I might have mentioned a while ago that I’d be doing wet felting workshops at an event called MakeFest at the Museum of Science and Industry in August (8th and 9th, if anyone’s interested!). I must admit I didn’t realise it was a 2 day thing when I applied, or I probably wouldn’t have. I started getting ready for it back in May after getting accepted so I didn’t get overwhelmed with stuff to do. I bought the wool and fibres, made some batts, dyed some wool locks and fibres etc. The last few weeks I’ve been making small samples to take, just to give people a few ideas, so they can make something nice for themselves and also a few examples which show the kinds of things you can do/make with wool/felt.

They have a textiles gallery at MOSI which I’ve always loved, they have working machines processing cotton from raw fluff into cotton sliver and then into fabric, and also displays of different fibres showing the raw material they came from, like coal, oil, flax or cotton and the fabric they are usually processed into. And since I kind of like the odd fibre or 20, I thought it’d be a perfect chance to show wet felting and get people to try those fibres out with it. I made a small sample piece showing how lots of different undyed fibres look after felting. They’re mostly in alphabetical order, from the top: Bamboo top; Bamboo staple and Soy staple; Banana; Cotton; Flax; Hemp; Ingeo; Milk; Nylon staple and Plastic staple; Ramie; Soy top; and on the bottom Viscose staple and Kapok:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is one of my favourite pieces I made lately. It uses crimped Plastic fibre, made from recycled bottles. I used it blended with Merino, under dyed cotton scrim and also as a surface embellishment to create a kind of landscape:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd a look along the surface:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve dyed some of the fibres I’m taking as well as having samples of them all undyed. One which dyes really nicely is  Nylon. I usually go for more muted or ‘natural’ looking shades, but Nylon seems to suit more vivid colours. This is a sample made with dyed Crimped Nylon:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne other thing I really love is wool locks. I’ve had a few hundred grams of Gotland I’ve been really careful with over the years, but recently Zara was really generous when we did a swap and sent me loads (well over a kilo!) of the most gorgeous Gotland in many shades and varieties, so I dyed a lot of my ‘old’ ones to take to MakeFest. I used them on a couple of pieces. This is the first one:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd, because I thought kids would really like it, I made a silly hat and used the locks on that:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI tried to do a video to show how quickly and easily you could make a piece of felt, but at just under 14 minutes it was too big to upload, so I edited it down to the highlights:

I don’t know what other displays, demos or workshops will be there, but it’s a huge place, so I’m sure there’ll be something for everyone.

18 thoughts on “MakeFest

  1. The examples in the first photo are lovely (actually it’s a wall hanging isn’t it?) and I like the bright pattern you achieved with the nylon. The wool locks look like a picture of an English country garden, and as for the hat? I reckon it’ll be a talking point with everyone, not just the young ‘uns.

    The video is great and I was amazed to see you rubbing on your bubble wrap and it didn’t snarl up and shoot off the table – is that sticky shelf liner under it?

    1. Thanks, Lyn 🙂
      Yeah, that shelf liner is great for that. I hadn’t realised how flimsy and unsticky my old one had become till I bought those! The first piece is quite small really, maybe 10 x 4 inches, I really won’t have much room for everything.

  2. All of the samples are well chosen for this event, and the hat is sure to be a talking point for kids and adults. Great to have the video as well. In addition to the demos, will you be able to sell any items, or at least give out your cards?

    1. Thanks, Cathy 🙂
      No, I won’t be selling anything, it’s just a free workshop, but I’ll try to remember to take cards!

  3. Good luck for MakeFest, Zed! I hope you manage to enjoy both days without any hassle. I love the silly hat, and I also find I like to hoard Gotland locks – they’re just so amazing!

  4. All the samples are great Zed. I love the one with the crimped plastic, that stuff is fun and gives unique texture. And of course, lovely locks! Good luck at Makefest!

    1. Thanks, Marilyn 🙂
      I like that too, I thought kids might like that and it’s good to show you don’t have to just make squares or rectangles!

  5. You made some great eye candy! I think you have done a great job in showing how other fibers look when used as embellishments. I really like the Gotland locks piece. Beautiful! I wish you the best of luck and hope you enjoy yourself. 🙂

  6. Looks like an impressive bunch of samples and I hope you’ll take it easy and not wear yourself to a frazzle 🙂 The second piece reminds me of your moldy cheese one. I love it. And the locks reminds me of my lupine piece – very floral landscape. Do you have anyone to help you?

    1. Thanks, Ruth 🙂
      If only I could embroider like you, then the locks piece might be half as gorgeous as your lupines piece! My sister is going to help on the Saturday, maybe one of the visitors will like it so much they come back to help on the Sunday!

  7. Looks like you will have a great demo Zed. It amazes me how think you layout. I would have made 2 layers of each colour and probably had to go over each layer twice to use up all the wool.

    1. Thanks, Ann 🙂
      Well, it’s just a ‘decorative’ demo piece. I’d do it more carefully for something being handled, full it more etc. I just wanted to show how easy, and quick it can be. I can easily take an hour laying out a piece for a book cover, probably more for a scarf!

  8. I am so pleased to see Gotland locks in use! I do hope you will have fun with the ones I sent you – and not hoard them for years… 😉 But I confess that I can relate to the hoarding – although in my case it relates to the gorgeous fibres and batts you sent me in return. 🙂

    1. Ha ha, I think it’s universal with felters! Once all this is over, I can make felt for fun, and hopefully use some of the Gotland you sent me. You should let me know if there’s anything you want replacing 🙂

  9. Hi – Just to say it was lovely to meet you both today at MOSI and I really enjoyed making (with help) my first piece of felting. Thanks for a really good time and I am very pleased with my first attempt. Now I am seriously thinking about taking it up! Hope the second day went well. Best wishes – Lucette

    1. Hello! That’s so nice to hear from you 🙂
      I’m glad you enjoyed it and liked your piece. The second day was much easier, we restricted it to 2 people at a time and had set times, lots of people were really disappointed they couldn’t try it, but people were a lot less rude about it. If you do take it up, make sure you get back in touch to show us 🙂

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