The World Crafts Council Europe in collaboration with the Design & Crafts Council Ireland is offering a 6 week intensive online course on how to grow your craft & design enterprise.The course is comprised of 6 modules with one-on-one mentoring sessions and a final pitch day, all designed to help you to advance your small business or craft enterprise and grow in the areas where you need it most!
After a two year postponement, we have finally put the plans in place to bring you an online zoom workshop with the world renowned felt maker NANCY BALLESTEROS from TREETOPS COLOURS, Australia. The workshop will take place on MAY 28th 9-12am and will be a MEMBERS ONLY workshop at a cost of 30 euro. Limited to 30 participants. There will be a follow up, in person, meet up a few weeks after to catch up, finish or discuss our endeavours with each other. Sadly Nancy won’t be there in person though! Most importantly, to participate in this workshop there is a video that Nancy wants us to watch beforehand.
If you are interested, we would encourage you to sign up quickly as there is growing interest from non members worldwide to join Feltmakers in order to take part in this workshop. Nancy is passing on the information to those who enquire about workshops she is doing. If you’ve got a membership that needs renewing ,maybe now is a good time!
That and workshop enquiries can be made by emailing us at
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 ‘ruzuku.com’. 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: firstname.lastname@example.org. Many thanks to you all. Best regards, Doris
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!
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.
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.
Back in February my phone rang, and it was a call from a fellow Feltmaker, who I have always enjoyed working with in CRAFTed over the years but we never actually worked together. She told me she had received funding as part of the Keep Well campaing and wanted to get a group of like-minded felters together for a collaborative project.
I was feeling the post Christmas lockdown and told her that I felt I was creatively stuck in a rut and would be delighted to get on board and do a collaborative project.
Nikki put our dream team together. The idea was that we would each present an hour-long workshop working on different stages of the felting process to create stained glass effect felt pieces which would be exhibited later in the year. Niki went about advertising the free workshops and they were oversubscribed in a day leading to further workshops.
Caolfhionn got the tough job of hosting the first workshop which shows how to create prefelts and blending colours to create your fabric for your picture. Niki did the design layout for our work and I got the job to do the stained glass effect dry felting work.
Each class had 35 participants and we did three classes each to facilitate the large numbers in our groups. We also supported each other during the workshops which was fantastic and made it a lot easier.
I was delighted to find that Breda Fay who was a long-time student of mine when I did workshops in Johnstown Craftspun yarns is now the treasurer of Feltmakers Ireland and she was attending the three-part workshop. It was great to see familiar faces on the screen. The best part about the project was the collaborative process and having the support of fellow felt makers and being able to bounce ideas off each other.
We have set up further classes in May and August this year which will be either online of face to face, depending on where we are.
We also have an exhibition to look forward to: online in August and physical in October and we look forward to inviting back participants to celebrate their feltmaking.
Breda Fay reports on her most recently undertaken on line course:
I have just completed an exciting online workshop with Molly Williams called “Contemporary Dancer”. Six weekly lesson included presentations, videos and downloadable worksheets, illustrating simply and clearly the step-by-step procedure. Weekly online meetings with tutor were timetabled as much as possible to suit participants. Any queries or difficulties could be discussed with Molly and it was great to see other participants’ progress. Over the six weeks we progressed from making a wire armature skeleton, to covering it with fabric before wet felting horizontal and vertical layers of fibre for the musculature. A large piece of embellished prefelt was then made for the colourful skin which was cut out and sewn onto the model before fulling and shrinkage. There was also an option to make the skin directly onto model. This was the one I chose. Finally a head dress is designed for the figure before it is finally glued into a plinth. I cannot believe the I’ve got through the six weeks and have a very viable and I think stunning sculpture!
Molly Williams’ bio
Molly is a textile artist specialising in figurative felt sculpture. Contemporary and Modern dance inform the shapes and movement of the felt sculptures, and figurative shapes are a feature of her textile art. Molly lives in the UK and works from her studio in the garden. She teaches felt sculpture workshops internationally. Molly’s research interest is in Ottoman textiles, costume and ceramics and she has studied Ottoman costume and design to create replica kaftans and pattern design to be used to print textiles, wall art and other products. BA Hons Embroidered Textiles – Middlesex University Qualified Design and Technology Teacher – Christ Church Canterbury University Memberships: Prism Textile Arts Society of Designer Craftsmen International Felt makers Association Websites: www.mollywilliams.co.ukwww.fruitfulyear.co.uk
To offer our members something for 2021 we are running a draw. The draw will take place on 5th March…. all membership renewals as well as new members will be entered into a hat ( all membership renewals up until 3rd march will be entered).
One lucky winner will be chosen at random- and offered a bursary up to the value of €200- paid for by Feltmakers Ireland… for use on an online workshop course- of their choice. Its a great prize, a lovely offer of hope and learning as we face into another year. We would hope that the lucky winner might write up a little blog article of their work or their workshop experience. Not giving away any valued techniques of course but more a “what I learnt and how I managed online” diary piece. Good luck everybody!
At the end of January Felt makers Ireland hosted its first online zoom workshop ever! The first of many, we hope, while we can’t all be together face to face.
Our Tutor Gabi Mc Grath led participants through a 3hr workshop making an A5 felted book cover with closure mechanism.
Gabi is a familiar face on the Irish felting workshop circuit, a former chair of Feltmakers Ireland she is familiar with many of our members and happily has experience teaching via zoom.
30 participants were enrolled, and it is thanks to the dedicated volunteers on the committee that the workshop was able to go ahead.
We were delighted to have such a turn out and an enthusiastic bunch. It’s a strange world that we all find ourselves navigating but for one morning in January it almost felt like we were together- felting!
Thanks to Gabi and her top tips and guidance many participants have since sent in images of their finished pieces… here are a selection!
Thanks also to so many of the participants for sending wonderful images and feedback to our very first online course.
Workshops are being offered by 3 experienced Feltmakers- made possible by funding received from DCCI under the keep well initiative.
Classes will be taught by Caoilfionn Murphy O’Hanlon, Niki Collier &Liadain De Buitlear
Have you tried the Stained Glass technique in felting? Join your tutors for three online classes to try felting, spark your passion for fibres and discover a fun technique for making colourful pictures in felt.
All materials included.
This project was made possible with funding from DCCI under the Keep Well initiative. See details here:
28th Feb 11am -12 noon Making a Felt Picture with Caóilfíonn Murphy O’Hanlon
7th Mar 11am – 12 noon Patchwork Felt Niki Collier
14th Mar 11am – 12 noon Making a Stained Glass Finish on a Felt Picture Liadain de Buitlear