Join Fiona Duthie for a creative exploration of the unique culture and textiles of the Shetland Islands, through the lens of feltmaking


Note: The 2017 retreat is now full! Thank you so much for all your interest and enthusiasm! If you wish to be placed on the waiting list, or on a mailing list for a 2018 retreat, please do just contact me. Thank you everyone!

Shetland is truly an inspiring place. Though undeniably Scottish, it was ruled by the Norse until 1469 and local life still reflects its shared heritage. The most northern part of Britain, it’s known for its stunning sea cliffs, ancient history and art, music and of course, its beautiful wool. Shetland wool is famous throughout the world for its unique properties and colours, used in traditional fair isle and lace knitwear design.

During our retreat, the characteristics of these islands will serve as the catalyst for our feltmaking.

There will be island excursions: a visit to a local wool mill, a working farm, and archeological sites. We will visit traditional crofts, see Shetland sheep and naturally visit a Shetland pony or two. But don’t get me wrong, though our schedule will be full, it will be relaxed.  After all, we’ll be on island time.

My passion for wool was ignited here.  I look forward to sharing this special place with you.


Workshop Time

Through tours, talks, and visits, we’ll explore Shetland culture- the wool, the traditional knitwear design, and ancient artworks and forms. These we’ll use as the basis for our morning inspirations and studies in felt.

In the late mornings and afternoons, we’ll work from these resources to construct multidimensional felt forms that we’ll stretch, layer, sculpt, embellish and combine on our final afternoon. These forms will be mounted to create a beautiful sculpture, representing all aspects of our retreat in a single felt work that can be displayed on the table, wall or ceiling.  As always, there will be lots of techniques, as well as methods to improve the quality of your feltmaking,  with an emphasis on exploration, inspiration and enthusiasm. These sculptures will be your personal rendition of the outdoor installation I will have just completed during my artist residency in Scalloway in April, that you will have the chance to view.  All of our work will be influenced by the light and landscapes of Shetland.

All class materials and tools are provided. We’ll be working with Shetland wool in all its natural colours: white, light grey, emsket, shaela, black, musket, fawn, mioget, moorit, and dark brown.

There is a maximum class size of 12.

All levels of experience are welcome, but knowledge of basic feltmaking and a curiosity in exploring new ideas is essential.

Workshops take place in a large hall at the historic Islebugh Community Centre. We’ll be felting for 4 full days plus one afternoon for adding embellishment and our final construction. Our finished works will break down easily for safe travel.


Our home for the week will be the Alder Lodge Guest House in Shetland main town of Lerwick.

Alder Lodge is a friendly, family run guest house in the centre of Lerwick originally built in 1834. They offer an ideal location for both business and holiday visitors, within easy walking distance to all amenities including shops, bars, restaurants, tourist office and nearby coastal path.

All rooms have ensuite bathrooms,  and come with free unlimited Wi-Fi, TV, Fridge, Tea & Coffee facilities and hairdryer.

There are  6 single occupancy rooms, and 3 shared occupancy rooms.

Alder Lodge Guest House is 400 metres, (0.2miles) or a  5 minute walk from our Retreat Workshop Space at the Isleburgh Community Centre and only 275 metres (0.2 miles) from the main shopping street, Commercial Street.

We will be using the whole space for this retreat.


Retreat Itinerary: May 1-9 

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Retreat Itinerary: May 18-26

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Retreat Fee:

The fee for this workshop varies depending on whether participants register at the shared or individual occupancy rate. The breakdown for these 2 options is as follows:

Single occupancy course rate (1 adult per room):

$2675 per person (CDN), $2025 (US), £1575 (GBP)

Double occupancy course rate (2 adults per room):

$2450 per person (CDN), $1875 (US), £1450 (GBP)

The above fees cover accommodation for 8 nights, 8 breakfasts,  7 lunches, and 1 dinner,  workshop fees, workshop materials, museum tours, island excursions, transport to/from airport or ferry.

Accompanying partners/spouses are welcome:

$1400 (CDN), $1075 (US), £825 (GBP)

This fee includes accommodation, breakfasts, farewell dinner, museum tours, island excursions, transport to/from  airport or ferry

Workshop Fee only, including lunch plus workshop materials, and farewell dinner:

$1100 (CDN), $840 (USD), £650 (GBP)

The accommodations for this workshop are first come, first served.

To reserve your space, a 1/3rd deposit (based on desired accommodation type) is required.  Please read about our payment and refund policy here.