really it should have been shown horizontally- it is 2m long!

Fiona was very obliging to let this happen. For those of you that did manage to visit the show in the Phoenix Park- here is how “touch” should really be viewed, and hopefully in the future we will get the chance to exhibit it again in a more spacious arena!

What inspired your piece submitted for “Endangered” and how was lockdown for you?

Before the lockdown,I was beginning to work on a totally different piece for this Endangered exhibition but quickly abandoned it as the impact of the rapid life changes soon diverted my focus.Glued to the news and watching with horror as our lives were suddenly ruled by daily numbers.On March 11th when the first life was lost to Covid 19, I stitched a small dark circle on a scrap of pre made felt. (I always saw the soul as a dark circle as a child!) I continued stitching one circle for every life lost and it soon became an evening ritual.The inability to touch,hug or even handshake had a huge impact on me and those around me.This piece evolved daily with no plan. I used dark and light scraps of previously made felt and ended up with 41 separate pieces of varying sizes (On April 20th the day that the state recorded its highest number of deaths of 77, I decided to stop) and felted a charcoal background to put it all together. The piece measured 2 meters in length, the required social distancing measurement so I added in that visual ( that we’re all so familiar with) in red stitching. Then added newspaper cutout words and red threads to connect the circles. This was to symbolise how that we are all connected somehow. We all know someone who’s been touched by this sadness.

I found that during the lockdown,I worked more than I ever have.Getting up at 6.30 every day to enjoy the quiet hours before everyone else got up.I was working on a large commission throughout the entire lockdown from design, sampling and 11 weeks of felting and stitching.It was a piece 2.3m x .5m and as I don’t have a designated studio, I needed the kitchen table, hence the early start.The bright mornings helped too!.The piece was very detailed and based on the clients love of maths, physics, Star Wars, astronomy, Doctor Who and cycling!.All handstitched.It’s finished now and hanging in it’s new home in London.Having a routine and a focus allowed me the few hours to forget all that was going on and out of my control.Working on the endangered piece was also very cathartic for me. I think it kept me grounded.I’m not sure if that’ll last as the kids go back to school.


Meet the Maker- Sinead Doyle

Sinead joined the committee last year and took up the position of secretary. Our guild is run by volunteers like Sinead, committed to the craft but also spreading the word, promoting felt, teaching and helping to run an organisation. We asked her the same three questions about her submissions to the “Endangered” Exhibition, which is currently running the Pheonix Park visitor centre.

pop art inspired art by Sinead Doyle

The Exhibition title- Endangered?- how does your piece respond to the title? your inspiration and methods etcMy piece of art depicts the effect social distancing has had on our mental health. Physically connecting is essential for a healthy mental state, however this is the one thing we cannot do for a healthy physical state. The inspiration came early in the lockdown when virtual hangouts were the only way to socialize with friends. The noisy voices chatting and laughing in a room only I was in really played on my mind. I hope to have captured how we have all been feeling. Alone together.I used prefelt to create this popart poster, cutting out each element and piecing it together like a jigsaw before wetfelting it. I then needlefelted in the details and embellished it with some stencilling using fabric paint. Finally I embroidered the lettering.

Crafting through the current crisis, with the pandemic have you found more or less time to craft, has it inspired you or have you found it more difficult- discuss
 I actually really enjoyed being hunkered down with my little family. Being unable to leave the house was strangely liberating. On the downside, it became increasing difficult to find some creative time for myself. The only way I could carve out some time to create was to involve my children, that didn’t always go as planned but I found I was relaxed and happy to play and explore feltmaking, and other crafts, with them. It’s important to create without an agenda and a child’s eye is always a great reminder of that.
Felt- how you discovered it, what it means to you
I honestly can’t remember how I discovered feltmaking. I did teach myself wetfelting first about 9 years ago through the university of youtube. Then I moved into needlefelting, which I gravitated towards for a long time. It’s only in the last few years my wetfelting passion has been reignited, and this is totally thanks to the wonderful community Feltmakers Ireland has created. I took their basic and beyond course and started attending every Sunday session. I couldn’t believe the wealth of knowledge everyone was willing to share with me. I have been so focused and creative since joining and I’m inspired every day by all the amazing women I have met through Feltmakers Ireland.

Here is another piece of Sineads wonderful work- the Green man. A needle felted piece.

Thanks to Sinead both for her submissions and for her continued voluntary work as part of Feltmakers Ireland

Meet the Maker- Veronica Santorum

Over the course of this month at next we are running a series of interviews showing the work of those applicants who submitted a piece to our exhbition currently showing at the Vsitor Centre in Phoenix Park Dublin.

