Today I have been working at the Mercat Centre in the village of Milton, near Invergordon in Ross-shire. This was the second of 5 days where various members of the community have been working together under my supervision and tutoring to make a large felt wallhanging for their hall.
Today we spent the morning making the background for our design, laying down fleece and wetting it with soapy water, covering this with bubblewrap and then rubbing to ensure that it was all wet. By lunchtime we were ready to start working out where all the pieces went - like a giant felt jigsaw.
Once everything was in place, a bit more soapy water was added, the whole thing covered again in bubblewrap and then it was a question of rubbing...... and rubbing........and rubbing - for three hours. At the moment the piece measures 9.5 metres long and 1.1m deep and looks rather like an impressionist painting. By the time we have finished we should have managed to shrink it down to about 7m so that it can fit along the end wall above the windows. By the end of the day we were satisfied that everything was joined together and we were able to simply cover it back up with the bubblewrap and leave it overnight.
In the morning we will turn it over and rub on the back for a few hours and then we will be able to start the fun bit of adding lots of detail with needle-felting. We expect to spend about a day and a half adding all the detail and then comes the back-breaking work of rolling and milling the felt.