Festive Christmas Nordic Tomte - Gnome Workshop



A mix of Scandi simplicity, natural materials, your handcrafted individuality = subtle sophistication! Feel the hygge by adding some charm to your home this festive season making one of these fellas. Completely perfect for groups, whether family, friends, colleagues, or a mixture of all! The Tabletop Workshop home studio in Camberwell suits between 4 and 10 max (a little cosy), but if there are more of you or it's easier, I can travel to you. The workshop is timed to be quite leisurely - please allow up to 3 hours. For those of you who are fast workers there’ll be the option to make a smaller hanging tree decoration Tomte too. Heather will take you step by step through a combination of simple beginner’s level techniques in needle and a little wet felting. There is a choice between a red, dark red or grey hat and a mid or light grey beard. How tall your finished Tomte is depends very much on the length of hat you create but a reasonable estimate is between 15 and 20cm tall.   Completely perfect for groups whether family, friends, colleagues or a mixture of all! The Tabletop Workshop home studio in Camberwell suits between 4 and 10 max (a little cosy) but if there are more of you, or it’s easier, I can come to you. NB: Children from 13 up and accompanied by a paying adult. Your Tomte’s hat will be made using a combination of Perendale wool batt and merino wool pre-felt. Their beards are made from Gotland locks sheared from a small flock who live in Essex. Should you wish to make more, extra materials will be available to purchase at the end of the class. Tomte are mythological creatures from Nordic folklore which today are typically associated with the winter solstice and Christmas. Generally described as short, having long beards and a tall conical hat in grey, red or another bright colour. They are sometimes portrayed as having the appearance of a garden gnome and Tomte translates to gnome in English.

What's included in the price?

Price includes all materials and equipment but please bring along either a wine or champagne/sparkling wine cork if you have one. At my home studio light refreshments - teas, biscuits and because this is a festive workshop, clementines and dates! If I’m travelling to you please sort your own refreshments.


3 hours

Cancellation policy

Medium - Cancellation and a full refund can be obtained up to 4 weeks before the course starts


Heather Fiona Martin is a graduate of Goldsmiths College, University of London. She is an experienced felt maker who for over a decade has worked in educational and community settings. In addition to her community work she runs Purr & Wag It, fine art felted portraits. Heather holds an enhanced DBS certificate for children and vulnerable adults.

Suitable for

  • Adults
  • Seniors
  • Teenagers
  • Hearing impaired
  • Limited mobility
  • Suitable for beginners
  • Tutor can travel
  • Christmas
  • Engagement, birthdays & anniversaries
  • UK Holiday
  • Corporate days out & team building
  • School holiday workshops & activities
  • Public transport
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Pre-felt is, as it's name suggests is not a fully formed/finished product. It needs further "work" to become felt. So it's the between stage of having laid out say 3 layers of fibres, wetted and then fulled just enough for the fibres to hook together but not turned into a solid piece of felt.

Industrially made pre-felt can also be purchased. It is made on a needle punching machine which has a bed of thousands of needles moving up and down entangling the fibres into felt without the need for water. With pre-felt the process is halted before the felt is completely formed. Because of the process it is sometimes known as needle punch.

Why work with pre-felt? Well, because it's already sufficiently formed to be a sheet you can cut it into clean sharp edged shapes which on their own give a collaged effect to your making. Because it's part felted it tends to hold it's shape better, but this depends a little on how evenly you full what you're making. Once you've learnt the fundamentals of wet felting it is also great to use as a base to create on top of.

Please note pre-felt is not the same as craft felt. Often that is made of polyester, if you're lucky wool/viscose or quality 100% wool.

Merino wool tops and pre-felt come in many colours and qualities. I like to think I provide some of the best and I will share my sources with you after you've attended a workshop. At in person workshops a very wide selection of different colours and shades are available.

I buy all my wool tops from suppliers who certify it is Non-Mulesed. Mulesing is the removal of strips of wool-bearing skin from around the breech (buttocks) of a sheep to prevent the parasitic infection flystrike (myiasis). It is illegal in the UK.

It has also been dyed to Oeko-Tex Standard 100: meaning the finished dyed wool has been tested for harmful substances and found harmless for human health.


It's the felting business of Heather Fiona Martin and was borne out of a wet felted pet portrait painting of a beloved Bearded Collie. Tabletop Workshops is simply the teaching arm of the business.

Heather is a graduate of Goldsmiths College, University of London. She is an experienced felt maker who for over two decades has worked in educational and community settings. Heather holds an enhanced DBS certificate for children and vulnerable adults.

Heather has been making felt with people of all ages with many differing abilities for many years now. It’s a simple process (once you know how) but elements of felt making are quite vigorous and very hands on. If you have arthritis or a similar condition in your hands you may find parts of the process challenging. That being said it’s not stopped anybody before and Heather is very happy to help you with vigorous parts of the process.

Heather's home studio is on an unmade road a little under ten minutes walk from Denmark Hill station with trains running into Victoria Station, Kings Cross (Thames Link line) and London Overground. Or East Dulwich station running into London Bridge is ten to fifteen minutes walk (up hill) away too. A 176, 185, 40 and 484 bus all pass within metres of the house. Alight at Champion Grove.

Once you have booked I will send you a link to "How to Find Us" showing the best route on foot from Denmark Hill.

I recommend loose layered clothing. Working the fibres into felt takes a bit of elbow grease so you may find you want to take your top layer off!
An apron is not necessary but if you prefer to wear one when making then please do bring it along.

There is no parking on Stories Mews itself.

However parking is free on the surrounding roads (eg Grove Lane, Grove Park and Camberwell Grove) after 6.30pm during the week and all day at the weekend.

If you’re cycling let me know the Friday before the workshop so I can make room for your bike in the garage.

This varies a little depending on the type of workshop for:

Public 2D and 3D wet felting: I like to keep the groups small, so a maximum of 4. This provides you with plenty of time for one on one tuition.

Private 2D and 3D wet felting: Still small but I'm happy to accommodate up to 6 if everybody knows each other.
Prefelt collage, up to 6, because participants need less one on one tuition and use less room.

Christmas: Usually up to 10, because these workshops make use of crib sheets and everybody is making pretty much the same thing.

With all my workshops because of last minute cancellations you may end up with a private one on one workshop for the apublic group price.

If you're looking for something for larger numbers of participants I'm usually a) able to come to you and b) tailor something to fit in with your timetable and themes.


5 Stories Mews, Stories Road, London, London, SE5 8JJ

Booking options

14:00 - 17:00
£52.00 See dates
10:00 - 13:00
£52.00 See dates