The Exhibtion title is “Endangered”. 2020 has been a very different year for many of us. We decided to run this online version of the exhibition in order that all our members have access to see this inspirational work, especially those that may not be able to make it along to the physical show. Part of the constitution of Feltmakers Ireland is to promote and encourage the craft and members. We support #madelocal, perhaps think about this national campaign over the coming month and choose to spend money on local crafts and arts to support the industry.

We asked Veronica the same three questions about her work.

 The Exhibition title- Endangered?- how does your piece respond to the title? your inspiration and methods.

My artwork is a response to what I have seen on farms. I have tried to capture the moment in time when grass fields are “burnt off” with weedkiller before reseeding. This process destroys wildflowers and insects and eliminates wildlife that depends on them. Old pastures and species-rich meadows aer converted to monocultures of perennial rye grass. Disingenuously, the new fields look lush green and the underlying damage is disguised. I captured this period of ‘agricultural improvement’ and the damage done using the image of a green wave swallowing and casting aside species in disarray amidst a scarred and bleeding ‘burned off’ earth. Saturated colours were used to represent the luxuriant abundance of the Irish landscape and its inundation with fertiliser. My inspiration was Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights. It was the high energy and macabre atmosphere rather than the physical images that informed my work.

I created a wet-felted piece using blended Irish wools including Galway, Zwartable, Alpaca, Blue-faced Leicester and Jacobs, which I processed from raw fleece. Some I used undyed and others were dyed with acid dyes. The reason I combined the wools was to create varied texture which for me represented the diversity of species and textures of grasses being lost from old grasslands and to intensify colours so that the soil was not just ‘brown’ but a rich, fertile loam for example and the reds look truly fleshy and bloody. The bones were ones I found and cleaned and stitched on to the felt. They represent the species lost, field by field, to the onslaught. I arranged them to look as if they had been carelessly discarded on a rubbish heap as I want to capture a ‘who cares anyway’ attitude. The bones also introduced a hardness to the piece, contrasting nicely with the soft wool and, for me, evoking fossils of lost species. The green merino and  silk nuno-felt were dyed and made to be smooth and uniform to mimic the  homogeneity of the new reseeded lands. I stitched into the nuno-felt to shape it like a wave sweeping over the land and also like a rolling landscape.

Crafting through the current crisis, with the pandemic have you found more or less time to craft, has it inspired you or have you found it more difficult- discuss

I have found it easier to focus on crafting and to getting projects completed during the pandemic. I have tried a few online workshops for the first time and been introduced to some new ideas and techniques. I treated myself to some extra art supplies to get me through the lockdown.

Felt- how you discovered it, what it means to you.

I properly discovered felt through the Kilfinane Art, Craft and Traditional Skills group which I am a member of. About 2 years ago, the group decided to learn how to process a raw fleece and before we knew it we were spinning, dyeing, felting and weaving. I fell in love with felting when I wet felted alpaca wool for the first time and saw the patterns made by the very long fibres. Each new piece I make teaches me something and I appreciate the potential of felt more with every project. I have been inspired by Feltmakers Ireland’s exhibitions which have shown me how far you can go with this medium. I love what you can do with felt in terms of colour, texture and form. The fact that it is a natural material, that when it is no longer wanted it can simply be composted, makes it one of the best art materials around for me.

Meet the Maker- Maria Mc Garry

Maria McGarry- Feltmaker

Maria entered her piece to the “Endangered exhition” entitled-‘Marsh Fritillary Butterfly’. In our series of interviews with the makers we asked Maria questions about her piece and her textile practice.

How does your entry to the ” Endangered Exhibition” respond to the title?

 The ‘Marsh Fritillary Butterfly’ (Euphydryas aurinia or as gaeilge, Fritilean Reisc) feeds on the ‘Devil’s Bit Scabious, Sussisa pratenis, flower’. The marsh fritillary is one of Irelands few legally protected butterflies under Annex ll of the European Union Habitats and Species Directive. The species relies on the Devils bit Scabious to lay their eggs, but the habitat for this plant is declining because of farming intensification, urban development, and monoculture forestation of traditional bog lands. I was inspired by a train conversation with Dr Ken Bond, UCC who has spent many years monitoring and protecting this species.

Crafting through the current crisis.

Looking back, I have been busy during lockdown. I completed my Art Textile Level 8 course at Crawford College Cork with my piece #ONE WORLD, which charts the spread of Covid 19 on a felt population density map of the world (up to 25/5/2020). This was part of a virtual exhibition ‘EMERGING’ at The Gallery 46 Grand Parade, Cork.

#ONE WORLD was taken from the Director-General of the W.H. O’s speech on 15/04/2020, as he voiced his major concerns about the viral spread in poor countries especially Africa. That was also the day that the U.S.A President decided to stop funding to the W.H.O. 2 million accumulated cases were reported worldwide that day and over 10,000 deaths in New York.

