WHAT IS FELTING?
Felting is the oldest method of making fabrics which requires neither any tools, nor any equipment. Felts are non-woven fabric, made of combed wool submitted to heat, moisture and pressure or rolling. Felt articles are widely used nowadays, called by the Germans “Filz”, by the English “felt”, by the Russians “войлок /voylok/”, by the Turkish “кeçe”. When combined well with any natural fabric, wool makes a wonderful accessory to everyday outfits or formal clothes. There can be made standard or extravagant hats, scarves, gloves, capes, bags and purses, brooches or hair decorations, jewellery.
In order to make felt articles, the wool has to be fluffy and untwisted. Nowadays, we aim at making as fine and soft fabric as possible. For that purpose, it is good to use merino short-hair wool. Such is the wool of some breeds of sheep raised in Australia and New Zealand.
There are two main techniques of working with wool:
- Dry felt (needle felt)
Needle felt (dry felt) is a technique which uses washed, cleaned and combed wool, a needle and a support. The essence of the technique is the forming of figures by compressing the wool using a special needle. Even the joining of compressed figures and single elements is carried out by means of the needle.
- Wet felt (felting)
Felting (wet felt) is a technique of treating the wool with liquid. To improve the felting process, the liquid is prepared with soap water. This method requires prolonged rolling (at least 100 times in one direction) which can be done manually by pressing until achieving the desired result. The essence of the technology is to form figures by compressing the wet wool with hands.
Nuno-felting is a technique of felting the wool with fabric.
The wool and the fabric become one whole in the process of felting with water and soap and form a new fabric which is durable, flexible, warm and as light as the wind. The result of combining dyed wool and fabric using lots of skills and fantasy is always as unique as a work of art.
Felt articles are very easy to maintain. They are made by washing without the use of any other bonding or adhesive materials – therefore they can be washed and ironed.