Landscape Sketching

Felted Landscapes – Learning a New Technique

Textile art made at Valerie Wartelle's Felted Landscapes workshop
My completed felted landscape! Created from my sketches a local lake

‘And what are you gonna make?’, ‘Who are you going with?’, ‘What’s gonna happen when we get home from school?’ When I told the kids I would spend a whole Friday at a ‘felted landscapes’ workshop they had plenty of questions.

But their main question was ‘Will you put it on the wall?’.

Well I hoped so! I had never used felting and while I was looking forward to learning the technique, I wasn’t sure what the results would look like.

The felting workshop taught by my friend Valerie Wartelle. Valerie is a textile artist who creates beautiful semi abstract landscapes. She uses wet felting and creates subtle paintings in muted tones.

Preparation watercolour sketches

I would  also have the rare pleasure to spend a whole day working on an art project! Exciting!

To prepare for the worksop, Valerie asked us to gather some inspiration we might want to use for our felted piece.

The sun was shining, so I went to sketch some of my favourite local landscapes.

Warley Moor reservoir Halifax. Landscape sketch in pen and watercolour by Sophie Peanut
Warley Moor reservoir – watercolour sketch
Landscape watercolour sketch by Sophie Peanut
Beacon Hill Halifax – Landscape sketch in pen and watercolour

Learning felted landscapes techniques

On the day I decide to use the sketch below as my starting point for the painting.

Wet felting is a traditional craft technique. It uses a felt base and wool tops died in different colours.  Hot water, soap and friction interlock the fibres together and ‘felt’ your piece. Various silk threads and fabrics create texture.

Warley Moor reservoir Halifax in pen and watercolour by Sophie Peanut
Watercolour sketch – Warley Moor reservoir and Halifax Sailing Club. This is the sketch I decided to use on the day

Valerie taught us to work in layers to build our landscape. It is interesting to see how the art work evolves as you add layers and texture.

You apply a layer of wool tops, treads and fabric. Soak in warm soapy water. Roll it to felt. Only then you look at the results. Add more wool, threads and fabrics and repeat the process. After four to six layers your art work is complete.

It is a good exercise in letting go and a just see what happens… And with Valerie’s guidance, experience and suggestions on hand I felt safe to experiment.

Valerie Wartelle’s workshops

If you are interested in trying something new and want create your own felted landscapes, I wholeheartedly recommend Valerie’s workshops.  She’s enthusiastic and patient. The workshops are restricted to small numbers so she has time to give plenty of personal guidance to everyone.

While experienced artists will be able to use their knowledge of colour and composition to create their piece, no art knowledge or experience is necessary.  So this is a workshop for everyone.

The materials you need are simple to so you could make your own pieces at home too.

Is it going on the wall?

‘Is it a mountain?’ asked the kids my husband said  ‘I’m glad to see it’s got bright colours. Are you going to get it framed then?’. The family seems to like the painting… and I am pleased with it too.

It will be going on the wall!

Felted Landscape - Textile art by Sophie Peanut

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