Basic and Beyond FI Vessel Making Workshop 05/03/2023

Yesterday, our Guild Treasurer, Artist Annika Berglund, led the wonderful “Basic and Beyond” workshop. We made a versatile double-walled vessel.

An early start at 10am had us all rushing for coffee and tea, and the committee and some participants provided an array of lovely buns and cakes. Some participants had travelled from faraway places such as Galway, Kilbeggan and Slane.

Annika showed us samples of the finished piece, and asked us to choose 2 x10gr bags of tencel, a fibre which she had dyed in a variety of colours. Each participant was also given a kit bag of merino wool, with the resist already cut out in the shape needed for our vessels. 

Annika then gave us  a series of demonstrations to help create our vessels step by step.

1st: She showed us how we would lay out the tencel for our colour pop.

2nd: After another short demo and we then laid the white band and the black bands of our wool. (Layer one). This “inside-out” lay out was explained, and several committee members, Marian, Clare, Deirdre Crofts and Fiona helped the 18 participants.

Then, we had a lunch break on the premises with tea and coffee provided. This allowed a very warm-hearted social interaction between long standing Guild members and some new arrivals.

3rd: After lunch Annika again demonstrated the second layer of wool and how she wished us to rub and  roll our pieces. Hard rollers were provided by the committee.

4th: The next demonstration was how to make  slits or cuts with sharp scissors, after which we each designed how we wanted our final pieces to appear. 

5th: This demo was how to “cure” our slit edges, and we continued to roll until the whole piece was well felted. This was a reminder to all of us  how physically energetic actual felt-making is!

6th:  This demonstration was how to style our pieces, showing us ways to strengthen the base and to give a stylish finish to the ‘frames’ of our window slits. Annika showed us further samples of the variety of ways to use this skill.

All of us were very satisfied indeed with our beautiful vessels when we finally saw the double wall with the inner pop of  colour through the “Windows”. Each person’s piece was different to the next. Group photos were taken before we left for the journey home. 

As a final bonus, Annika presented each of us with notes so we can make it again if we like!

A huge thank you to Annika and the committee for a wonderful day.

Clare Brophy 


Feltmakers Ireland


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

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.


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 :

Beautiful location with artisan food market and free parking.

Astrid Thompson:

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 :

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.

Sunday session- a bowl inside a bowl experiment

Virtual Sunday Session – Fiona Duthie, Vessel within a Vessel

By Annika Berglund

Unfortunately, we can not meet in person yet due to Covid but we still want to keep up the contact with members and keep the learning opportunities coming. Feeling connected and having opportunities to develop the craft seems more important now than ever.

The virtual Sunday sessions so far have been done by members.

We thought we would look outside our group for new learning and we found an excellent tutorial by renowned teacher and artist Fiona Duthie. Fiona Duthie gives online workshops on a regular basis that have a great reputation. Unfortunately, her workshops are all fully booked for 2020. We will keep an eye open for when registration opens for 2021. Luckily for us, she also has a free online tutorial that we want to suggest to you for this month. It is a great introduction to her teaching style and you end up with a lovely little vessel and an interesting technique in felt making.

I had a go at following the tutorial and it was easy enough to understand.

First, I made a template that looks like two circles connected by a “bridge”. Then you have to think a little “inside out” and put the decoration down first on one of the circles as this one will be turned inside out eventually However, you put the decoration on last for the second circle. You rub and roll these together, throw them down a little and then you cut openings in the second circle and pull the template out through these. Finally, you push the first circle through the bridge, into the second circle. This turns the first circle inside out so the decoration becomes visible through the holes in the second circle. Magic!

Here are some photos from my attempt at following the tutorial and the final result. Hope you get a chance to try it out.

Annika Berglund, committee member experiments- following the free online tutorial by Master Feltmaker Fiona Duthie.
Annika Berglund, committee member experiments- following the free online tutorial by Master Feltmaker Fiona Duthie.
Annika Berglund, committee member experiments- following the free online tutorial by Master Feltmaker Fiona Duthie.
Annika Berglund, committee member experiments- following the free online tutorial by Master Feltmaker Fiona Duthie.