In July, there was a big arts and crafts fair on at Eden Court in Inverness, so I took myself along – with the intention of buying a present for a friend, but as well as finding something, I signed myself up for a taster workshop in felting landscapes with Wooliebacks – for 3 hours tuition and materials the cost was a mere £20! I haven’t done anything like felting before – I have no real needlework skills or passion for things like crochet or cross-stitch, but I did enjoy my screen-printing experience when I lived near Edinburgh last year. I prefer doing crafts which have quite a set process that I can follow (that must be the administrator in me coming out there!) and that aren’t too fiddly.
So, on Saturday, I went down to the Bike Shed – in Merkinch and joined three others, plus Sue who gave us the tuition. We started at our own workstations – each person had a towel which was topped with a piece of bubble wrap, and a piece of pre-felt. We then chose our colours. I really should have bought a picture that I wanted to try and recreate – it was at this point my mind went blank and my attempts to find pictures on my phone failed due to the lack of wifi….
In the end, I went for something relatively simple – simply sky and some golden fields. We chose our colours and started to layer up the fibres. Darker colours were to be on the base, so in one of the pictures below you can see where I started to add white for a wispy cloud look, and the satin fibre too in the sky to sparkle it up a bit.
Once fibres were in place and suitably layered so that none of the pre-felt was visible, then the scrubbing began! We squirted warm soapy water onto the fibres so that they were completely soaked through, then covered the fibres with a sheet of bubble wrap and then massaged/rubbed the landscape so that the fibres would attach to the pre-felt. This process perhaps took between 20-30 minutes, so our arms definitely got a good workout! To test that the fibres were all attached, we simply pinched the fibres up – if they ‘stood’ up, then more scrubbing was needed!
After we had finished that stage, we then rinsed the soap out of the felt, and then our job was to reduce the size of the felt. We had started off with a piece of pre-felt roughly 12×14″, however I had a 8×10″ frame for my finished piece so the way to reduce this was to crumple the felt up and throw it against the table! Once I had done this, all that then had to be done was leave my piece to dry out at home.
I also tried out needle-felting a sheep onto an already completed landscape, and bought a starter kit so I can try out some felting again at home (possibly so I can make cards with a felted shape attached). It was a great morning out to try something new and actually have something I was fairly pleased with by the end of it!