Once, on a craft fair, one of my clients asked me, what my products are made of. I replied that they are made of wool. The client said: “I thought it is felt!”. Actually, we were both right.
Many people ask me, how felt is produced. As not all of you have a spare time to take part in felting classes (and not everyone would like to do so), I will describe briefly the process of creating this material.
In my studio, felt is made by hand by rubbing the wool fibers. First, I spread them on a flat surface to obtain the desired shape. Then I pour it over with warm soapy water. Finally, I cover it with bubble wrap (so that the bubbled side touches the wool) and I rub it with my hands. After some time (depending on the product being created) I get a piece of woolen material, that is felt. At a further stage I shape it again by kneading, rubbing, rolling (sometimes even cutting and stretching) to give the product its final shape.
Seems easy? In fact, it is! Creating felt is not complicated, thought it is laborious. Simple felt decorations can be made by anyone, even by a small child or the least gifted person (although I believe such person does not exist). The difficulties begin, when it comes to design and manufacture more complex, three-dimensional products, when wool is often combined with other materials (usually with silk). But I will tell you about it in one of the next posts!