Wet-Felting is a process of making fabric that predates the development of weaving in ancient societies. It was most popular among people who lived along the route from the Middle East to China and is still a medium used today to make clothing, hats and cover homes, as it is unsurpassed for its ability to insulate against the cold and resist both fire and water.
There are various methods for making felt and the two most popular are needle-felting and wet-felting. Wet-Felting uses hot water to open the wool follicle, which looks a bit like a long pine-cone if seen through a microscope. The wool is then agitated, rolled or rubbed until it becomes densely tangled on itself (“felting”), at which point, it is rinsed and thrown (“fulling”), to make the follicle contract and make the fabric more dense. Felt is a durable material that is naturally stain-repellant and easy to maintain.
Nuno felting is a recent term that describes the process of felting wool through woven materials, usually a porous silk such as gauze or chiffon. This allows for different painterly and sculptural effects and creates a lighter overall scarf than traditional all-wool felt.
Ancient crafts like feltmaking need to be appreciated by a wider audience. Contact me for talks, demos & workshops for children & adults; schools & individual projects.