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Wet Felting Workshop: Expressive Landscapes

Sheep grazing on Devon moorlands

One Day Workshop with Judi Binks

Experienced fibre and felting artist will show you her technique for designing and creating unique and expressive landscapes in wools and silks.

Felting Landscapes in wools and silks Workshop with Judi Binks

November 7th and November 21st 10.30am – 3.30pm.

Sheraton House Studio, Kennerleigh, Crediton Devon EX174RS.


Suitable for all abilities.

£80

Includes all materials, coffee, tea, cakes and light lunch.

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Shape of the day …

I want you to feel inspired to create your unique landscape ideas using the wet felting technique to transform wool fibres and silks with soap, water and plenty of rolling into a memorable picture for you to frame or use as a wall hanging.
Discover a range of ways to depict an expressive landscape inspired by the beautiful surroundings of rural mid Devon in a small intimate workshop where the craft of felting evolves into an art form of its own. Feel free to bring along your own favourite photograph as inspiration!

Reveal your inner creativity and picture making skills through the gentle laying down of fine Merino wool fibres and silk and allow the magical transformation of your handling of wool, water and soap to gradually take place. As your tutor I will help you take your skills to a new level, however great or small your previous experience. Absolute beginners also welcome as you arrive with an open mind, freed up and ready to learn!

Group Size

Group size is limited to a maximum of three people in my studio. I like to teach small groups and am happy to work in a one-to-one setting, so that I can give you my undivided attention.
Wet felting is often described as ‘painting with wool’ because it allows for the artistic freedom of working with the different colours of wool which allows for an element of surprise, similar to water colour painting.
First steps…
Relax – we’ll start with a coffee and getting to know each other while I’ll introduce the session.
First steps – if necessary for beginners
I’ll show you how to make the basic felt or pre-felt using layers of natural wool fibres before moving on to the gradual laying down of wools and silks, followed by its manipulation and rolling using warm water and olive oil soap until you achieve your desired result.
Inspiration and Images
You may bring along some photographs or pictures of landscapes that reflect your interest. We’ll briefly analyse what makes them work visually: rule of thirds, receding colours and sizes of perspective, use of white space as you would in a panting or drawing.

Felting technique …

You will design and lay out the wool fibres like an artist would compose a picture using brush strokes and colours of the palette. I’ll show you how to ‘draw out’ your picture first so that you can have more control over the wool fibres and stick with your vision. It might seem counter-intuitive, but it works at this stage. Creativity and expression will be reflected in your choice of colours and positioning of the wools and silks. My felting process involves laying down several layers so that successive layers do not disturb and obscure the detail of the picture.
But, don’t worry please as it will make sense as you work through the process with me and it will produce individual and unique pieces of felted art for you to display.

Finally, put your name to your art felts. There are different ways to name your work. I make porcelain molds with my initials which hang from the work by a thread. I can arrange for your work to be mounted and framed ready for exhibition. Contact me for more details at judibinks@live.com or text me at 07837 436395.

Booking

Please book as soon as possible as spaces on these workshops are limited to 3 people.

Payment methods. Bank transfer 30-93-14 Account 03390910 reference Your Name.

Cheque made payable to Judi Binks.

Please pay in full at least 7 days before start of course.

Cancellations

Full Refund If notice of cancellation is received 7 days before start of course..

50% Refund in other cases.

I run these workshop every few weeks, so check back in again for latest courses.




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Landscapes inspired by Corn Harvest in Charente, Stormy sunsets over water and Sunflowers and Pineaud vines of Charente.

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How to Felt an Abstract Design in pictures

Contact

Judi Binks at Felting in Devon

Email me at: feltingindevon@gmail.com

Text me on 07837 436395. I always try to respond within a few hours.

Lay out drafted fibres on to pattern outlined on water soluble paper placed on cotton scrim.

