Androulla Jefferies

I took up the Post as Education Officer in May 2018 and soon realised I needed help. My previous working experience in Education as a headteacher only confirmed what I already knew…to move forward quickly, a collaborative team was needed. Hence the
Education Team. We now have a regular Educational News page in our quarterly journal, Felt Matters. We have implemented a revised CiFT Syllabus with assessment criteria, and created a new online course – Discovering Feltmaking (Part 1) to name but a few of the things the Team has achieved. But what’s next? Well, there’s…

  • Part 2 of Discovering Feltmaking, to be launched next Spring 2021…with
  • Part 3 to follow
  • There are plans for CiFT too… and
  • A key focus on Schools, Colleges, Community and Social Groups.

I leave you with this thought: Education is a critical part of the IFA and is fundamental to its ethos and principles. It has far reaching implications to the Association’s well-being, development and growth for the future.

Sheila Smith President of the International Feltmakers Association

Sheila Smith

Throughout my working life I taught textiles to different age groups in schools and colleges. Feltmaking has been a passion of mine since I discovered it over thirty years ago. In my early days of making felt I was lucky enough to meet Lene Nielsen from Denmark who taught me to understand the process of making felt and what actually happens when a pile of wool fibre is sprinkled with soapy water. I began to realise that this understanding enables the feltmaker to deal with different types and qualities of wool to make good felt for whatever purpose they choose.
Some years ago I was involved with writing the syllabus for CiFT and joined the Education Team when it was formed to focus on education within the IFA. I have been closely involved with the development of the online course Discovering Feltmaking Part 1 and also Part 2 which will be launched shortly.
Nicki Parson CiFT Coordinator for the International Feltmakers Association

Nicki Parsons | CiFT Coordinator

I discovered feltmaking whilst studying textiles in the early 80s, combining it with knitting to create quite batty outfits, several of which were exhibited at Bury Art Museum in 1984.

Felt then disappeared out of my life only to return 27 years later when I heard about the Campaign for Wool. I’d known for years about the wonderful properties of wool and discovered that because wool wasn’t being used as much as in the past, fleeces had become worth very little. I wanted to play a part in helping to promote warm, cosy, natural wool, perfect for our eco times. Felt sprang to mind.

I joined the IFA at a time when it was launching CiFT. I spent 3 years working on the syllabus, exploring and developing my felting skills and learning from the best tutors around. I am now the CiFT Coordinator, helping students to develop their feltmaking skills.

Louise Curnin Education Team of the International Feltmakers Association

Louise Curnin | Discovering Feltmaking Tutor

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 the warmth of textiles but I was hungry for learning something new. 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 making and teaching feltmaking have become 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 team is on.

Barbara Weeks, Education Team of the International Feltmakers Association

Barbara Weeks

Being a ‘Maker’ was part of my childhood and a career in Textiles followed, teaching first in London secondary schools and then City and Guilds in stitched Textiles to adults for 30 years. Through Quilt making I discovered the joy of wool and began to use felt making techniques to explore surface design in colour and texture. I was introduced to the amazing diversity of Felt through joining the IFA and in my time as a Regional Coordinator, 2014-9, set out to learn as much as I could from talented teachers. My enduring interest is to use laminated wool and silk in my quilt making. In 2019 I moved to the South West of Western Australia. I have found a great community of Felt Makers and find myself immersed in Merino wool! I am just embarking on a second online Felting course.