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 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 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.

Vivienne Morpeth member of the International Feltmakers Association Education Team

Vivienne Morpeth

Thirty years ago, whilst curating art galleries, I invited Lyn Jenkins to give a workshop and I was immediately hooked on felting. Joining the IFA I had the joy of a Sheila Smith workshop (she so kindly allowed me to bring my baby) later, mid 90s, I learnt Nuno felting directly from Polly Stirling in NSW bush. Combining incredible experiences of IFA conference workshops of top UK and international tutors with my own hours of ‘midnight felting’ at the kitchen table, teaching full time in a Steiner School, before up grading to day-light felting in my own studio. I share my passion for felting through exhibitions and teaching in schools, colleges, specialist groups, in UK and Europe. I tutor in my North Lincolnshire workshop with students on line and individually in person. I continue striving through Nuno felting, to create wearable yet aesthetic seamless garments.
Jane Spencer - member of the International Feltmakers Association Education Team

Jane Spencer

I have always been arty but it has only been in the last few years that I have really been able to explore and create. I treated my mom to a needlefelting workshop and was hooked. My passion is fibre art, in particular needle felting, wet felting and free motion machine stitching. I am thoroughly enjoying my creative journey and learning and adding new techniques to my repertoire all the time. I love the tactile, textural effect of using fibres in art. I joined the IFA to learn more and be inspired.
I have over 20 years of teaching experience and was responsible for improving the quality of teaching and learning before I left teaching to move abroad with my husband’s job. It was when we moved back that I discovered felting. Joining the Education team at IFA is a fabulous opportunity for me to reconnect with education and the learning process whilst contributing to the team.
Heather Potten - member of the International Feltmakers Association Education Team

Heather Potten

I have been a teacher all my adult life. After graduating from university, I moved to Greece to teach English. Later, realising I had found my vocation, I returned to Scotland to study for my teaching diploma,
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.