Doing a workshop Bag Felting at Atelier Het Wolbeest

I felted a bag!
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshoptasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop

tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop

It was a one day workshop at Atelier Het Wolbeest in Swalmen. She has a wonderful studio there:
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop
This is only half of it. The other half is filled with wool in all colours and tea pots and cake.
Behind the green door there are chickens.

The front looks good too!
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop
It’s the icecream parlour!
Having a taste included in the workshop and it was gorgeous!

For the workshop I brought two pieces of fleece with me that have saddened me for years now:
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop
Both are Wensleydales, one grey one white. They have nice locks but the backs were densely matted… I didn’t know what to do with them. For the white one I paid a ridiculous amount of money to a smooth talking salesman (Sikko). The grey one I got as a payment once. Both made me cringe every time I looked at them.

I really wanted the felt experts I was with this day to look at them and give me some advice. I expected their advice to be: throw them away. Leave the past behind you. Never talk to Sikko again.

tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop

Look at those backs, I couldn’t do anything with them. Couldn’t separate locks to felt them into something or spin them into something. Couldn’t felt them because the backs were already so matted and I learned you should tease open the back.
But Het Wolbeest squealed with delight because these fleeces are in fact fabulous to use. “Just pour some Bergschaf on the back and you’ve practically got a bag already!”

Alright! Let’s try this.
I positioned part of my fleece on the flap of the bag. The rest of the bag will get a nice structure from Gottland-Wensleydale mix Alexandra provided:
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop
(You’re not expected to bring your own fleece for this workshop, Atelier Het Wolbeest has all the materials you need at no extra cost. I just wanted to use this one straight away, to convince myself that it indeed can be done with these fleeces and that I am in fact the person who can do it.)

We got a wonderful luncheon:
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop

Lunch companion, willing to help with left overs:
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop

Het Wolbeest had a wonderful notion bag laying around. A little try-out she absentmindedly made one morning. Wonderful! I want one too!
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshoptasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop

My Rikke hat had a brief visit with its origins:
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop

Felting went well. I learned the basics and some advanced techniques.

Got to watch experts at work:
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop

She’s checking for thin patches, checking against the lights. I’m laughing so hard I can’t focus.
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshoptasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshoptasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshoptasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop

Nearly there, the fulling stage is done. This is the bag inside out:
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop

I’m going to have to check for thin patches soon too.

Part of the deal was a visit to the local leather shop Dun Hook and have leather bands cut to size and attached:
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop
I love good tools, especially when made of wood and metal:
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshoptasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshoptasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshoptasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop

The bag is still damp. We chucked it into the centrifuge and ran to the leather shop. This means that the Wensleydale locks are a bit tangled. It’s hard not to tug at them! But you’ve got to leave them alone. Wait till they’re dry.

Result at the end of a long day:
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop

At my home the bag got a chance to dry out completely. The locks untangled by themselves and looked nice. Really soft.

After a few days I made a few finishing touches to the bag.
The leather band had sharp edges, from the cutting:
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop
So I sanded the edges down with sandpaper in two different coarseness:
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop

and treated the edges with a wonderful leather cream: Urad.

Now the straps have smooth edges:
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop

I trimmed the flap a bit. Because my fleece was so thick it had a different shrinkrate to the rest of the bag and it looked a bit lopsided.

And I took off the sheep’s head. I specifically had wanted to make it on the bag and I’d made everyone stay 45 minutes late making it. But back in the city, looking at it, I felled it was too cutesy.
Also, its ears fell off after one day. Because I was so done with dry felting at that point.
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop

All in all I now have this wonderful bag and am using it everywhere. There’s this wonderful day to look back on, we had such fun! And I feel confident I can do some more felting like this and bring out some of the good in those white and grey Wensleydale locks:
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshopYay!
tasvilten Het Wolbeest Swalmen natvilten schapenvacht workshop

*Boop*

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2 thoughts on “Doing a workshop Bag Felting at Atelier Het Wolbeest

  1. Wat een leuk verslag weer van een ontzettend leuke dag!
    (heb je de vachten tòch nog kunnen gebruiken 🙂 )

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