international feltmakers association


AGM 2017

6th - 9th April 2017 (Thursday - Sunday)

IFA members should go to the membership page to see information about the AGM to be held at Belsey Bridge Conference Centre, Suffolk in 2017 (you might need to login).

Burkett and Beyond Project

The University of St Andrews has been awarded an Arts and Humanities Research Council grant for a PhD project based on Mary Burkett’s original research and her felt collection at the Horniman Museum. The grant is for a student to study the contemporary state of felt-making in in the regions where Mary did all her groundbreaking work in the 1960s and 70s.


1000th New Member

Congratulations, and welcome, to Karen Wyeth who join the IFA on 9 March and is in Region 9.

I only stumbled across the IFA a few weeks ago and was delighted to find an organisation and group of people that spoke my felting language! I am a relative latecomer to felting, having trained as an oil painter in the 1980s, and was amazed when I found out that I could use felt to create pictures in the same way that I used to use brush strokes. I very much look forward to being inspired and being able to develop this medium through the IFA.

One Thousand Members!

As we are really close to recruiting our 1000th new member we have decided to celebrate by refunding the lucky person with their membership fee and sending them a copy each of the last two Felt Matters.

When it happens an announcement will be made on the website and the Facebook group.

AGM & Conference 2016

Booking opens

(Members Only)

Members may now book places online. Please visit the membership page and  follow the links.

Mary Burkett Sale

Sale of Mary Burkett's Estate at Mitchells

3rd & 4th September 2015 (Friday & Saturday)

Millefleur carpetFormerly of Isel Hall near Cockermouth, Mary Burkett OBE died suddenly in November 2014 aged 90. Mary was the first president of the IFA and one of the founding members and a world-leading authority on artistic feltmaking. She always played a very active part in the IFA both in UK and Internationally.

Mitchells of Cockermouth has been formally instructed in the sale of Mary Burkett's estate which will take place on Thursday 3rd and Friday 4th September 2015. The collection reflects a large part of Mary’s life, her patronage of many local artists as well as other artworks of international importance. The proceeds of the sale will be dealt with under the terms of Mary’s will, which includes a number of local charities as residuary beneficiaries (including the International Feltmakers Association).

Mary's support of artistic talent in the region included the artists Sheila Fell, Percy Kelly and Alfred Wainwright (whom she regarded as much artist as guidebook author). As director of Abbot Hall art gallery in Kendal for 20 years, she discovered and exhibited the Lake District work of renowned German artist Kurt Schwitters.

Mary supported many charitable causes during her lifetime, most notably Lakeland Arts Trust, Wordsworth Trust, The Romney Society, Armitt Museum, Rosehill Theatre, Senhouse Roman Museum, Cumbria Wildlife Trust and Cumbria Community Foundation where she established a Cultural Fund to support local artistic talent.

A fully illustrated catalogue, including images and close-ups of all lots to be sold, can be viewed online at from Friday 21st August. Alternatively lots can be viewed in person at the saleroom from Sunday 30th August between 11am -3pm, Mon 31st and Tuesday 1st September between 10am – 5pm, late night viewing from 10am – 7pm on Wednesday 2nd and throughout the sale. Those unable to attend the sale in person can leave confidential bids in advance by commission or alternatively bid live by telephone or on-line during the sale via

Mitchells Antiques & Fine Art Auctioneers & Valuers
The Saleroom
47 Station Road
CA13 9PZ

Tel:  01900 827800


Annemie Koenen writes:

I am happy to tell that STIDOC has pronounced the publicprice.
In last feltmatters was an article about the Festival once in the 5 years.
The Public choose my work Genesis – and there was land, on third place.

First International Chair elected.

First International Chair elected

At our 2015 AGM, Johanna Roesti was elected the International Feltmakers Association's first international Chair. Johanna, who has served as International Officer since 2012, was elected unanimously. She lives in Switzerland and organised the IFA's 2014 AGM and Conference in Ballenberg.

Three Medals for Excellence!

ArtyBird Carnforth announces...

Medal winners and director with certificates

For the third year running, we are recipients of the prestigious City & Guilds Medals for Excellence: this time three! They have been awarded to Chris Bowran for Creative Computing, to Helen Heard for Feltmaking and to Kate Horner, for her teaching; she is also the owner of the business.

There have been 91 Medals for Excellence awarded worldwide for 2014-2015, and only 7 education providers have won 3 or more awards, so this is an incredible achievement.

The staff and students are holding a celebration of their work at The Bateman Gallery in the Heritage Centre, Carnforth Train Station, LA5 9TR from 1st April 2015 to 27th June 2015. The exhibition is open daily from 10.00am to 4.00pm – admission is free and everyone is welcome. For more information, please visit and follow us on facebook.

Vivienne Morpeth

IFA member Vivienne has added some images to the gallery.

Mary Burkett

photograph of Mary BurkettIt is with great sadness we announce that Mary Burkett OBE, our President and founding member of the IFA, died on Wednesday 12th November 2014.

Mary had just celebrated her 90th birthday and we were delighted to have been able to celebrate her life and achievements in our last issue of Felt Matters. We are sure you will all want to remember her in your own way and those of you lucky enough to have met her will have special memories to cherish.

