Friday 8 March 2019

Marvellous Mixed Media Felting Workshop Part 1

Last week, I spent a weekend with Deb and Bernice on a wonderful workshop with Caroline Merrell at The Felt Foundry in Bishop's Frome. We all had some prior experience of wet felting but it was those magical words - Mixed Media - in the title that particularly attracted us to this workshop. The idea of mixing metal, glass and other inclusions within the felt, then possibly adding paint, sounded really interesting and Caroline's work looked amazing.

Thanks to Caroline (CM), Bernice (BH) & Deb (DD) for many of the images in this post.

by Caroline (CM)

by Caroline (CM)

by Caroline (BH)

The Felt Foundry was a beautiful workspace with some wonderful resources ...


including goody bags for us all - not forgetting coffee, tea, a wide variety of biscuits and scrumptious home-made cake!


Moving swiftly on to the actual work (!) ...

Essentially, this will be a picture blog, without necessarily going into great detail about the processes and it may not be strictly in order. However, I will try to show the evolution of some of our pieces and maybe some idea of our creative processes.

Caroline began by demonstrating how to make different types of felt inclusions, which can be attached on the surface or buried underneath the felt - basically tubes, braids (thin and thick) and felt balls.

Beginning to make a tube around a resist (BH)

Adding more layers

Our tubes waiting to be attached to our samples

More from Caroline's demonstration - rolling braids of different thickness ...

Rolling a thick braid (BH)

Attaching thinly rolled braids to enable them to stand up, using resists to add an extra dimension ...



We built up small felt balls with several layers and rolled them in our hands before cutting them in half in preparation for burying them in our felt sample pieces.

Caroline showed us how to layer up our felt, burying various inclusions of our choice, including the felt items we'd prepared and also metal, fabric and glass beads.

Laying out the inclusions (BH)

Adding the prepared felt inclusions (BH)

Burying it all underneath the thick final layer of fibres (BH)

Feeling inspired, we began work on our own samples ...

Bernice was very organised and took several sequences of photos following the progress of her pieces.

Experimenting with folding the tube

At this stage, Bernice decided to cut this piece into two and she continued to work on the larger of the two.

The following photos show the sequence of cutting into the felt.

Removing the resists

This is my sample ...

Positioning the braid and felt balls (BH)

I changed the braid into a spiral before adding the tube, more inclusions and 'spikes' (BH)

When it was dry, the fun began as I started to cut into the felt.

I cut out some  circles

I wasn't sure about the spikes or the tube towering over the whole piece so I experimented with ways to make it smaller, folding and twisting it. I was quite pleased with this ...

Twisted tube and woven spikes

However, much later sitting at Deb's kitchen table, I decided that looked too much like a rose and I wanted something more abstract so I came up with something different ...

... which drew this comment from a friend yesterday - "So you got rid of the rose and came up with a bishop's hat!"

This is as far as I've taken the sample, having cut into the spiral and added a few more curls with needle felting. It needs more work and I'm planning to stitch into it eventually.

Here is Deb's sample piece.

Positioning the felt inclusions (BH)

Adding fabric & glass bead inclusions (DD)

Adding the top layer (BH)

Cutting into the felt

Cutting back into top layer (BH)

As you can see, Deb also experimented with the tube, shortening it by cutting some off the top and placing it over the tube and then deciding to cut into the remaining top edge.

We thoroughly enjoyed working on our samples and began to think about which elements to use in our own designs. Look out for Part 2 coming soon ...