Christmas Lunch & Nov Toss ‘n Tell 2016

Christmas Lunch & November Toss ‘n Tell 2016.

It was hard to believe it was already Christmas time again! A lovely group gathered for our annual lunch feast. Luckily this year the sea breeze gently kept the flies away and it wasn’t too hot.  We were incredibly fortunate Soosie volunteered to supply the Christmas Tree, having just made one for an on-line tutorial she is teaching.

img_1780. felt tree by Soosie Jobson   img_1777img_1786

We had and incredible feast, since we are all such good cooks!

Our new president Virginia Campbell introduced our new program for 2017. Lots of workshops and demonstrations are being planned as well as our annual retreat, two international tutors, and a group project to be announced early next year.  Keep your eyes on the home page of the websiteand our eNews bulletins. img_1779

We had our annual gift exchange and raffle which Sue Eslick won.img_1822

At our Toss ‘n Tell, Sue Harrington showed some very intersting sample pieces she made in Alison Gomes workshop, What lies Benneath, learning how to add resists to your work to add surface design.img_1758. sue harringtion img_1756-resize. detail sue harrington

Alison Gomes show an incredibly luscious new wall hanging she has been working on, with some wonderful hand stitching for embellishment.img_1770-resize. alison gomes img_1775-resize.close up alison gomes

Katrina Virgona showed off her talent for creating evocative jewelry using a limited palette of red and black, and a splash of yellow.

img_1800.katrina virgona

Sue Eslick had been busy re-purposing and old tea cozy into a gorgeous Meditation Bead necklace. She also found a leather worker to add leather strap onto oimg_1805-resizene of her fabulous bags.img_1762.sue eslick


Marie Marshall had been busy making scarves for family and overseas friends for Christmas. She did a wonderful job of folding her scarves in so there were no raw edges.

img_1810                       img_1806.marie marshall               img_1807.detail marie marshall

Marie Jacquier made a large wrap adding on a special piece of fabric to each end to add the ‘wow’ factor.

img_1819.marie jacquier

Beginners Workshop SEPT. 2016

REVIEW BEGINNERS SEPT. WORKSHOP taught by Sue Esclick and Alison Gomes.  We had a record crowd for the beginner’s workshop in September! Twelve  participants and two tutors really stretched the capacity of the studio but made for a friendly, sociable atmosphere as people made new friends while learning the basics of feltmaking.

Sue led people through the process of making a sample square, talking about the difference between pre-felt and quality felt.  Alison showed participants how to layout really finely and  got everyone to make a sample square of nuno felt.

People left keen to go home and practice and to sign up for more advanced workshops.  We hope to see the new felters showing their work at future Toss and Tells , and signing up for next year’s workshops.

img_3647   img_3643   img_3644


Review Oct 2016 Toss N Tell

October 2016 Toss and Tell by Sara Quail

Our demo this month emphasised the importance of fulling felt completely. Nancy Ballesteros illustrated a variety of surfaces one can use for final fulling. Optimum shrinkage was illustrated with samples comparing partial and fully fulled felt in different weights, as well as related experiments with nuno felt.  Hairiness can be avoided by not allowing the felt to dry out during the fulling process. Re-fulling after allowing the felt to rest and relax, is beneficial.

Sue Eslick explained how different wool breeds when laid out in the same size, using the same weight of wool, all reduced to the same size eventually. Some quicker than others. She then demonstrated some more extreme ways of fulling, especially suited to more bulky pieces where the inner layers may still be soft and require more fulling. These included very hot water with lots of vigorous hand rolling and stretching, hot vinegar solution soak, wrapping and rolling in a cloth, rubbing with wrapped stones and her pièce de résistance – the hammer!

Toss and Tell:

  • Our new president, Virginia Campbell, opened the meeting with a request for input from members for workshops for the coming year, ahead of the planning meeting on 13 November 2016.
  • Additional copies of the last Retrospective are available for $5 each.
  • The Xmas party is 19 November. Members are asked to bring a plate to share and exchange of a wrapped handmade gift. The Raffle will also be drawn. More details to follow in the newsletter nearer the time.
  • With no stall available this year at the Fremantle Bazaar, other alternatives for 2017 are being sought and members’ input is welcomed. Christine Wheeler made mention of various possibilities.

