Felt a Reindeer for Christmas

Join textile artist Sue Pearl and learn the traditional skills of Needle felting, also known as dry felting. You can also join Sue for "Felt A Pig' workshop on 1st November.

The craft of felt has an ancient history and was used to make everything from protection for Roman soldiers to nomadic yurts, hats in the Middle Ages, clothing in cold climates, winter boots for the police in Moscow — and was recently part of the exhibition at the British Museum on the Scythians, warriors of ancient Siberia. Felt has also been used domestically using sheep's wool for the felt to make cushions for farmhouse kitchen chairs, rugs, hats to keep out the cold and many other uses. Felt girdles were worn by the farming folk under their clothes to ward off rheumatism and arthritis, as the lanolin in the sheep's wool protects in cold wet weather.

This workshop takes place in the unique setting of Cogges Manor Farm in Witney in the Makers Room, upstairs in the Manor House (not suitable for wheelchair access). Bursaries are available to help pay for the course for people on a low income. Email learning@cogges.org.uk.

About Sue - your tutor for the day

Sue Pearl has been making felt since 1997 and uses Merino wool and British wool for teaching. Sue lives in Oxfordshire and has previously exhibited her work at Cogges with the Oxfordshire Craft Guild.

"Making felt is a simple but satisfying craft and highly addictive. I always liken felting to painting with wool and the artworks that have been produced using this method are quite stunning. I use Merino wool for teaching most of the projects but we do wander into other breeds especially British wool. The Cotswold sheep have wonderful fleeces and, although maybe not perfect for using for wearables, it does make lovely rugs. Felt making is a real home-spun type of craft using a minimum of equipment but it's very rewarding.

I 'discovered’ felt during a week long course at the V&A in London on ethnic textiles, where we had to make our own versions of some of the textile pieces at the museum in felt. This was something I had never done before but I felt the light bulb come on in my head while I was making my first piece. My second piece was based on a section of the doorway surround on a Mongolian Yurt - this was bought by the Oxfordshire Museum a few years later for their contemporary craft collection and was on display in the Woodstock Museum for some time.  I was a tutor for Oxford Adult Learning for quite a few years, then a tutor at Denman College and also at Ardington School of Crafts. During the pandemic I have also taught online for Denman, Ardington and Handmade in Britain.