Detail of felt, Covid19 Clusters and viral spread up to 05/05/2020

COVID 19 sent the world into lockdown in March 2020. Something invisible could affect so many people on a global scale.  A world without borders! I wondered how I could visually represent the spread of this virus on the world map. I was inspired Renna Saini Kallat’s Woven Chronicle, 2011 which is a world interconnected that ‘with Globalisation, the privilege of free movement for some means forced displacement and migration for millions of others.’

I had another piece # TICK TOCK ( the cogs of climate change)  on exhibition at The Gallery ,46 Grand Parade for the ‘HAND’ exhibition, March 2020 ( a collaboration of Crawford College, textile students and UCC  drama students). This exhibition remained in place during lockdown.

My triptych, screen printed Nuno felted and embroidered piece, #FAKE NEWS is part of the Irish Guild of Embroiders 2020 exhibition at the Lexicon, Dunlaoighre

How I discovered felt and what it means to me.

In 2010 I saw an advert for the Basics and Beyond Feltmakers Ireland workshop in Lucan and am hooked ever since. I have met so many likeminded and lovely people. I have enjoyed the Sunday sessions at the Knockmaroon Gate in the Phoenix Park, and workshops given by other members of Feltmakers Ireland. I have taken part in incredible masterclass workshops with Gabrielle Kovacs from Hungary, Nancy Ballesteros from Australia, and last year with Leiko Uchiyama.

Inspired by all the exceptionally talented friends I have met through Feltmakers Ireland, I completed my Certificate in Visual arts in NCAD IN 2018 and have now finished Art Textile in Crawford College Cork. I am passionate about textile art and making. Feltmaking is my meditative space, because the art is in the consistency and gentleness of the laying and manipulation of the fibres. This cannot be forced or rushed and does require experience and practice. I love Nuno feltmaking and the lustre of combining silk with merino wool.

Because of lockdown I have a full house working from home so my feltmaking is on hold as   my kitchen table had to be cleared. I have lots of ideas brewing and cannot wait to get back at it. Thank you Feltmakers Ireland for all the inspiration, joy and friendships over the last 10 years.

Meet the Maker- Elaine Peden

Interview with Artist Elaine Peden.

Elaine Peden is a long time, committed member of Feltmakers Ireland. Once again she took part in this organised event and submitted a wonderful piece highlighting micro plastics in water pollution. A regular contributer to the “Element 15” textile group, exhibiting around ireland, Feltmakers thanks Elaine for her continuing interest in the organisation and for helping to publicise the craft.

” Dive straight in keep your eyes wide open ” : €500

Made during lockdown over a period of two weeks.

Working from home technology “zoom” became an integral part of my working day ,I craved the creative process. Wet felting became the perfect medium for me during lockdown and helped balance my ‘right and left’ brain .

Detail of Elaines piece

I made this piece outdoors ,laying out the fibres on our long hot Covid summer days. My work is process led ;colour plays an integral role in my work . I chose lemon and golden yellow as my primary colour base , (a colour I have avoided until now) the sun reflecting off the sea.

The circular openings draws the eye to look inside , the ‘Blue’ luminous fabrics and silks buried in the voids , reflects deep sea dumping , microplastics, and the Impact of consumer culture mainly the use of plastics on our oceans .

I believe we can create  awareness about deep sea dumping through Art .I believe Covid helped us reconnect with our Blue landscape.

Meet the Maker- Endangered -Yling Khaw

Yling Khaw, felt artist

The Endangered Exhibition drew in new members to Feltmakers Ireland, to whom we welcome. Yling submitted a wonderful piece of work entitled “Clouded Leopard”. We asked her 3 questions about her work in response to the Exhibition title.

The Exhibition title- Endangered?- how does your piece respond to the title? your inspiration and methods etc
The tropical rainforest has been a lifelong love of mine even though I have lived in Ireland for the past 20 years. I grew up playing in streams, and had spent practically every weekend and holiday in the forest. My main interest is macrophotography of insects. 
Unparalleled diversity: A square kilometre of rainforest contains several thousand species; absolutely mind-boggling. Immersing oneself in it is a humbling experience.Not only is the rainforest disappearing fast, it is nearing an irreversible tipping point beyond which it can no longer sustain itself.The loss of such a magnitude of living beings is heart-breaking. I bear witness.
I chose the Clouded Leopard because it is native to my birth country and its survival depends on presence of primary (pristine) rainforest. It is an elusive, beautiful cat, well known for it’s tree-climbing skills. 
I am grateful to Endangered Exhibition for raising awareness of our planet’s collapsing ecosystem. I take this opportunity to challenge the viewer to look him in the eye and say one does not care.
Feel the heart break and take action. 

