Memories of Exploring Fabric in the Forest of Dreams – Part Two

Using our hands to create beautiful feltwork
Getting hands on

As the Forest of Dreams reaches its conclusion, I remember my first time getting hands on and learning how everyone contributed their part to it.

I’m Natasha, I volunteer and work with Sense, and I was honoured to be invited to see the Forest of Dreams in action. The Forest of Dreams is a national project that has been running for a year across six children’s groups and this was the final making session, a special just for adults. With storytelling and textile creation at its heart, it helps empower users think about their dreams and aspirations, build their confidence, learn new skills and make new friends.

This is part two of my tale.

Having seen the outcome of previous Forest of Dreams workshops, I was intrigued to find out how they were made.

Kara and I moved on upstairs to where other participants were busy at work creating their own felt pieces to further grow the forest. Jenny, the leading textiles artist, was doing a sterling job taking the group through the steps to make felt. It turns out it’s a fairly simple process of selecting brightly coloured merino wool whisps, arranging a pattern, soaking them in a soapy liquid and rolling them together with some bubble wrap and a rolling pin to squeeze out the excess liquid. Messy fun!

Sound interesting? Would you like to make your own at home? There is a oldblog post on how to do this yourselves at home here. The patterns created formed a kaleidoscope of different hues and vibrant elements all meshed together. Others went a step further to roll them into lozenges and other 3D shapes.

At the same time, there was a great fabric ripping activity going on. It involved taking various fabrics and pulling them in opposite directions. The resulting noise they made were surprisingly different: some more synthetic and grating, and others more gentle. The use of bubble wrap added an extra dimension with the sound and the texture in the participants’ hands. This was a great activity if you are mobile to physically play a game of “tug of war” with the fabric strip. Here’s a picture from a previous group:

Having fun ripping up fabric
Having fun ripping up fabric

The final activity involved weaving fabric in and out of webs made ingeniously of fish net nights and other arrays of fabric, easily picked up at charity shops to form an interesting textile activity at home.

All the beautiful fabrics, their wide repertoire of uses and the enjoyment you can get simply from focusing on how they feel and sound inspired me to pop into a few charity shops on my way back and see them in a whole new light. Woolen fabrics, silky, chunky, scaly textures, felted and floaty.

Here’s someone from a previous group really enjoying the different materials!

Someone covered in fabric strips
Loving the fabric feel

If you’re lucky enough to live near a Sense charity shop, why not pop in and see what you can find?

Please remember to share your photos and stories with us through twitter and facebook, we love to see what you get up to at home.

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