Posts Tagged With: small group tours

“Felted landscapes” workshops: How Fleece becomes Art


“Tree of Life” by Joan      Molloy Slack

Several years ago, while in Ireland, I first learned to create felt from the local fleece. We used the wet felting method and created a variety of samplers. Top-9Many people ask about the art of feltmaking, and I want to share some details of our workshops, as well as ideas about how the fiber work is created.

People have created felted objects for thousands of years, Top-14much of it functional, making everything from homes to capes to boots. National Geographic did a fabulous story about the history of wool and humans, tracing the ways people around the world have learned to use it for so many things. The fleece from various Top-10animals, not only sheep, was created into magnificent rugs and tapestries, and many cultures have perfected the techniques to suit their needs and climate.

After years of teachiTop-12ng workshops using wet felting, often combined with needle felting, I began to explore using this way of working in my own art, and find that I am continually excited about the possibilities. I have taught workshops with all ages, and have received grants to work with school programs. It is always fascinating how quickly people can learn the technique and how to use the tools, and what successful art is created!




Depending on the workshop length, I offer a variety of options. We often create samplers using blending

J. Campbell Felt class 004J. Campbell Felt class 035-001 techniques and specialized ways to create shadow and depth.  As we work, frequent discussions are held as the pieces progress, adjustments made, and the image takes shape.




I have often held workshops where we collaborate on a finished piece. 113_13511113_1369A favorite project was one where I developed a curriculum o113_1360n phenology, and taught students K-12 about the changes that occur throughout the year, such as the Equinoxes and Solstices. We created several panels that had to do with the 4 seasons, Celtic symbols, the Greenman mythology, and universal symbols.

I enjoy teaching workshops where there is time to go into more depth and explore ideas more fully than can be done in short classes. So much can be done with felt making! We can use the wool fleece as a “painting” medium,  and can design a multitude of effects, from strong colors to blends.

Cloon Lough (9)For example, while walking in the landscape during a felt making workshop, I might take photos such as these, then , based upon the inspiration  create a felted piece.









Culloo Rocks and St Brendans well (11)


"Standing Stones" by               Joan Slack

“Standing Stones” by Joan Slack










Below are some images from workshops and the work that students produced.

Preparing to "wet" felt

Preparing to “wet” felt



DSC_0829J. Campbell Felt class 029





J. Campbell Felt class 055





















J. Campbell Felt class 045













Below, a student is working on a collaborative project at my John Campbell Folk School workshop on “Pictorial Felt”

J. Campbell Felt class 092

J. Campbell Felt class 027

Categories: Fiber art tours | Tags: , , , , ,

Landscape, culture, art and fibers in the southwest

IMG_0212Desert, mountains, waterfalls, ancient petrolgyphs and villages long IMG_0149
abandoned..and thriving native communities, opening up their pueblos and art to us….these are the elements woven into the tapestry of our
tours to the southwest! After many visits to the Santa Fe and Taos regions, I find this one of the most exciting places to offer travel workshops. The landscape is stunning, the light
unlike anywhere else, and the shapes and colors in the landscape resonate long after seeing them. After taking day trips to explore the area, meet with artists and visit galleries, we delve deeply into creating fiber art with our memories, photos, and sketches. Felt making is so “user friendly” that people with all levels of experience can achieve outstanding results. DSC_0825DSC_0453

IMG_0254With my ceramics and archaeology background I have been a student of rock art around the world, as well as pottery from many cultures. The abundance of both media in Santa Fe and the surrounding areas is truly amazing, and there is no experience quite like gazing at images pecked into rock, or drawn with oxides, and pondering the messages. One can feel the bond between humans, and our need to express ourselves through art. The pottery motifs date back thousands of years, and the rich contemporary traditions make a journey through the regions’ examples so enriching.

Santa fe 2013 174


Some of the patterns represent natural sites, weather, or animals, while other motifs are  sophisticated use of pattern and repetition. On our workshop tours, we bring this imagery back to our hands-on workshop, and hope the art of the ancients will inspire in us new ways to create in fiber.

Santa fe 2013 146A visit to Santa Fe would be incomplete without seeing the contemporary art scene, and plenty of time and opportunity will allow strolls through the Canyon Road and Plaza gallery districts, absorbing the interpretations artists are making of life, landscape and culture.

We hope you can join us on an outstanding tour and workshop in April 2016!

Categories: Fiber art tours, Santa Fe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Glencolmcille Folk Village

This is the fisherman’s cottage in the Folk Village in Glencolmcille. On our trips, delving into how people lived in the past is a highlight- from prehistoric dwellings to a home such as this, connecting to the human family is so interesting! On our fiber art tour to Ireland in June 2016, we will be staying right across from the Folk Village in beautiful Glencolmcille. At times one can almost feel as if time has stopped and we have returned to a simpler existence. There are so many stories that come a100_0062live at the Folk Village! On the fiber art tour we will also be creating tapestries inspired by the landscape. Margaret Cunningham, who is the manager of the Folk Village, is also an accomplished weaver,and will be instructing our workshop.
Glen Folk Village's photo.
Glen Folk Village's photo.
Glen Folk Village's photo.Glen Folk Village's photo.
Categories: Ireland | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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