Claire Merry will bring along some samples from her vast collection to show us and do a short presentation. It’s definitely not one to miss. Claire has a wealth of experience, and it goes without saying that her work is truly amazing. (There is a nice interview with Claire, here on the Feltmakers Ireland website).
We will also launch our new exhibition, “Bountiful”, which will open at the beginning of October.
We will have a discussion and a mind mapping session about the meaning of the word “bountiful” and talk briefly about framing etc. (In the autumn, there will be a future Sunday Session dealing with framing and hanging our felt work.)
So hope to see a big turnout for our last session (before the summer break).
This Friday and Saturday (the 2nd and 3rd of June, 2023), Feltmakers Ireland will demonstrate various feltmaking techniques. We will be sharing at Bloom from 11 AM to 5 PM on these two days. (The event runs from the 1st through the 5th of June).
Please be ready to sell the book and hand out business cards for potential guild members.
Please be ready to talk about feltmaking. Demonstrations are welcome!
You are welcome to display your own felted works on the walls.
If desired, you can sell your felted works.
If you have hands-on activities, you can charge for kits.
Volunteer shifts will be for three-hour blocks: from 11 AM to 2 PM and 2 PM to 5 PM.
We will need two demonstrators and one helper per shift.
Please arrive 30 minutes prior to your shift in order to have time to set up.
Note: We will not be able to drive to our spot at Bloom. People must transport their work and equipment by foot from the car park. Cars are only allowed during the first and last day of the event. Along with the usual public transport, there will be a free shuttle from Heuston Station to Bloom.
On the 11th of March, several members of Feltmakers Ireland went to the Newmarket Town Hall in Co Kildare to participate in Wool – The Legacy of St Brigid. The event was organised by Deirdre Lane of Shamrock Spring, with assistance from the AONTAS Adult Learners Festival.
The Irish Wool Book
Member, Annika Berglund, showed felted samples of Irish-grown wool, which will be featured in the upcoming book, Exploring Irish Wool for Feltmaking. The book covers the best Irish wool breeds for feltmaking. Includes sections on sourcing, preparing, and dyeing wool at home using simple ingredients.
Additionally, Annika was part of the afternoon speakers’ panel at Wool: Legacy of St Brigid.
Further members’ contributions came from Feltmakers Ireland members Fiona Leech and Deirdre Crofts, who demonstrated feltmaking, while Juliane Gorman demonstrated felting hats with Irish-grown wool.
During the event in Newbridge, there was a professional crew filming the day’s happenings. A short excellent video of Wool: The Legacy of St Brigid can be seen at the EWE Foundation‘s European Wool Day, which was on the 9th of April. This year it happened in Serbia.
The entire day’s event of EWE can be watched HERE. Note: there are initial technical difficulties with the audio. However, our section from Newbridge, Wool: The Legacy of St Brigid, happens HERE and is EXCELLENT!
It was the turn of another talented Feltmakers Ireland member Hélène Dooley, to lead April’s hands-on Sunday session. Hélène is a member of the IFA’s (International Feltmaker’s Association) team of online tutors. You can find her online on Instagram as FeltZen.
Again, we were all looking forward to another practical hands-on session, FI having had the good luck to secure a venue with plenty of table space, access to hot water, etc., to accommodate our needs.
The theme of this month’s session was Surface Decoration or surface design, and the two techniques that Hélène chose to demonstrate to us were ones that she had learnt from two wonderful feltmakers, Lyda Rump of Holland and Marjolien Dalinga of Bloomfelt, who came to run a workshop on the invitation of FI some years ago.
Hélène had very kindly created packs for everyone and handed out at least 25 of them, so we had a full house of eager feltmakers, both beginners and some more seasoned makers. Hélène also made lots of lovely samples and finished projects of the techniques, which she shared with us.
We started off with a show and tell by Hélène, who explained what was in store for us.
The Cracked Mud Technique
The first technique was one called Cracked Mud.