Published by Felting in Devon

Felt artist, Fibre artist, Wet Felter, Nuno Felter, Felting in Devon workshops, View all posts by Felting in Devon

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Beginner’s Guide to Wet Felting

Final product image
Yellow layer in opposite direction
Add another one to three layers of roving
Add designs to the top layer
place the nettingtulle over the top of your project

What You’ll Be Creating

Wet felting wool is a centuries old craft used to make everything from tents to clothing. This tutorial will teach you the basics of how to felt wool roving into a beautiful piece of fiber art.

Felting supplies

For this project you’ll need:

  • a sheet of bubble wrap, larger than the size of your project
  • a towel, larger than the size of your project
  • netting or tulle, larger than the size of your project
  • assorted colors of wool roving
  • a spray bottle
  • a large wooden dowel, rolling pin, or piece of firm pool noodle
  • soap
  • two elastic pieces
Towel with bubble wrap on top
Lay out your towel and bubble wrap, bubble side up

Lay out your towel and bubble wrap, bubble side up, on a water-safe work surface.

pull your roving into drafts
gently pull your roving into “drafts”.

Next, gently pull your roving into “drafts”. Pulling lightly will give nice 10-15 cm (4-6 inch) long pieces.

Layer of red wool roving on bubble wrap
Lay each draft in the same direction for the first layer

Arrange each draft on the bubble wrap. Lay each draft in the same direction for the first layer. Try to make the layer as even as possible, filling in thin areas with drafts of wool.

The next layer should be laid in the opposite direction. Make this layer even and consistent as well.

Add another one to three layers of roving, alternating fiber directions.

Once you have completed layering the drafts of roving, you can add any design elements or embellishments to the top layer.

Carefully place the netting/tulle over the top of your project, making sure not to displace any of the designs you have made or the structure of the roving layers. 

Spray the mixture on the wool
Spray the mixture on the wool

Fill the spray bottle with hot water and liquid soap. Use plenty of soap, so that the water is quite sudsy. The exact amount will vary depending on the volume of water and the type of soap.

Spray the mixture on the wool. Thoroughly wet the wool, but try to avoid using so much water that it begins to pool. If you add too much water, just carefully blot the excess water with a towel.

gently start rubbing the your hands over the project
gently start rubbing the your hands over the project

Once the wool has been sprayed, gently start rubbing the your hands over the project. You will notice that soap begins to foam as you rub. Continue to rub for at least 7 to 10 minutes. This rubbing will begin the felting process.

roll the project up around the rolling pin
Carefully begin to roll the project up around the roller

Once you have rubbed your project, place the wooden dowel/rolling pin/foam noodle at one end of the towel. Carefully begin to roll the project up around the item you are using. Continue rolling until the whole towel and project are around the tool.

Rolled up project with ties around it
Tie elastic pieces and tie them securely around the rolled up project

Take the elastic pieces and tie them securely around the rolled up project.

rolling the whole parcel back and forth
Roll in long, firm but gentle strokes an equal number of times in each direction going round the clock

Once the ties are in place, begin rolling the whole parcel back and forth. Make sure to roll in long strokes so that the whole parcel is evenly rolled.

Gently pinch the topthis is called a pinch test
A pinch test. If fibers pull up, your project has not felted enough. Roll up and repeat 100 times in each direction.

After rolling for 10 to 12 minutes, untie and unroll the towel. Carefully lift the netting from the top of the wool. Gently pinch the top—this is called a pinch test. If fibers pull up, your project has not felted enough. 

Rotate the piece 90 degrees and repeat steps 3 to 5 again. Try the pinch test again. If very few fibers pull up, your felting is complete on this side. 

Turn the wool over and repeat steps 3 to 6 for the back side of the project.

Once both sides have been rolled, peel the wool off both the bubble wrap and netting. Fold into quarters or thirds.

Prepare two bowls, one with very cold water and one with hot water. Place the folded wool into the hot water.

