Felt Area Rugs: Traditional Turkish Felt Beating

November 8-12, 2023
9 am to 5 pm


Feltmaking is possibly the oldest textile craft. It was developed by the same steppe nomads who first domesticated fiber-producing animals. In imperial Turkey and Iran, state-sponsored guilds professionalized feltmaking and led to a sophistication of the craft unparalleled by other Central Asian cultures.

Feltmaking is hard, physical work, utilizing every part of the body. It is also a rhythmic and meditative practice that can be incredibly rewarding and even therapeutic.

In this 5-day workshop, students will make their own thick, fully functional felt area rug. The rug will be intricately patterned with geometric designs in the various natural colors of undyed wool. Students will make their own prefelt and learn to “kick” the felt, with a dance-like rhythm that can be sustained for days on end. Jo will introduce a traditional no-waste design approach and guide students with improvisational composition. The majority of the workshop will take place on the floor, but the final day will be spent hand finishing the rug on a tabletop. Throughout the workshop, Jo will discuss wool processing and purchasing, as well rug care and cleaning instructions. All experience levels are welcome, and no prior felt making experience is necessary to participate. However, a strong body is required to do this work. Jo suggests preparing for the workshop by doing wrist-strengthening exercises such as high planks, push-ups, downward dog etc.

Skills and Techniques:
• Learn how to make durable, thick felt
• Learn how to make their own prefelt and how to use it to make sharp, clear patterns in felted fabric
• Learn rhythms for moving and breathing that expend as little energy as possible, so that work can be sustained for the length of time that is required to make large-scale felts (such as room-sized rugs and yurt walls for example)
• Learn how to finish, shape, and shave the surfaces of their rugs so that they look smooth, flat and professional.

Materials Fee: $25 per pound of wool used (expect to use between 1.5 and 3.5 lbs.)

Special Tools or Equipment:

Comfortable walking shoes
Iron if you have one, the instructor will provide extras if you don’t
Knee and/or wrist braces (optional)
The instructor will provide suitable rug felting wool, however students may bring their own (undyed) wool to include in the surface design (~0.5-1 lb.)

Instructors COVID preference: Your instructor reserves the right to require safety requirements depending on the state of the pandemic at the time of the workshop.

Workshop Policies

Please be sure to read our policies before you register for a workshop.

Age Requirements

The minimum age to attend a regularly scheduled workshop is 16 years. We have set this age to ensure a safe, productive, and community-building experience for all of our students. There are no exceptions.

Accessibility & Accommodations

If you have questions about accessibility or would like to request reasonable accommodations, please contact our main office at 603-435-7314.

Student Cancellations

Cancellations must be made at least 30 days prior to the start date of a workshop in order to receive a refund. Registration and material costs will be refunded, minus a non-refundable $25.00 registration fee. A full refund will be made for any amount paid for overnight housing.

Sanborn Mills Farm Cancellations

Each workshop must have a minimum number of students to be held. If Sanborn Mills Farm finds it necessary to cancel a workshop, we will notify students two weeks prior to the scheduled workshop start date. A full refund will be provided to registered students. Refunds for a workshop purchased as a gift will be made to the purchaser only. Sanborn Mills Farm cannot be held responsible for any refunds for travel expenses or for off-site housing expenses incurred as the result of a cancellation of any kind.

Housing & Meals

Please refer to our housing page for more information.


Each workshop has its own safety procedures. Your instructor will review the specific safety requirements at the start of your workshop and throughout your class. Sanborn Mills Farm is a rural setting. If you are allergic to insect bites, please alert your instructor of your allergy and bring an epipen with you. For draft animal workshops or courses requiring time in the woods, be sure to review tick safety procedures from Tick Free NH. We advise students to wear comfortable clothing, comfortable and secure shoes, and consider your personal needs for a day or extended stay.