Adventures in Letter Writing No. 66: Handcrafted Felt Coaster Cards

What a wonderful voyage of rediscovery it’s been lately…

Many years ago, as part of an Inset Day for the Dorset Outdoor Education Service, we went to the amazing Ancient Technology Centre at Cranborne. They have a replica Viking Longhouse, Saxon dwellings, water wheels, Roman buildings and the awesome Earthouse that never fails to make you gasp in wonder when you enter it. We were there to try out some of the activities they have on offer to visiting groups including having a go at felt-making. It was the most satisfying and wonderful activity and the pieces I made over 20 years ago I still have on my dressing table and up in the Letter Writing Shed.

It prompted a little creative project back then in the form of Felt Coaster Cards which combined my new-found love of felt-making, my long standing love of letter writing, and my constant love of tea drinking. I ordered lots of merino wool “tops” in all sorts of colours from Wingham Wool Workshop (recommended by a crafting friend), together with blank cards and cellophane bags, little stickers and double-sided tape. I had the loveliest time and sent them to friends and family, as well as making some to see if a local craft centre would sell them for me. Worth Craft Centre was just one of those magical places here in the Isle of Purbeck, in the heart of the historic village, Worth Matravers. I was delighted when they said they would – even more so when I popped up to see they’d all gone!

Life got in the way and the box of carded fleece, in its Beatrix Potter Peter Rabbit box, moved around the house and eventually up into the shed where there was the perfect shaped hole for it. But something during lockdown stirred in me to dig it all out and have another go and I’ve had the most amazing time all over again.

I’ve loved making these little squares of artwork to rest your trusty cuppa on (mine is mainly tea but coffee, hot chocolate, fruity or herbal, glass of wine, champagne, you name it, are all contenders). But really because they are Felt Coaster Cards, they are for sending to a friend or loved one for them to rest their cuppa on, and so they can be reminded of you each time they look at it on the desk or dresser or coffee table.

Each one is unique. Some are stripey, some are landscapes, but all are lovingly handcrafted by the Founder of The Handwritten Letter Appreciation Society (me!). They are as original, quirky and individual as the person you are sending them to. It’s been lovely thinking up the titles for them all. It made me go all arty and poetic (of sorts).

It makes me smile to think the first time round I sent one to my gardening hero, Alan Titchmarsh. He replied to say “the coaster is perfect for my morning tea!” I may have to write again to see whether he still has it somewhere!?

This time around a lovely friend put in a huge order for 16 of them for her company get together and another lady commissioned four under the theme of Heathland.

My challenge now is to get crafting some more and finish setting up my Etsy shop. It’s going to be called “LetterAppSocShop”. And although I never took up the degree in 3D Design at Brighton Poly back in the 90s (cold feet), I’m so glad I did the Art Foundation Course at Oxford Poly. It was a lovely grounding and maybe we just have to find our own way sometimes.

So grab a cuppatea (or equivalent), find your favourite pen and address book and let’s see where it takes us. Watch this space!

Dinah

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