Remove the wool from the hot water after a few seconds, gently squeeze the water out, and then place the wool into the cold water. Allow it to set in the cold water for a few seconds and then gently squeeze the cold water out. Repeat these alternating hot and cold dunks four or five times. 

Make sure that all the soap is rinsed from the wool. The hot and cold water might need to be changed if too much soap builds up in them.

Once the wool is completely rinsed, lay the finished felted wool out to air dry. You have just completed your first wet felted wool piece!

Same process on the back side

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Wet Felt a Wall-hanging Kit

This kit contains the wools, carded batts, silks and yarns in a wide range of vibrant colours and textures.

Kit also includes …

Artfelt Paper The design can be pre-drawn onto the pre-cut Water Soluble Artfelt paper as a useful guide to laying down your colours. The paper dissolves once you add the warm water to start the felting process.

Cotton Scrim I use this as backing material to add a soft strength and structure to your wallhanging. The wool fibres penetrate through the open weave easily thereby aiding felting. Also, this additional first layer allows you to obtain a good finish with only two layers of wool fibres instead of three. So, it’s less bulky and easier to felt. Secondly, because I cut a larger piece of scrim than the project, it enable you to create a top or bottom hem or border which is useful when you hang your picture from a pole, dowel or branch later.

Corner turned to reveal the cotton scrim backing. This could be removed if your final felted piece is perfectly finished.

Tulle Netting. I include 3 pre-cut lengths of tulle netting which you use to carefully place over your design when you have finished laying it out. The netting traps the fibres in place and so protects your design. In this large project, you can cover each section with tulle as you go, allowing you to overreach it safely. When the design layout is finished, ensure every section is covered. Take care when lift ing the netting as fibres will stick to it! Once this is done, the project can be wetted down or dampened down so you can press gently downwards for 5-10 minutes without rubbing, or massaging your work. Introduce it to the warmish water gradually. Don’t drown it or drench it!

You’ll only need

Work surface, waterproof covering, old towel, 2 sheets of bubble wrap, foam roller or pool noodle, plastic bottle with water and soap.

First, clear the deck and prepare work surface by-

1. Laying out a towel on table. 2. Placing first sheet of bubble wrap on top of towel – bubble side up. 3. Laying out the cotton scrim on top of bubble wrap. 4. Lay out the water soluble paper (with pre-drawn design) on top of the scrim.

Next, Design Layout. First stage is lay down the base layer using mainly the carded batts of wool, looking like cotton wool. You will lay out 2 layers of wool. First the foundation or base layer using the batts. These can be torn or cut to a rough shape, or, you can shingle them in smaller pieces.

The second layer (shown here on Green) is the Design Layer, where you build up details by gradually adding small embellishments of contrasting or complementary coloured fibres. See above. In this example, I’m building up both layers of one colour at a time. You may prefer to lay out your base layer first, in all the colours of green, red, blue, yellow, purple, pink etc… It’s your choice.😀

Having made a start with the green, follow your template guidelines and gradually add in other colours, remembering to lay down base layer first before adding the details and embellishments. In the above picture, you can see how I’ve moved on to add the reddish carded batts. I will keep returning to the initial colours to add details if I want.

The above picture and the following 3 photographs show in greater detail how I start to add detail and interest to the second red layer by using twirls and swirls of different shades of Merino wool tops. I’ve introduced pinks, Scarlets and wisp of violet. I use very thin wispy pieces and try out various positions until one clicks!

Notice that, as the colours come up against each other, I make sure the fibres not only touch but definitely overlap each other. The fibres need to lock on to each other in order to fully felt later on. More on this later!

Next, I added in the first layer of light blue batts. Notice how the reds, blues and greens overlap in the section on the right in the above photo. *Close up in photo below. If the fibres don’t fully touch each other, there will be a hole or a thin, weak spot here later on. It’s important to think about the structure of the wallhanging, as well as its design. The finished piece will be quite large and heavy, so it pays to keep checking for weak fault lines.

