Heartfelt For Felt
Let me introduce you to a little material that has been around for years, is made from renewable resources, is soft to touch and can provide shelter from the rain. Is there really such a wonder material? Indeed there is. Meet my new friend – felt. It’s up there with my other good friend, cork.
Felt you say? Isn’t that the brightly coloured stuff that you use to create your crafty works as a five year old? Yes, that is felt but it is actually much more than that.
Felt is a textile made from wool and is produced by wetting and condensing its fibres. This process is known as wet felting. This is done with a liquid (such as water), a lubricant (often soap) and some form of agitation to entangle the fibres. It can be manufactured commercially in large volumes or by hand (with a lot of elbow grease) for smaller quantities.
Felt is used in many different industries and products. From housing to cars to musical instruments to footwear, felt has a wide range of uses. Whilst there is still debate as to its origins, feltmaking is undoubtedly an ancient technique and has traditionally been used by nomadic peoples in Asia for many years.
Although an ancient tradition, felt has only recently experienced popularity in the mainstream consumer market. We are seeing it used in industries such as furniture, homewares, clothing and footwear. This soft, tactile and renewable material is a great alternative to less sustainable textiles and plastics.
Main image: Bastet78 via Wikipedia