Sabine Fouchier – Felt workshops for the Elderly

My name is Sabine and I am originally from South of France. I came to London 18 years ago and I like Shepherds Bush for its diversity and upbeat spirit. I studied Art and Literature in France and I am a professional hat and felt maker and designer. Creative art workshops enable me to bring people together through art and spark their creativity and imagination.

Felt making is magical. You start from wool fibres, bring them together to compose an image through mixing colours and designs, then you add soap and water and rub it, massage it until it becomes felted. Once it dries, you end up with wonderful products such as jewellery, wall hanging pictures or bags.

I applied for funding with UNITED to run Art&Crafts hands-on workshops specialising in textile art and felt making for the elderly. Fr Richard Nesbitt from Our Lady of Fatima church in White City has been a great support and offered their church hall as a venue. I also run workshops at sheltered housing for the elderly in North of the borough.

When people come together to make things by hand they awaken their creative spirit. It is also an opportunity to make friends and have fun. It helps people with their general sense of wellbeing by stimulating their senses and challenging their mind to learn new hands-on skills. Art is used as a wonderful tool to unite people and create a common language to share their experiences and memories. We come to make hats or bags and often end up singing and dancing.

In the future I’d love to develop intergenerational workshops in our local community. We have many lonely older people on one side and lonely children on the other. The solution is simple, we just need to bring them together and give them space for joy.