A Brief History of Felt
Felt has been in use across Central Asia for thousands of years and is believed to be one of the oldest man-made textiles. It origins are in the Neolithic period and it was indispensable to nomadic cultures like the Mongols who used it to make crucial, everyday items such as saddles, boots, body armour and circular tents called Yurts. It's natural qualities of being light to transport, warm and easily sourced made it an ideal material for people on the move.
In more recent times felt was relegated to heavy industry and children's crafts until the 1970s when artists outside the traditional felt-making societies began investigating felt as a creative medium.
Textile products made from felt have a host of qualities to admire and commend them. Felt is light and soft to the touch yet very strong and hard-wearing. Iit is breathable, making it warm in winter and cool in summer to wear. It burns at a high temperature so is naturally fire-retardant. It can hold it's weight in water without feeling wet and is biodegradable. It is produced using very few chemicals, all of which make it an attractive and sustainable material.
Felt is a very versatile medium with which to work as a textile artist. It can be manipulated and melded into almost any shape, texture or structure. Over the past few decades it has become increasingly popular with innovative professional artists of many persuasions in the production of a range of artifacts including fashion items, jewellery, footwear, sculpture, furniture, wall art, in architectural and interior design.
How is felt Made?
Felt is made by interlocking natural wool fibres together. This is done through a process of laying the fibres on top of one another, applying water and soap and rubbing, (a lot!). It is a very tactile, physical, satisfying and fun process.
Different Types of Silk.
Habotai silk is a light, tightly woven silk fabric with a shiny surface.
Silk chiffon is a light and translucent fabric with a matt surface and reasonably loose weave.
Silk georgette is light and opaque fabric with a matt surface and is slightly heavier than chiffon.
Merino wool is a high quality, soft and light wool which is suitable for garments as it does not irritate the skin.
Although felting is an ancient art, nuno felting is a more recent technique. Nuno means fabric in Japanese and the process entails wet-felting the wool onto fabrics such as silk and cotton. The wool fibrers work their way through the fabric (with the help of water, soap and lots of rubbing) and attach themselves to create a textured, fluid and hard-wearing result.
Care Instructions for Felted Products
Hand wash in warm water with mild soap and hang to dry. Your product witll become softer and even more hard-wearing with time. Carefull steam iron to finish.