Sharing a Feltmaking Makerdate

Sharing a Feltmaking Makerdate

Saying YES

Always trying to expand my not-as-wide-as-they-should-be horizons, I said ‘yes’ to doing a Feltmaking MakerDate. After all, I LOVE sharing the magic of how fluffy wool transforms into powerful felt and have shared feltmaking at past MakerFaires.  However, I was somewhat unfamiliar with the concept of MakerDates and what a Feltmaking MakerDate could be.

What is a MakerDate?

As part of fundraising, AssemblePGH, a local arts education group, organizes an evening where attendees bid on ‘dates’ with creatives. As the website puts it, “Instead of a single object, winners receive an unforgettable experience and a new relationship.”

An extensive variety of skills/experiences were available for bidding on. In addition to there being a feltmaker (me!), there was also a jeweler, a painter, a musician, a DJ, a feminist furniture designer, an Arduino technologist, and lots of other high-tech folks.

New Places, New Spaces

For me, part of agreeing to this experience, a Feltmaking MakerDate, was that the event was in the City, at the hip Ace Hotel.

The Ace’s renovated building was previously a YMCA. Surprisingly, the MakerDate room looked like my high school gym taken over by unicorns!  There were colorful streamers and pink lights! It was quite festive.

So much more exciting than what I typically experience in suburbia on a Thursday night. Enjoying the unicorn colored atmosphere of the MakerDate.


 Enjoying the unicorn colored atmosphere of the MakerDate.


Below are two of Cheryl Capezutti’s giant puppets getting ready to go on up for her ‘Auction.’ I had only learned about Cheryl and her work earlier in the summer when a craft fair visitor said that I MUST check it out. In addition to her puppet-work in the community, Cheryl is involved with Pittsburgh’s new year eve First Night parade of Art Cars.  Hopefully, this year I will say ‘YES’ to taking in NYE Pittsburgh style.


 Two of Cheryl Cappezutti's puppets

Accustomed to the public’s unfamiliarity and curiosity with feltmaking at craft fairs, I brought an assortment of tools and felted samples. The bubble wrap is always popular with kids, as is touching the extra soft roving. During the event, I shared the table with a friendly young artist, who painted during the evening. Sorry not to remember her name. 


Feltmaking tools and sample hats


One Worry

One of my worries was a what if?  What if no one bid on a Feltmaking MakerDate with me?  It was a possibility.

Fortunately, and pleasantly, early on in the evening, an attendee named Carla came up to the table. She told me that she had placed a bid on my Felted Vessel MakerDate because she wanted to learn more about feltmaking! Hooray!

Feltmaking MakerDate Accomplished

Not wishing to procrastinate, we set up a meetup in early October. As I wasn’t in the mood to tidy my small (and messy) studio, I decided that it was easier for me to go to her home. And while it was delightful to see her space, in retrospect, it might be better for future instruction to have students come to my house because it’s kitted out with everything needed for wet work. 

Felted Balls

Besides making a felted vessel, Carla was curious about felted balls. In addition to being an architect, she creates jewelry with gemstones and also incorporates felted balls into her pieces. Carla was particularly intrigued about striped ones, which she purchases online. I already knew how to make solid-colored felted balls; there were lots of them on the Rainbow Hood. So, I devised an easy way to needlefelt the stripes onto felted balls.

Here’s an example of a felted ball made from a combination of needlefelting and wet felting that I brought to our MakerDate.

Felted Ball with Stripes


 After making balls, we covered how to make a felted vessel, using a selection of wool roving that I had brought along. As we were quite busy chatting, I didn’t take photographs during each step of feltmaking. This image below is towards the end of the layout stage. Here, Carla is moistening her embellishments with soapy water.

Carla laying out Merino wool for her felted vessel. 


Lastly, here’s Carla with her partially felted vessel!  It still needs to be shrunk down further.

MakerDate student, Carla with her partially felted vessel.


We had such a great time chatting about feltmaking and so many other topics. The day flew by all too quickly.

In sharing our skills and time as the MakerDate organizers’ hoped, our Feltmaking MakerDate became the start of a new relationship.



Thank you for reading along and following me on this feltmaking adventure!

Have you ever done an activity like a MakerDate? Please, let me know about it down in the comments.

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