Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Felting Masterclass

Tuesday 11th February

Jackie Lunn (far left) shows Claire Ketteman, Jill Maloney and Christine Patrick how to add features to the map, whilst Embroiderers' Guild Regional Chair, Pauline Heywood (centre) looks on.  Photo:  Enid Pyrah

The second of our three StArt workshops became a masterclass of felting techniques and an opportunity for Pauline Heywood, Chairman of EG Yorkshire and the Humber region to see the project in action.

Jackie Lunn returned with the half-felted landscape from last week.  The colours had merged and blended but some areas needed extra attention to make subtle adjustments.  Jackie showed us how to apply colour to the reverse side if the work and then use a multi-needle tool to push the new fibres through to the front. Handled with care, this method adds small points of colour like pepper sprinkles.  At this stage, the fabric was cut roughly to shape, with a 4cm border to allow for shrinkage.

The next task was to add the route of Le Grand Depart as it winds its way from Harrogate down through the Dales to Skipton.  We had already made a piece of yellow felt and this was cut into narrow strips and the edges needle-felted to secure them in place. As towns and rivers were added, the map started to come alive.

So far, so good, but now we had to fully-felt the fabric without distorting it out of all recognition.  The fabric was doused once again in hot soapy water and then rolled up in a bamboo blind.  We took our turns at rolling, changing over as the piece was rotated in a circle, a quarter turn at a time.  As we measured the felt against our hand-drawn map, Jackie advised us to concentrate our felting technique on just one area at a time so that the fabric shank evenly.

By the end of the day we had a fully felted map of the Yorkshire Dales National Park ready to start adding embellishments.  Some of the group had been busy dyeing an assortment of fabric scraps for other members to stitch in order to create the border.  Throughout the day we had been collecting suggestions for the borders and refining our ideas for how to complete the map.

On our third session with Jackie Lunn (Tuesday 25th February), we will be painting the calico back-cloth onto which the felted map will be mounted.  Bring an apron and rubber gloves! 

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