Next, I add the second layer of embellishments to the blue section. I’ve used dark and royal blues to contrast with the pale blue base. Later on, I’ll pop in some turquoise streaks to make it more vibrant.

Yellow is the final base colour to be added. Because the yellow areas are quite thin, I’m not using a carded batt for the base layer. Instead I’m first shingling 2 or 3 light layers of buttercup yellow merino wool tops to create a base before I add oranges, pinks etc in the second design layer. It’s starting to take shape at last! Keep checking and tweaking and rearranging the components of your design. Gently press down with palms of your hands to slightly compress the fibres so they get to settle into each other. This will aid the felting process later on. You can move things around. Nothing is fixed or unalterable at this stage. Enjoy it. Walk away from it. Look at it upside down.

Above, I’ve added contrasting colours of shocking pink and orange to the base yellow layer to make it ‘pop’. Notice how extra colours have also been sprinkled on to other sections, as well.

As the design lay out nears completion, I can add the final touches. Blue and orange curly locks on the central panel. Pink and turquoise Angelina fibres are sprinkled around, making sure that some strands of wool fibre trap them on to the design. With so much going on, it’s a good idea to re-shape or redefine the key shapes of your design. Using the pencil yarns to outline shapes or to create overarching swirls is a useful tool. Adding pencil yarns restores some cohesion and unity to the picture.

Finally, add the tulle netting carefully when you are satisfied with your lay out. The netting helps to protect and preserve your design as you move forward into the next stage of the process.

Wetting Down. Use all 3 pieces of netting to completely cover your design so that you can sprinkle warm water all over your project. Don’t drown or drench it. Gradually, add the water like it’s a gentle shower of rain, making sure it is equally and consistently damp all over. Press down gently onto the piece with the palms of your hand in order to disperse the water without disturbing the fibres. No need to add soap at this point. Water should be tepid or cool. This process should take 5 to 10 minutes at least. It’s a gentle pressing down action only. No massaging!

Next, the Felting Stage begins! A few notes to begin with… Take the second piece of bubble wrap and place it bubble side down on to project. (You can keep the netting on for another 5-10 minutes before carefully removing it.) The felting process needs warmer water, soap and friction to work successfully. It is a slow process. It can get quite physical when the rolling starts later. Take it in easy stages. If you get tired, you can leave it, and return to it the next day. When this happens, I gently sponge off the cold and stale water first, and then add a refreshing warm to hot spray of water to revive it before continuing to felt again.

From this stage on, follow the usual wet felting routine of gently massaging the fibres and increasing the vigour with circular and firmer movements for 15-20 minutes.

Make a sandwich of all the layers and introduce a rolling pin or foam roller. Roll up the project tightly around the roller and secure with elastic band or pop sock to keep it secure during rolling.

Roll a towel up around the sausage to add to the friction.

Here’s a link to Basic Wet Felting technique on my blog. Basic Wet Felting technique

Get ready to start the hard work of rolling out the picture 200 times in one direction and 200 times the other way! Keep unrolling and rotating and rolling by 90 degrees. It’s not easy or quick, but the more you do this, the smoother the final felt.

By the way, I did not actually wet this project at all as it was to demonstrate the lay out. See above. I have sent you the completed ‘jigsaw’ ready for wetting and rubbing and rolling. However, if you want, just have a look at how I built up the design and then …take it all apart and start again with your own design!

I have include an extra bag full of wools and a bag of silks, sari silk slivers and Angelina fibres in a smaller bag so you can add lots of extra details!

Basic Wet Felting Layout technique.. 👀

These instructions show the basic layout and techniques for making flat felt panels. This technique can be used for laying out many other feltmaking projects, including scarves, pictures,felt wallhangings, felt bags, lighting and more. It shows the basic steps used to create a strong, even, wool felt surface. Note for beginners…look at how carefully the fibres are shingled in an open-handed way – no tugging- gently drafting the wool with hands at least 30 cm apart.

