Fine felt making with British wools with Liz Clay

Ref: S3D33403

Book now

Places available

About this course

Fine felt making with British wools invites the felt maker to explore less familiar native wools and to celebrate their diversity for fine felt making and unique hand crafted outcomes. Sampling exercises will inform your own design aims using a range of felting methods.

Course Description

The British Isles have a rich source of diverse wool types with more breeds of sheep than any other country in the world; more than 60 different breeds from hill and mountain to fine and lustre breeds. A sustainable, renewable and environmentally positive fibre choice, the characteristics of these breeds vary widely, with the potential to celebrate this diversity for unique hand crafted outcomes.

In this workshop, you will have the opportunity to explore a selection of processed native wools in a variety of natural colours to gain insight into their suitability and potential for different felt making projects. You will be guided through sampling exercises that inform techniques and processes to create two and three dimensional design.

There will be an opportunity to work with raw fleece that requires washing, drying and combing in readiness for felt making. Your tutor will facilitate a hands-on demonstration with you, and will explain a simple step-by-step method for cleaning dirty fleece.

Tutor-led sampling exercises and group discussion will help you develop an awareness of natural colour and texture in the felted surface through mark-making and layering of materials. Advice will be given on blending wools to enhance texture and colour, using natural and dyed wool fibres. The addition of resist and nuno felt techniques will further expand the design portfolio.

The tutor will give individual guidance and support along the way to inspire and offer direction towards creative outcomes for fashion and interior design.

You will have the opportunity to work individually on a project of your choice. The aim is to encourage and enable you to develop a personal approach with confidence.

Course Materials


  • The tutor will prepare and supply a materials pack to each student for your initial samples.

What students need to bring

  • Wool: carded batts and/or processed tops of any British breed you may have available - Shetland, Jacob and Bluefaced Leicester are good
  • Small quantities of washed fleece if you have some
  • Total approx. 50gms per student
  • All wools for this workshop can be purchased from the tutor.
  • Your personal felt making kit to include:
  • Bubble wrap (50 x 50 cms)
  • Net curtain to cover bubble wrap
  • Plastic tube for rolling
  • Soap and bath sponge – essential
  • Spray bottle and plastic bowl for water
  • Scissors x two: sharp embroidery and large cutting types
  • Hand carders – if you have them (not essential)
  • Strong tacking threads and needles
  • Fabric pieces of cotton muslin, cotton scrim, fine silk chiffon/organza white/black – if you have any (these are not essential and are usually stocked by the College shop if required).
  • An apron

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Some fabrics used on this course are usually available, including undyed fine cottons, silks, muslin, scrim, fine silk chiffon and organza in black and white.
  • Notepads and pencils
  • N.B. No wools are sold at the shop.
  • Available from tutor:
  • On this course, most of the materials and all wool types will be available for purchase from the tutor, including plastic tubes and soap.

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no sandals or open toes).


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

General Information


Liz Clay Felt Short Course Tutor at West Dean College

Liz Clay

Liz Clay is a practitioner and researcher of hand made felt, specifically working within haute couture and innovating felt making techniques. She studied textiles at Bath School of Art and Design. Her PhD investigates the creative potential of British 'waste' wool for fine craft felt making. Author of Nuno Felt, she teaches and exhibits internationally. Work is held in the collections of Givenchy, Balenciaga, the Crafts Council and Bradford College Textile Archive.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

Courses of interest

Mark-making in woven tapestry – textural techniques

26 Jul 2024 to 1 Aug 2024 | West Dean
Places available
Tutor: Rachel Johnston |

History of pattern, with hands-on pattern making

24 Jul 2024 | West Dean
Places available
Tutor: Francesca Herrick |
Suitable for all

The Point of a Needle – a workshop for textile artists

18 to 22 Aug 2024 | West Dean
Places available
Tutor: Michael Brennand-Wood |

Practice and the individual – in textiles

25 to 29 Aug 2024 | West Dean
Places available
Tutor: James Hunting |

Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or advance your learning with our BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft: Materials, Making, and Place (six years part-time). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.