felt landscapes, Needle Felting Fountains Abbey

Felt landscapes – The Process


My process for creating felt landscapes begins with a camera. I take lots of photographs of landscapes and skies as I see them on my travels. It could be a quick snap with my mobile or several with my camera.

A mood board for felt landscapes

When I have an idea for my next wet felted landscape I print out all the photos I wish to use and create a mood board (by simply pinning my photographs to a pin board).

Testing the composition in other mediums

I then create a charcoal and chalk drawing of the landscape. I love drawing with charcoal and concentrate on the composition without worrying about the colour at this point. I may make several charcoal versions until I am happy with the composition.

When I am happy with the charcoal landscape I create an oil pastel painting of the same landscape in colour. I do love colour and like to use lots of it. I also love my oil pastels and use them a bit like paint, I can push the pigment around with my fingers during the creation process to create a ‘painterly’ feel to the piece.

Finally I move onto creating the wet felted landscape out of wool, using the oil pastel painting closely for reference.

Creating the Felt landscapes

Wet felting – laying out the wool.

I lay out the loose fibres of coloured wool on pre-felt and create the landscape on top, using pre-bought colours of wool. I buy lots of colours of wool to give me a palette similar to a painters. I also mix my own colours using carders (you can see them in the video’s below). I also add in other fibre too like silks, flax/linen etc (known as ‘tops”) and pieces of material too.

At the end

At the end I cover the whole artwork with netting and cover in warm soapy water – you create felted wool by using fibres of wool, warm soapy water and friction. I then rub the wool paintings surface with the netting over the top. Once it starts felting together I roll it in a bamboo matt for quite a long time (a 30x30cm piece will take approx 45 minutes). Rolling it in a bamboo matt creates the friction to bind the wool fibres together – it also shrinks the artwork as it felts down (fulling). My wet felt landscapes usually shrink down by approx 15-20% from their starting size. At the end you have a piece of material – felt.

needle felting

Once dry I needle felt extra details into the wet felted landscape. I love wet felting and find the whole process so magical – BUT it is very difficult to get any details in at the wet felting stage. So needle felting is a fantastic way to add all the smaller details. Needle felting is not sewing. Needle felting uses a special barbed needle and you stab small pieces of wool fibres into the wet felted landscape. It is easy to do and also very therapeutic (as long as you miss your fingers!).

sewing into the wet felt landscapes

Finally I decide if the wet felted landscape needs sewing into, to add more details and textures. This is done with a combination of machine and/or,these days mostly, hand sewing with embroidery thread. Each piece is unique and the process is such that no two pieces are ever the same.

The finished felt landscapes are then stitched onto a piece of mount board ready for framing by my professional framer.

You can view examples of my process on You Tube:-

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I currently have wet felting workshops available in Aberford Village Hall (on a Friday) and Boston Spa Village Hall (on a Sunday) in Yorkshire click here for more information on my workshops.

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