Materials used for test piece:

15 grams Merino fibres, (wool tops or rovings)

2 pieces of bubblewrap about 45cm square
Warm water
Olive oil soap or washing up liquid
Foam insulation roller, wooden dowel or rolling pin

Preparing your materials:

Use your towel to protect your work surface.  Layout one length of bubblewrap, bubbles facing up.

Divide your wool fibres into two piles.

The rovings can be easier to work with and lay out as thinly as possible if you divide the rovings along the length. This gives you more of a “hand” sized amount to work with.

MFF2a

To “shingle” your wool in your layout, use your whole hand to clamp down the fibres.  The staple length of your fibres will determine how far apart your hands need to be:  if you can’t pull the fibres out easily, your hands are too close together. Using your whole hand to pull open the fibres encourages more even and fine shingles. When we use our fingers, the wool has a tendency to be more bunched up, or balled.

Lay the one layer of the wool shingles,  overlapping by about 1cm or 1/3 in length, and in each row. Layout a 10 inch (25cm) square. This will give a finished felt of about 6 inches (15cm)  square.

Another method for laying out shingles of wool is to lay the fibres on your bubblewrap, clamp down flat with one hand, and with the whole hand clamping the fibres flat, pull out the staple length to create the shingle.

MFF7

The closer your drawing hand is to the end of the fibres, the fewer fibres will be in each shingle and therefore the finer the shingle, and the finished felt.

Lay out second layer with the fibres perpendicular to the first layer. Carefully look over the surface for any holes, gaps or thin areas. Check particularly where your shingles overlap. This is the area most likely to have thin spots or gaps. If you have more thick or bulky joins, spread the fibres out a little with your fingers. Add more wool, in thin wisps, as required.

Mix about 1/2 teaspoon of soapflakes or liquid soap with 2 cups of warm (not hot) water. Apply this mixture evenly over the surface of the wool using a plastic water  bottle or by pouring the water through a colander. You can also pour the water slowly over the back of your hand to wet out the wool. We aim to simulate a gentle rain shower falling onto the wool- evenly distributed.   Try to lightly water the surface, without moving our wool designs; just enough for the surface to be wet, but not sitting in a pool of water. (I use a ball braiser to spray the water, but it’s not necessary.)

Ball brauser

Cover the wool with the second piece of bubble wrap and press down with your hands. Keep your whole hand flat, using a compressing motion. Our finger tips tend to move the wool fibres underneath. This flattens the wool fibres and distributes the water and soap mixture. Press down 10-15 times in one spot to thoroughly wet out the fibres, before moving on to the next section.  Work over the whole piece in this way.

Lift the bubble wrap and check that all the fibress are flat and wet. Add more water if necessary,  and repeat the compressing in that spot.  With the bubble wrap cover in place, add a little of the warm soapy solution to the top of the bubblewrap. This allows your hands to move easily and lightly over the surface, gently creating the agitation needed to form a felt skin on the surface of the wool.  You can also roll over the surface, very lightly, applying no pressure, using a length of PVC pipe, rolling pin, or a pool noodle. This helps to evenly wet out the wool fibres.

 Roll up all the layers of bubblewrap and wool around the foam roller or dowel or rolling pin. We all have different felting rhythms, so you may roll up tightly and roll vigorously for 10-15 minutes total, or roll more gently for 30-45 minutes. Periodically open the roll, check the felt surface by rubbing your finger over the surface to see how much the fibres are moving, or by pinching to see how much the fibres lift.  Rotate the felt by 90 degrees or a quarter turn, and re-roll.  This allows you to work in the felt in all direction. The shrinkage happens most in the direction we roll.

To finish the felting we will alternate between these three techniques:

Toss the balled up felt down hard onto your open bubble wrap. This really helps to shrink the wool felt very quickly, but we have no control over where the shrinkage happens.

Fold up the felt and roll it on itself. This gives the felt a tight even surface.  The felt will shrink most in the direction in which you roll, use this to control the shrinkage and shaping of your finished panel.

