The ancient art of felting

Origin

Felt is deeply rooted in early nomadic cultures, where it was used to make clothing and tents. The earliest archaeological evidence shows the use of felt in Central Asia in Neolithic times, around 6500 BC. Beautiful and sophisticated felt wall hangings were excavated from a burial tomb in the Altai mountains in Siberia, preserved by the permafrost and dating from around 600 BC.

Materials

Merino wool

Every design on this website is made with the wool of Merino sheep. Merino is mainly imported from Australia and South Africa. This kind of wool felts very easily and is therefore often used by felt makers and artists alike.

Silk chiffon

Since the switch to nuno felting, silk chiffon is the other essential material in every design. This technique consists of applying loose fibers to a pure fabric, in this case Merino wool to silk chiffon.
It is a lightweight, balanced plain-woven sheer fabric, or gauze, like gossamer. Under a magnifying glass, chiffon resembles a fine net or mesh, which gives it some transparency. Chiffon is most commonly used in evening wear, especially as an overlay, for giving an elegant and floating appearance to the gown. It is also a popular fabric used in blouses, ribbons, scarves and lingerie.

Method

  1. Place strands of wool on top of each other, forming a checkerboard pattern. The more layers, the thicker the felt will be.
  2. Hot soapy water makes the wool slippery and causes tiny scales on the fiber to open up. The scales prevent the fibers from backing up again after they slide across each other.
  3. By rubbing the wet wool with your hands, the fibers get tightly intertwined. When cooled and dried, the scales close and lock the wool into the tough, durable material we call felt.