Members again illustrated the group’s diverse interests with their Toss and Tell items:

Brenda Edney tried out a piece of cobweb felt, inspired by Liz Odd’s recent demo.20161015_134107

Kerry Bertucci had made a pair of beautifully fitted gloves with guidance from another member, Jill Jodrell. With a current focus on small vessels / pods, Kerry had also created a unique shaped vessel by stitching prefelts over a form.20161015_134243 20161015_134323

Sue Eslick had crafted another beautiful bag with the intention (and challenge) of attaching leather handles. She had also made a dainty small box-shaped purse.

Katrina Virgona is still in fetish mode and we were able to handle the components of what may become ‘hairy handcuffs’   comprising  hair,  jute and flax fibres– possibly to be used on members guilty of incomplete fulling. She said she uses a sort of dry felting technique on  hair to matt it in to a net which she then overlays on the wire armatures she makes, and that she also felts a lot with a mixture of wool and hair.

Judith Shaw made use of some donated Alpaca to produce a hat. With a brushed and rustic appearance, she said it was light and warm to wear.  Made many years ago, she also brought along a mask constructed by moulding over a form. Despite it having been used as outdoor décor all this time, there was virtually no sign of deterioration.20161015_141544

Marie Jacquier had a work in progress from Nancy’s ‘Shifting Shapes’ workshop and was now inspired and excited about the concept of realistically being able to make and wear felted pieces using the technique.20161015_141831

Sara Quail had been to a hat and vessel workshop with Dawn Edwards (USA) at the Geelong Fibre Forum The vessel used a ‘cracked mud’ resist technique and intense fulling. She modelled 3 of the 5 hats made, one of which featured beaded silk.  She also showed how the recycled aluminium from drink cans can be annealed, stitched and embossed, sometimes incorporating felt.20161015_142324 20161015_142234 20161015_142300

Nancy Ballesteros is experimenting with techniques to create striped fabric. Her design concept is influenced by Fibonacci principles. Her samples utilize silk mesh with a little hand stitching to complete the look.  As the layout of wool fibre is only in one direction it is even more important to be aware of directional shrinkage. Other wool only samples illustrated a very subtle plaid look achieved by laying stripes of fibre on one layer, and then in the opposite direction for the 2nd layer.  Watch this space for more stripes in coming months …….img_1277


Review – Nancy’s Shifting Shapes workshop

REVIEW of Nancy Ballesteros’s SHIFTING SHAPES Workshop by Sue Eslick – Twelve keen participants gathered for a three day workshop on felting with silk hankies to create fabulous new fabrics.  People attended from all over WA, and one person came from Queensland!  It was good to meet with some new Feltwest members who had joined up specifically in order to attend and we hope to see more of them in the future.

This 3 day workshop  was full on and not for the fainthearted!   Nancy expertly guided participants through the detailed and complex process of making beautiful felted silk garments and wraps.


Nancy brought along a wide variety of sample garments for people to try-on and find the shape and colour palette that best suited them.  Everyone appreciated the availability of extra wool, fabric and other materials from Treetops, which allowed people to change their plans on the day.

Patterns were traced and adjusted to the individual. day-3-fiona-layout


Everyone had a different approach to design. Whilst many people had a firm idea that they worked too, others laid out silk hankies in a random riot of colour. Nancy advised on how colours interact in the felting process and coached participants through the decisions on design, colour and layout of the silk hankies and wool.  A few people decided to practice using silk hankies by making a wrap or length of fabric rather than a


Nancy explained that in order to make a finished garment that fitted, everyone needed to use the recommended wool in the stated quantities.  Too much wool and it might end up too big, too little wool and it might be too small. Everyone heeded Nancy’s advice and weighed their wool, making sure to use the same amount on the front and back.  There were also loads of helpful tips and advice on nuno felting and handling large projects with relative ease.


People were very pleased to hear that they could take their pieces home to felt in the dryer instead of rolling them.  On Sunday morning it was magic to see how the pieces had transformed after their time in the dryer the previous evening. day-2-vivday-3-viv-jea






Participants were shown how to fit the garment to their body shape, and how to full the felt to make quality fabric that fitted in all the right










On Sunday afternoon, Nancy spent some time teaching different options for closures, fasteners and hemming the garments to create a neat and professional finish. day-3-stitching-lesson





At the end of the three days, everyone went away very happy with a spectacular piece of felted fabric, and if they hadn’t already finished, they left with the skills and knowledge to finish the rest of the garment at home.  Nancy was very generous with her sharing and help making it a fun and productive workshop.  She also offered to provide further help to people if they drop in at Treetops.  Thank you Nancy for a wonderful workshop.    day-3-kathy day-3-jill


September Toss and Tell by Marion Finneran

SEPT. TOSS N TELL/AGM 2016 by Marion Finneran – After the AGM, we gathered round to watch the video which Soosie has made of the exhibition. Thanks Soosie, it looks wonderful.  Congratulations to Katrina for winning the raffle prize. She has never won one before so she was thrilled!