Method: Needle felted merino roving on 100% wool felt sheet.Photo credit: Wikimedia commons.

Crafting through the current crisis, with the pandemic have you found more or less time to craft, has it inspired you or have you found it more difficult- discuss
For me, the crisis meant a combination of maternity leave and lockdown with two young kids. I felted a little every evening. Felting has helped me maintain my sense of self. 

Felt- how you discovered it, what it means to you
I was looking for a craft that looked attractive, yet flexible and forgiving. Needle felting is also very exciting due to the endless possibilities! Even better, it is a natural compostable material!

In January 2020, I got a box of needles, felt, core wool, 40 colours of dyed Merino and embarked on my felting journey. This art form is as fun as it is therapeutic. 

We thank Yi ling for her participation in this event and congratulate her on the quality of her work, especially as she is so new to the craft and has managed to jugle so much through lockdown! We look forward and anticipate seeing more from this artist.

Meet the Maker- Interview with Claire Merry

piblicity poster- created by Tamzen Lundy, featuring the work of Claire Merry.

Its been a strange and in many ways a sad year. In January when Feltmakers ireland launched the “Endangered- lost there felt here” exhibition title, we did not know and could never have imagined how changed our world would become in 2020.

A global pandemic that might endanger human life and our very understanding of how we live would evolve. Covid- 19, coronavirus, socially distant, bubbles, pods and zoom all entered our vocabulary. We became news addicts, home schoolers, front liners, essential, non-essential, unemployed.

We have had to pivot the way we work, change the way we socialise and adapt the way we think. But as Charles Darwin put it- “its not the strongest of the species that survives, but the one most adaptable to change.”

Here at Feltmakers Ireland we mourned not seeing our members and friends face to face at Sunday sessions. We tackled zoom like the best of them and have held all our committee meetings remotely.

We’ve had had to cancel the best laid plans- two workshops with international tutors travelling from Canada and Australia ( postponed) and we have had to “pivot” so much that it’s left us dizzy!

We wanted to press ahead with our exhibition plans, now more that ever the title “endangered” seemed to resonate. We had 20 wonderful entries, from dedicated craft maker, artists. Our judges have told us that the quality made their jobs very difficult indeed.

The committee decided that because of the efforts of the artists and the quality of the work received as well as a motivator to the rest of us, we would like to show you all the pieces submitted-  in an online way.

We reached out to the member makers and asked 3 standard interview questions. We hope that the work and the artists answers inspire you to keep crafting through the crisis.

Interview 1- artist CLAIRE MERRY, whose piece entitled “tree hugger” was chosen for our publicity poster, above.

claire Merry- Tree Hugger, entry to “Endangered Exhibition 2020”

The Exhibition title “Endangered”- how does your piece respond to the title? What was your inspiration and the methods you use?

I entered two pieces to the exhibition- the first, “ Tree Hugger”- €750

These tail-less amphibians are wonderfully diverse many with fantastic colouring. Sadly many find themselves in an increasingly inhospitable world. Large numbers are listed as ‘critically endangered’. If we could all hug a tree and embrace the endangered habitats. We and the world would reap the reward.

The making of this piece-I have started playing around with mosaics recently. It’s possible to see the influence in this piece. I used prefelt to imitate tiles. 

My second piece- “BEAUTIFUL SUNSET OR DEADLY FIRE”- €850. 

The impact of the fires in Australia profoundly affected me. The loss of life, human and animal, habitats destroyed, homes and land devastated. The really sad news emerged that 85% of fires were triggered by human activity including arson as well ascarelessness and recklessness. 

I thought, wouldn’t it be lovely, if we could turn everything around and celebrate a beautiful sunset and the life of of the ecosystem living there. 

I spend a lot of time laying the fibres. Then I am up and down a ladder in order to view the piece as it’s growing. I love adding prefelt to drop in colour. 

Crafting through the current crisis, with the pandemic have you found more or less time to craft, has it inspired you or have you found it more difficult?

During lockdown it was great to have crafts to divert my attention 

from the terrible news that was emerging. I was lucky to have supplies.For a craft person they are as critical as the sliced pan and loo rolls.  

It wasn’t always easy to get down to work but once I did I could ignore the news and live in my head. 

Felt- how you discovered it, what it means to you?

I describe myself as a craft butterfly. Over the years I have been involved in so many areas. Textile, jewellery, ceramics and felt. I first came across felt at Bloom in 2008 when I saw a demonstration by Feltmakers, it really captured me. I love colour and find felt is a perfect medium for it. The versatility of felt means that there is always something new to discover. 

I have had fun with 3d, needle felting and clothing. I find working on a submission stretches me and makes me try something new. 

You can see more of Claires work at