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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What is Felt - an overview

Maybe you have already asked yourself the question “what is felt” after seeing my work and work from other felt artists. Felt is the oldest fabric known in history, before weaving and knitting was initiated. Felt is non-woven.

The felting technique originates from Central Asia, where nomads felted wool and other animal hair into tents (yurts), clothing, rugs... It is still practiced in these areas.

Felt and felt making are gaining popularity all over the world now and the possibilities are endless, the results often a surprise.

I would like to give a short overview of the different felting techniques and I will post some tutorials soon, so that you can give it a try if you haven't already.

There are different techniques in feltmaking.

Wet Felting:

To make wet felt, layers of wool are spread out onto a plastic piece of bubble wrap, wet with hot soapy water and agitated until they hold together as a fabric. What happens here is that the wool fibers have scales, opening up with hot water and soap and through friction they will hook into each other. This is called felting.

I used wet felting to make this kangooroo rug


Dry Felting or Needle Felting

Another form of felt making is the dry felting, also called needle felting, where special felting needles are used to felt the wool together. The needles, which have hooks, are moved up and down into the wool. This created the friction and the fibers hook into one another, which makes them felt together. Needle felting creates a much more softer and fluffier felt than wet felting. You can however make harder items by using courser wool and felt it really long.

In this wall panels "clefts" I used both wet felting and needle felting.

Nuno Felting

Nuno felt is made using one of the 2 techniques above and instead of using only wool, a sheer fabric is used in between the wool layers. With nuno felting it is possible to make a much more thinner felt, because the fabric holds the wool together. You can cover the fabric everywhere so that you don't see the fabric anymore, or you can add bits of wool here and there and it is possible to create wonderful textures with this. It is a big favorite of mine.

Check out this purple nuno felted scarf in my etsy shop.

Come and check out soon for tutorials about feltmaking or follow my blog.


Pilo said...

Nice work. Very beautiful. Very inviting. nosle.com pilo

yvette said...

Is this the logpost about working with felt????


sagar said...

Good really innovative designs.. Good design..


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