Toss and Tell this month showed some beautiful felting made by our members

Christine showed us her beautiful wrap of wool and silk that she made using shades of reds and cerise that combined interesting patterns and textures.

Sue Eslick  told us about her vessels using a variety of  fibres from Merino to Bergschaf. She also explained her method of first making  a bag which was dyed afterwards.

Kerry attended a fun and functional vessel workshop with Pauline Franklyn where she made  a “vessel” that she converted into a handbag.

When she attended Martien van Zuilen’s mandala workshop she made a beautiful floormat/wallrug in shades of green. She described the many layers, much rolling and stitching, cords, tones and texture, making it a very unique item.

Soosie showed her scarf that she made for the exhibition “Myths and Legends” on the theme of the Mexican festival: Day of the Dead. She also displayed a very innovative fishy fantasy hat made years ago that transforms into a mask by folding down the front.




Helen, a new member, attended the beginners workshop today run by Alison Gomes and Sue Eslick. She showed us the samples she had enjoyed making.



Liz also attended Martien van Zuilen’s mandala workshop where she made her floormat/wallrug with a shield design in her mandala, evocative of the shields used by many African tribes.

Vera showed us her delightful fairy houses that can be used as night lights

Alison displayed her scarves with their beautiful colour combinations, stitching and original designs.

Katrina is presently working on a fetish piece and enquired whether anyone had animal/horse hair or human hair to contribute to her project.

Review of Heartfelt Mandala workshop

The Heart Felt Mandala – with Martien van Zuilen, July 2016

Feltwest members were fortunate to learn the involved process of creating a felt mandala rug or wall hanging from Martien van Zuilen, a national and international felt making tutor, but also a member of Feltwest. There was an evening introductory presentation, followed by three full days of felting.
ShanaDavies  Mandala 9Mandala 7
‘Mandala’ is a word from the Sanskrit language meaning circle, with a symbolism reflected in many different cultures of the world.

Martien explained how mandala designs could be inspired by completely unrelated things… a wine label, postcard or even an ornate plaster ceiling!

She talked about her experiences in Mongolia and the importance of the community working together on felt making for their yurts, as for every aspect of their lives, in order to survive the harsh conditions. Functional possessions are made beautiful with decoration as there is not the luxury to own additional items that are purely decorative, as there is in our settled culture. The decorations often include imperfect, repaired or misaligned features, which add to the beauty.Mandala 8Mandala 2

Martien brought along a variety of well-catalogued samples (both raw fibre, and its corresponding felted sample). This gave us an insight into the different animal fibres available to felt with, including Polwarth, Corriedale, Cashmere, Camel and Merino, to name some. It was very useful to see how different fibres yielded different textures of felt.

The desirability of creating a calm, uncluttered work space for making the mandala was emphasised. Organise a colour pallet of only the wool tops, pre-felts, threads etc to be used for the project and remove other competing materials that will deflect the eye and the creative mind.

As prefelts played a big role in the creation of these mandalas, Martien spoke of the advantage we have as felters, in being able to create our own ‘fabric’ – prefelt – something not common among textile arts. It would therefore be a good idea to customise our handmade prefelts, both in colour and by adding decorative bits of our choice.

It was empowering to learn how to correct ‘mistakes’ or to change parts of the design that we didn’t like anymore, even after they had been partly felted in. Martien spoke of felt-making as a forgiving process, if built up gradually, and not rushed through.

There are many approaches to decorating the mandala. Wool top colours can be mixed to create particular effects in the pre-felts. Fluffy yarns can be stitched on, extra wool or felted cord can be added to raise the surface. Stitching with threads applied in the pre-felt stage should be far apart to allow for shrinkage.     There were plenty of very useful tips that Martien shared throughLizOddout the workshop, on everyRenDeverything from laying oJuliaAndrijasevichut wool tops, to geSaraQuailtting an even edge around the mandala, at the end.

Participants applied themselves to the process of laying out wool, stitching, rolling and completing the all-important finishing and edging. The result was 9 individually stunning mandalas.

All in all, it was a fantastic learning experience for our mandala-makers. Not to mention a very satisfying workshop, as everyone went home with a beautiful, unique mandala they were happy with.

