Term: 1 Year: 2006
Felt is made from wool. Cream turns into butter, dough into bread and wool into felt: these things just happen with
the help of our hands. Add moisture and heat to wool, as well as pressure, and the fibres tighten, contracting into
a dense mat.
Anne Belgrave – How To Make Felt
Our Artist In School – Pam Booth
Pam is an artist whose work in felt inspired us to engage in our felting project: The Many Faces Of Our School.
Pam was the "Artist In Schools" teacher who taught us all we know about the felting process.
- To research our cultural backgrounds through interaction with family members and to share our discoveries
with each other.
- To design and create collages portraying our cultural heritage.
- To explore elements of design such as line, shape and colour.
- To develop an understanding of the felting process and explore the possibilities it offers as a medium
- To inspire and enthuse students about the arts and exploration of the different art forms.
To develop pride and confidence in children's own talents and abilities in this area of the Arts.To
provide opportunities for the children to develop their skills by working with an artist.
Having seen Pam Booth's dynamic felt creations, St Francis Xavier's Art Department, decided to embark
on a felting project. Our aim was to create a series of murals that would depict the multicultural influence
that exists within our school.
In Term 2 we began our research and the students accessed resources from the library. They searched relevant
internet sites, interviewed family members and brought icons or objects of cultural significance from home.
Mock up sketches and collages were made depicting our cultures. This preparation was vital to the success
of the project. The students felt that they had ownership of it and appreciated the benefits that so many cultures
brought to our community.
The students' collages and oil pastel pieces were collected and collated to represent the many lands from
which we come. We incorporated the students' designs into four murals:
1. Flora and Fauna – plants and animals from our countries of origin.
2. Land Marks and Land Forms – both natural and man made landmarks found in our countries of origin.
3. Celebrations – music, theatre, sports and celebrations.
4. The Many Faces of Our School – depicting the multicultural dimension of our school.
The Four Murals:
" Flora and Fauna" This mural depicts animals and plants from around the world. Australian
native animals like the kangaroo and emu appear beside an Indian elephant and African giraffe. Tropical
fish swim in the waterhole along with the platypus. Colourful birds are perched in the gum tree and the dove
of peace flies above. This was a Grade 3 initiative.
"Landmarks and Landforms " was our next mural. It includes well known structures such as the Opera
house, Sydney Harbour, London Bridge, Leaning Tower of Pisa, The Great Wall of China, Middle Eastern buildings
and the Pyramids. This mural was a Grade 4 initiative.
"Celebrations" was created by Grade 5 and 6 students. This mural represents the Arts with musical
instruments and music scores. A cricket bat, soccer ball, football and goal posts represent some of the
many sports we play together. Fireworks fill the sky as a universal symbol of celebration.
"The Many faces Of Our school." This mural evokes a powerful sense of multiculturalism, with faces
designed by the students. These decorative faces represent the many cultures that enrich our school community.
This mural was created by Grade 5 and 6 students.
This process occurred with 8 groups of children from Grades Three to Grades Six, working on a particular mural.
- The project commenced with a discussion about the history of felt making. We looked at pictures of felt
culture in Central Asia to give the children an idea of how people made felt and the role that felt played
in the lives of nomads. We also looked at examples of felt art. We talked about the project, discussing how
we would create our murals using wool. Design, colour, composition were discussed and we noted the importance
of avoiding using too much detail that would be impossible to achieve when using felt.
- The children were given a demonstration of overlaying the wool tops in 3 alternate layers with each layer
running at 90 degrees to the other. The children then worked in small groups of 12 to lay the wool and create
a large pre felt which would be the base of each mural. The pre felt was covered with netting and warm, soapy
water was applied. The children had turns to gently rub the wool tops in a circular motion. This helped to
bind the fibres together and create a pre felt. Each child was involved in this process. We also created
smaller pieces of varying coloured pre felts. These were to be used later for the children to create their
- The children worked from their original sketches and created their own images from the pre felts and wool
tops. They were encouraged to be creative in their design and selection of colours. These images were then
pre- felted ready to be felted on to the large mural. The children's images were then arranged on the
base piece. Additional images were assembled and added and the background completed. The mural was then ready
to be felted.
- The netting was placed over the images (to avoid loose details from slipping out of place) and warm soapy
water was sprayed over the piece. Using a plastic bag, the children gently pushed the water and soap solution
into the wool then gently rubbed until the wool fibres began to tighten. All children in each group were
part of this process.
- The work was then rolled in a large sheet of bubble wrap and a cane blind, and rolled back and forth for
several minutes. The work was rolled in turn from all 4 sides to keep the shrinkage process even. We sang
some songs and did lots of counting to help keep the rhythm! We covered the piece with a sheet and placed
it on the ground. The fulling process continued with every child having a chance to walk and jump on the
Teachers joined in the fun too! The felt piece was then thrown on the ground several times and then rinsed
in hot and cold water….all part of the felting and shrinking process.
- Then came the exciting part …..seeing the completed project.
- The children were amazed to see how a strong and beautiful piece of felt could be created from wool tops!
The final session was spent stitching and embroidering our murals. The children then created some felt tabs
which were attached to the mural for display purposes.
Our murals were ready to be hung!
Artist in Schools
City of Whitehorse
We thank the City of Whitehorse for funding our felting project. Some 200 children took part in creating these
beautiful murals. We thank Pam Booth, for her inspiration, talent and artistic direction. We learnt much about
the felting process and even more about each other.
Marg Burrows and Cathie Canals
St Francis Xavier
It was good that everyone got to work on the murals.
I made a face and used different coloured wool tops to create the face. I enjoyed this new experience
I liked the texture and the bright colours. (Rory)
I like the fact that the murals will always be in our school and everyone can enjoy what we created. (
The murals will always be here and in the future we can say " I did that!" ( Chanel)
I liked making my face. Being able to plait and bead the hair was fun. ( Tiffany)
I found it fun because we got to work together. We weren't by ourselves. ( James)
I thought it was fun when we had to jump on our mural to shrink it. ( Michelle)
I really like making our felt balls. Wrapping the wool around in a ball was really good. (Eddie)