"Education is a critical part of the IFA and is fundamental to its ethos and principles. It has far-reaching implications for the Association’s well-being, development and growth for the future." Androulla Jeffries
Androulla Jefferies | Education Officer
I cannot remember a time without textiles playing a prominent part in my life. I was surrounded by a family all enthusiastic and caring about material and the crafts associated with it. Whether they worked with the fashion designers of the time or ran their own companies, they all had this link which bound them together. They shared what they knew and encouraged the younger members of the family to learn more. None of them, though, had discovered the wonder of Feltmaking until I, quite by accident, enrolled onto a course led by Sheila Smith who inspired me to pursue this art and investigate further….
On invitation I took up the Post as Education Officer in May 2018. My working background in Education soon made me realise that to ‘ignite’ IFA Education and move it forward, help in the guise of a collaborative team, was needed. Hence, the proactive and conscientious Education Team we are now fortunate to have.
Louise Curnin | Discovering Feltmaking Coordinator
I have always enjoyed textiles and made most of my own clothes in my teens. After a long career in the steel industry working with cold, hard steel and often being the only female in the works, I decided to revisit textiles but I was hungry for learning something new so I treated myself and my mum to a feltmaking workshop being held locally with Sheila Smith. Within the first few minutes I was hooked. I booked another and another, and found myself absorbed by the craft and the friendly community that went with it. I went on to do a City and Guilds Course in Feltmaking and am now starting a degree! That first course was over 10 years ago and I am happy to say both making and teaching feltmaking, are now my business, my hobby and my social life. I now teach at the same venue where I originally learned my feltmaking skills from Sheila.
With its range of use and diversity, feltmaking continues to thrill and I cannot see it diminishing anytime soon! I joined the IFA probably about eight years ago and am now a part of this exciting journey the Education committee is on.
My background in teaching has helped me throughout my life. I taught computer skills for 8 years and, more recently, have transferred my skills to teaching feltmaking. I believe in collaborative teaching with an emphasis on group and pair work, and the value of students teaching each other. This method has helped reinforce learning in groups of feltmakers, too.
In my current role as Communications Officer, I have been able to work with others in the IFA, including the Education Team, in order to create an informative and attractive website for the Association. I believe that education is at the heart of what we do and am delighted to be part of the team that promotes an appreciation of felt along with best practice and innovation.