Creation in Fashion

Chic and high fashion - that was the name of this year's KreaTov event in June on the Swedish island Gotland, located in the Baltic Sea and home of the Gotland sheep. Twenty-eight feltmakers from Sweden, Palestine, Switzerland and Denmark participated in different workshops in how to make different fashion accessories. Teachers were Laila Lundström, Åsa Ganell, Annelie Richardsson and Gunilla Östbom from Gotland, Renata Kraus from Latvia and Ursula Suter from Switzerland.

KreaTov is held a every second year event and we are already looking forward to the next in 2016!

Carin Madsen Kollberg

Public / Products Liability Insurance

From the 1st June 2014 public and products liability insurance will be included in ALL UK memberships at no extra charge.

To access the insurance certificate, from the 1st June 2014 members simply need to login to the IFA website and you will find the insurance certificate there in the members only section down the left hand column. In order to take advantage of this benefit of membership it is your responsibility to keep your membership up-to-date. In the event of a claim it will be necessary for the IFA to confirm that membership was current at the time of the claim.

The scope of the liability insurance cover is broad-ranging, sufficient to cover not just felt, but all your textile work - making, exhibiting, selling, teaching and demonstrating.

For anyone who isn't yet a member of the IFA, please visit

If you have any questions, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Making Matters

This video beautifully captures the moment when felting becomes the catalyst for linking people together in a shared creative activity at the VAScotland Conference on 'Making Matters' in February at the Platform Arts Centre, Glasgow.

Award for Excellence

ArtyBird Carnforth goes from strength to strength

For the second year running ArtyBird Carnforth has been awarded a Medal for Excellence in Constructed Textiles - Felt Making, for one of its students by City & Guilds. This prestigious award is only given to one student in the UK a year, and this year the award went to Helen Riddle from Wakefield in West Yorkshire: all at ArtyBird are delighted for her.

ArtyBird Carnforth was set up 7 years ago, driving the Felt, Embroidery and Creative Computing courses is IFA member Kate Horner, who has been an integral part of ArtyBird Carnforth from the beginning. Over the years it has continued to grow, not only catering for students who attend classes from all over the UK, but also for a growing population of online students, who can be as local as York and as far afield as Shanghai!

It has been so successful that it has now outgrown its humble bedroom beginnings and has moved into office, workshop and retail space in Carnforth. You can visit them at 45 New Street, Carnforth, LA5 9BX or online at


From 28th February to 2nd March, the village Kil in the middle of Sweden turned into a big Fårfest, ”Sheep party”.

Around 8000 visitors and 110 exhibitors from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Latvia, Germany and UK meet, discussed, saw, showed and got amazed about how much you can do with what the sheep can give; felting, spinning, knitting, embroidery, skin product, fur and cheese and meat products. The three day program also included workshops and lectures. The visitors came from all parts of Sweden and also from Norway having the border not so far away.

The planning for next year’s Fårfest has already started and will take place 27th February to 1st March 2015.

Carin Madsen Kollberg

Facebook for Feltmakers

The IFA has a lively Facebook community and member Heather Potten has created a guide in three parts to help you get the best from Facebook and the IFA pages

  1. Getting Started
  2. A Balanced Approach
  3. Getting Involved

Thanks Heather!

Renewing Membership

Following the move to the new server we are pleased to announce that members can now renew their memberships online.


Report: Felting a Fleece Rug

Felting a Fleece Rug with Ann Ross

19th April 2012

The workshop was held in a marquee set up in a barn, electric lights were hung from the roof of the marquee like fairy lights, a red carpet on the floor with ten tables set up for the participants. The space was cosy and intimate and we were ready for anything – some brought wellies and others came equipped with waterproofs! Outside the rain fell and each time the barn door was opened the sound of thunder reverberated through.

Ann had brought samples of her own work, fleece rugs made from Cotswold and Shetland fleeces and samples of Herdwick made into bags. Fleeces of Shetland , Jacob, Hebridean, Manx Loughton and Black Welsh Mountain were assessed in their raw state prior to felting. A compact fleece is best with loose edges trimmed and felted with 2 to 3 layers of Shetland roving. We wetted each layer with soapy water and then again prior to rubbing and rolling. The wellies and waterproofs were not necessary with the strategically placed buckets and some team work in catching the odd waterfall!

The resulting rugs were varied from the short haired fleece of the Hebridean to the longer shaggy Welsh Mountain, from deep browns to creams of the Shetland and mixed colours of the Manx. Each fleece was different and after rinsing and drying so soft and rich to feel. The workshop was enjoyable and the effort in making the workroom functional and comfortable to work in was brilliant. It was great to see the various fleeces, to learn how to work with the raw fleece and to feel a little more confident in looking at fleeces with the view to using the raw wool. I would recommend this workshop to everyone interested in wool.

Angela McEwan

This workshop was organised by IFA Region 9

Report: Pleated Scarves

Pleated Scarves with Liz Clay

4th March 2012

The day started with look at various examples hand pleating and a discussion on how to use the effect in one's own designs, followed by a demonstration and some sampling before tackling the project.

Laying out started with a long thin strand of Merino fibre, then layering at right angles, bearing in mind how colours would work together, shrinkage and how much would be taken up in pleating. Fabrics could be trapped or laid on top to create a frill effect along with other embellishment and design.

The piece was then taken to the pre-felt stage and dried. Running stitch was sewn along the length in rows or in waves and the stitching pulled up. The piece was then carefully felted.

Before removing threads the piece must be completely dry which meant final finishing had to be done at home. It was an inspiring day, full of fresh ideas.

Jane Ensor
This workshop was organised by IFA Region 9