MACRO|micro Exhibition: 20th August – 10 September

Feltwest feltmakers explore the MACRO and micro worlds through innovative technology, pushing their ancient craft into new realms of shape, pattern and texture in felt in a new exhibition at gallery Central. Perth. Feltwest members are constantly seeking new ways to create in felt, endeavouring to push boundaries and develop new approaches.  Inspiration has always […]

To access this you must purchase Feltwest Membership or Membership Renewal.

Review of 3D workshop – using complex resists taught by Soosie Jobson written by Chris Gray


REVIEW of Soosie Jobson’s 3D WORKSHOP by Chris Gray.

What a fantastic workshop it was.  Soosie started the workshop with the showing of her wonderful and interesting 3D objects….Cactus, Fish, other creatures…


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese made us eager to know all about how to construct our projects that we had mentally prepared. We were so keen to get started.

Soosie showed us the different techniques and templates to be used, giving different shapes and sizes. Sounded daunting, but after a few questions here and there, it came we got it!

Soosie explained clearly and effectively the method we need to use for our projects. I straight away had light bulb moments.

As usual Soosie was very generous with sharing her knowledge and time with all of us, she made herself available at all times, through the weekend of the Retreat.

Many projects were worked on by those who attended the workshop.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI have to say, the sky is the limit in what can be created.

I was very impressed how effective and easy it is to use the techniques to make 3D objects. I am sure that everyone feels the same way.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASoosie has given me the taste to be creative again. I started my projects for the Exhibition and I do not want to stop, thanks to Soosie.

Thank you Soosie for a great insight in the 3D workshop.


Where did it all begin? The Origins of Feltwest By Judith Shaw

ORIGINS OF FELTWEST by Judith Shaw. Our story belongs with the contemporary practice of hand felting in New Zealand and Australia before formal Feltmaking associations were formed.

By the time feltmaking took hold in Australia, Mary Burkett in England and Beth Bede in the USA were researching traditional feltmaking around the world ,experimenting with complex techniques and encouraging others to share the excitement. Beverly Gordon’s book, Traditions, Techniques, and Contemporary Explorations FELTMAKING, 1980 N.Y gives comprehensive information about the craft and the feltmakers in the USA at that time. Although materials and equipment have made the work easier it might surprise new feltmakers to discover the level of expertise achieved before 1980.

In a letter to the Felt West editor in 1996 Marion Valentine in New Zealand refers to the increasing interest and expansion of feltmaking since 1990. Val Gilmour of Bunbury, now an Hon.Life Member of Felt West, travelled back and forward to New Zealand and saw what was happening there, influencing the creation of the first WA felting group in Bunbury. Earlier still, Peggy Buckingham co-ordinated TAFTA’s only WA Convention at Muresk Agricultural College near Northam in 1978.

Two feltmaking enthusiasts from Queensland’s Toowoomba Spinners and Weavers calling themselves the “ Gundawindi Greys”, demonstrated hand feltmaking taught to them by “a migrant lady”. Their technique was passed on by participant Ellie Eaton (Royal Agricultural Society & Melanian Society) and others, when they met with woolcraft practitioners. Ellie recalls that the felt was very thick, which was usual in countries with colder winter climates. All of this occurred in the midst of the hand spinning craze which resulted in an increased use of natural fleece and increased understanding of the properties of different types of wool for knitting and weaving.

So, felt making began as demonstrations showed the way for a further and exciting use of wool already on hand. At this time wool crafters washed and carded raw fleece. Demonstrations often included advice on washing wool. Some country people had their own sheep, others bought from emerging seller breeders or from Elder Smith’s wool stores where fleeces for hand spinners were put to one side and sold by a helpful character in the back of the shed! Wool was also imported from NZ.

West Australians who went to NZ for the National Woolcrafts Festival, Manawatu, in 1990 saw prepared, dyed wool on sale for the first time. New Zealand had many wool processing outlets and feltmakers there could choose the type of wool batt they wanted for specific felt works or purchase sheets of machine made natural wool felt. Wool batts were even available in broadloom widths which allowed for commercially viable production of felt coats etc. In a demonstration, well made felt sufficient for a large car coat was made from a large wool batt in around 20 minutes using a cane blind, soapy water and woman power.