With hands flat on the surface of the felt, rub the felt over your bubblewrap surface. With this technique you are shrinking all of the felt, but can focus the shrinkage in particular areas, like corners, edges, or thin spots. Too much rubbing will create a slightly balled or fibrous surface. This is why we alternate the three techniques as they each have drawbacks and benefits.

Continue until the wool is quite well fulled, and feels firm. Check your measurements to see if you have reached a 35-40% shrinkage rate.

Rinse well in warm water and lay flat to dry.

MFF19a
Congratulations! You have created a wet felted sample using a range of techniques.

Judi Binks feltingindevon@gmail.com

http://www.feltingindevon.com

NUNO Felting Workshop in Kennerleigh. Felting a Scarf using fine Merino wools and silks.


Dates to suit you.

Course Description

Paint the colours in your mind in wools and silks through the touch of your hand with Nuno Felting.One Day Workshop £80 including expert one to one tuition, all materials, refreshments and lunch.
At the end of the day you not only get to take home a unique scarf but you can now make more beautiful scarves at home for gifts. Materials available to buy.

What is Nuno Felting?

The technique was developed in 1994 in Australia by Polly Stirling and Sachiko Kotaka. It differs from traditional felting because the wool rovings are gently interwoven into another fine fabric such as silk or chiffon resulting in a final felted piece which is lightweight, thin and drapeable.
It’s ideal for scarf making. Tussah, bamboo and sari silks are often used to embellish the design.
In a nutshell, Nuno is the creation of an entirely new fabric from two different fabrics. In other respects, it is similar to wet felting.

These silks and curly tops can be added to your Merino wool base


Autumnal colours


Booking a course

Contact me to arrange a time and date that suits both you and me. I am flexible about when I work. You can come on your own or with a friend – I really prefer a small group learning style and I will teach on an individual one to one basis at no extra charge.
Judi Binks
Sheraton House, Kennerleigh, Crediton EX17 4RS

judibinks@live.com
Tel 01363 866668
Mobile 07837436395

Cost £80 per day, including materials, lunch & refreshments.

Please pay when booking.

Cancellation Policy

No charge if we can reschedule your course date to a more convenient date, given reasonable notice of at least 2 days.

Full refund if you cancel up to 7 days before course commences.

£25 retained if your notice of cancellation is less than 7 days from start date.

Use your sketchbook when planning a wet felting

Planning can be as important as inspiration when preparing a larger felted picture.

Pen and Ink sketches are really good at giving a sense of the vivid colours of the wool rovings.

Sketch

Matching wool colours

Watercolour from 1991

Felted painting Summer 2019

Pen and Ink sketches

I bought 5 weird gourds at a fête in Deux Sèvres. Did quick watercolour sketch and pen and ink sketch of them.

“Gawdy gourds” WATERCOLOUR Judi Binks
Negative painting of Pumpkins. Watercolour. Judi Binks

“Oh my Gourd” Pen and wash Judi Binks

Printmaking and Painting

I love to carve images in lino and print them off on my press. Although the lines are simple and inexact, the process of printmaking transforms the picture.

I did the “Hare Gazing” print this summer in France and Martin has framed two of them for me.

“Hare Gazing” linocut print 5/10 Judi Binks
Original lino cut itself

Sunflowers in Charente-Maritime

Last summer there was an abundance of sunflowers known as les tournesols because they turn their faces to the sun.

This summer brought the cornicule and hot dry weather which parched the young plants which withered on the stems. So sad to see. Apparently the farmers did not fret as the blazing hot weather produced a bumper corn harvest. However, this little print is my ‘homage’ to the smiling sunflower.

Sunflowers in Blue Linocut 2/5 Judi Binks
Original lino cut plate of Teasels and Seed heads in the lane from le BREUILLAT to Paillé.
A wet felted painting of teasels in the field verges.
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