The joy of creating in a group means there are many different suggestions from everyone on what materials to use: in this case, there were ideas on the narrow resists to place between the layers of wool. Hélène provided a plastic bag for everyone to cut up, but other suggestions to use were low tack masking tape or narrow pieces of ribbon. The main principle is that the resists should be long enough to protrude beyond the main body of the piece so that you can pull them out easily afterwards.
Personally, I really enjoyed this Cracked Mud technique, having tried it before with disappointing results. The difference was that I had used homemade prefelts in my previous attempts, and the results were very furry and uneven when I cut around them. In contrast, Hélène had used commercial prefelts in her packs, and the result was a much more pleasing, graphic result with a clean look and strong shapes against a strongly contrasting background.
Cracked Mud Samples were created during the Sunday Session. Photos courtesy of Hélène.
The Geode Technique
Technique no 2 is called The Geode Technique. I have also seen this referred to as The Felt Carving technique. This technique was taught to FI participants by Marjolien Dalinga of Bloomfelt. This method involves creating ridges (or pleats) in the thick felt surface (made of six layers or so of homemade prefelts) and stitching a line of tacking at the base of the ridge to help the layers to fuse together when felting. Then comes the ‘carving’; using sharp scissors, you make cuts into the top of the ridge, revealing the different coloured stripes to create the Geode effect.
The important thing is to use a strong thread at the base of the ridge (fold) so that it can easily be removed afterwards. Suggestions for the thread went from commercial spools of nylon thread to fish gut or dental floss.
The very enterprising Elizabeth, sitting next to me, gave me some plastic baling twine, which she had brought from her home on the farm in Westmeath, as that was what she had at hand. It’s also a very good alternative as it’s possible to unravel this twine and use a single strand of it for sewing…ingenious!!
FELTED GEODE SAMPLES WERE CREATED DURING THE SUNDAY SESSION. PHOTOS COURTESY OF HÉLÈNE.
It was great to take a walk around the room, looking at everyone’s work at the end and seeing all the different approaches. There is always so much to learn from looking at everyone’s individual creations.
Needless to say, we were kept constantly fed throughout with amazing homemade goodies and hot tea and coffee by membership secretary Fiona and her catering team.
Many thanks to Hélène for her wonderful organisation and facilitation of the session and to Fiona and the committee for the lovely warm hospitality that we all received.
For the Sunday Session attendees, Hélène had very kindly created a PDF of both techniques, with great photos to illustrate them.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Place: Killester Resource centre. Howth Road, Killester, D5
Join feltmaker, Juliane Gorman, as she demonstrates how the direction of wool layout can impact the shape of three-dimensional felt.
Juliane Gorman creates colorful and whimsical hats for grownups inspired by nature, fairytales, and fine art. Each of her pieces is wet felted from Merino wool using soapy water and her hands. Her work can be found on her website, https://felthappiness.com, and in private collections in Australia, Asia, Europe, and North America. Recently she and her family moved to the Dundrum neighborhood of Dublin (from Pittsburgh, USA).
This month we asked our valued member Helene Dooley. Helene has extensive felt making skills. She has been a member of FI since 2014. She enjoys nothing better than pushing the boundaries of her work and loves the creative freedom that working with wool fibre facilitates. Helene has frequently tutored and her work was recently featured in the international publication “Felt Matters”( IFA). She is a regular contributor to the Felting and Fibre Studio, an international collective of Felt and Fibre artists. You will find her on instagram @feltzen as well as renowned dressmaking and other craft skills She is also the joint Irish Representative for International Feltmakers Association.
“Viscose is a wonderful material to work with! It is available in a wide range of colours and is relatively inexpensive to buy. A little can go a long way! It can be used to add lustre and strength to felted wearables. It also enhances drape and discourages pilling in the fabric. I use viscose paper when I am seeking to achieve a more defined effect on my felted pieces. My video will take you through the four steps I use to make viscose paper. It is quick and very easy to do, so I hope you will check out my video and give it a go”.Helene
You can subscribe to Feltmakers Ireland You Tube channel where we now publish online tutorials, demos and interviews regularly- these are sent directly to the membership first before being shared with the general public at a later date.