During the Woolcrafts Festival a group of leading N.Z feltmakers posted a notice inviting anyone interested in becoming part of a Southern Hemisphere Feltmakers register to come to a meeting. Elaine Hutchinson and Judith Shaw attended that meeting of a group which went on to host two NZ Conventions followed by the Third Convention and first in Australia organised by Val Gilmour and Bunbury Feltmakers, at the Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School in 1994. It drew an incredible group of talented feltmakers nation wide plus representatives from NZ. Registrations from other States included Polly Stirling, Molly Littlejohn, Clare Carolan, Jan Clements, Christine Sloan, Jenni Farrel, Liz.Evans and others who went home to form felting associations and undertake teaching. Bunbury inspired the formation of groups in Canberra and Victoria and the recognition of felting by existing woolcraft organizations in other States.

Undaunted by the huge joint effort required for that first Australia wide Convention, Bunbury hosted a second live-in retreat for WA feltmakers which offered a programme of demonstrations and exhibition of work by all participants. All shared their experience on an honorary basis.

The first Felt West newsletter was issued to approx. 50 members in July 1996 after the three day retreat in Bunbury at which participants agreed to work towards a formally constituted felters’ network. It was agreed that this should now be based in the Perth Metro.area with Judith Shaw as co-ordinator. The first newsletter was paid for with funds carried over from the Bunbury retreat. Our stated aims were

i) to send out two or more Newsletters annually
ii) Plan a felters’retreat once or twice a year at a suitable live-in venue
The Bunbury Feltmakers with Val Gilmour at the helm and Hon.Treasurer Gloria Truman had done a marvellous job of providing for felters’ interests over the last few years and thanks from all concerned were gratefully recorded.
The first Newsletter invited all members to attend felting days at Craft House on Friday 15th November and Saturday 16th 1996 to give them an opportunity to meet and share. Arrangements were made to billet out of town members. Thus began Felting days & teaching sessions in Craft House, Menora. Seven current members have been part of Felt West from that beginning.

The early newsletters contain felting hints and ideas which remain relevant. Copies could be available at Craft House for reference on Felting days. When Felt West was formed (later to be incorporated) we had already began to take advantage of tutors with world wide experience. Lene Neilsen from Denmark was the first international tutor. Most of us had learned from each other and from demonstrations at Felt happenings. Lene went on to produce FELT FILT, available in English as well as Danish, setting high standards for hand felting and undoubtedly influencing many subsequent tutors.

E & O.E ( errors and omissions excepted!), many names deserve inclusion. In WA however, we cannot but remember the influence of Susan Seaman, Holly Nutley, Jenny House, Eileen Cresswell, Teresa Lawrence, Val Gilmour and others who set high standards and were inspirational by example and thus contributed individually and collectively to encourage feltmaking in WA.

Review of Heather Davis’s dyepot workshop by Judi Barkla

REVIEW Heather Davis’s DYEPOT WORKSHOP by Judi Barkla: The day started with an enthusiastic group of women arriving, loaded up with a variety of different fabrics, keen to learn all they could and enjoy a day of communal learning.

The pots were set up and coming to the boil when another group turned up to claim the back verandah area for a children’s event and we were required to move all gas bottles, burners and pots into the internal courtyard area. Ever the optimist, Heather did so with her usual good grace and the day moved along.

File 17-06-2016 9 51 40 pm   File 17-06-2016 9 52 37 pm

With excellent preparation, samples and comprehensive notes for everyone, Heather shared a variety of design, resist and dying possibilities for all to try, including overdying after retying some pieces. A mixture of strong colours brightened the blustery drizzly day and resulted in a range of different fabrics being transformed into colourful pieces …

Heather’s extensive knowledge and experience enabled her to clearly explain each method, show samples of her work for each technique presented and answer questions as quickly as they were fired at her.

File 17-06-2016 10 14 47 pm  File 17-06-2016 9 53 13 pm

Heather’s dying skills are matched by her baking skills and we were treated to delicious morning tea treats

Participants left at the end of the day with bundles of damp treasures, some yet to be untied, with comments like …


“I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to explore dying using a wide range of techniques to transform various items after being given expert advice and help from Heather.”

“Great day thanks Heather, I was excited to see colours emerge and learn how the different techniques allowed dye to be taken up or not.”

“Thank you Heather you demonstrated the endless design possibilities. It was fun to experiment with the help and expertise of yourself and the other participants.”

“It was a very good introduction to dyepots, I have learned a lot and will go away a lot wiser than when I started. Thanks Heather.”

An enjoyable day thank you Heather.


File 17-06-2016 9 53 33 pm