Finding personal space in felt making with Jeanette Appleton

Art textiles

Ref: S4D11262

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1 place available

About this course

Felt has been used for the protection of personal space through shelters and clothing since the fifth century BC. Consider socially distanced spaces to explore texture in shadows and colour in shapes, and develop personal approaches to the felt structure in your artwork.

Course Description

The poet Patrick Kavanagh says it's "a lifetime's experience” just to get to know one field or pathway well. “It is depth that counts, not width."

To heighten one’s awareness of slight daily changes of shadow, shape and surfaces. Repeated observation reveals unexpected new subtleties which will suggest new methods of constructing felt. To inform current work or a new project, adapting ideas to a personal theme and concept.

Initially you will explore the spaces and routes within West Dean and surrounding gardens. Exploring elements of repetition and limited spaces as we consider the protection of the body. Historical felt examples of coverings for tombs or tents and the floor or body will be available. [From tutor’s research in Mongolia, Russia and Georgia].

This will be a time to focus on texture in shadows and colour in shapes. Tracing marks surrounding one’s personal space on and in between objects and surfaces. There will be exercises with paper and art materials both 2 and 3 dimensionally which will inspire an approach for finding new methods in the felt construction.

You will be selecting various felt techniques to create shapes and surfaces with contrasts of tone and colour. Adding various threads or fabric to change textures through the process to develop depth of mark and texture. Collaging pre felts and enriching the finished felt surface further by stitch or cutting.

Everyone will have the opportunity to consider new work (to complete or document ideas) and continue with current work, with a new approach and awareness of its content. To use shapes either constructed for an object or the body, or within compositions for wall works and installations.

You work individually and as a group, with demonstrations, individual tutorials, group discussion and review, and an illustrated presentation by the tutor.

First evening: Exercises using shapes and spaces.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials

What students need to bring

  • Please bring any of the following which you already have but DO NOT BUY ANYTHING SPECIFICALLY as the following will also be available to borrow or purchase. Bring more of anything specific that you want to develop further.
  • * the tutor will have these items to purchase- [depending on the scale you wish to work – up to £10]
  • # these items may be borrowed from tutor
  • MERINO WOOL TOPS: various colours (minimum: 200 gms)*
  • A bar of Olive oil soap (preferably ‘Olvia’ from Health stores)#
  • BUBBLE WRAP (small bubble only). Minimum approx. 50 x 100 cm for sampling or to the size you wish to work (to lay the fleece on)#
  • TUBE used by plumbers for lagging pipes (to keep large felt firm when rolling or use Bubble wrap for
  • small pieces)#
  • NYLON OPEN WEAVE FABRIC, e.g. plain nylon net curtain. Min. 30x 30 cm
  • (to lay over the fleece when applying water)#
  • Small OLD TOWEL (for drying hands)
  • SPONGE/CLOTH (for water spillage)
  • Small CONTAINER (large enough for the hand to lift out water)#
  • Small selection of coloured natural and synthetic OPEN WEAVE FABRIC to cut up*
  • Small selection of coloured THREADS/YARNS*
  • SEWING KIT (including a large eye needle and headed pins)#
  • Sensitive skin? Your hands may need a barrier cream # or surgical gloves
  • Masking tape#
  • Paper scissors#

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Open weave white or black silk fabric and off white muslin
  • Sewing materials – including headed pins and large eyed needles
  • A small selection of embroidery threads
  • A3 folder/book with plastic sleeves
  • Art materials and paper
Bring one example or a photograph of your textile/art work and a few images that inspire you. (This will be used to make connections with your individual working process – and is not an image to copy.)


Jeanette Appleton

What will students gain if they come on one of your courses? We will explore the potential of design ideas at each stage of the felt making process, enjoy the surprises and discoveries in the transformation of materials, and consolidate individual methods and direction for fashion, interiors, installations or art works.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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