Friday, May 1, 2009

wow, the nyt has discovered

what you and i have known all along

Humble Fabric Takes Center Stage
Felt is the feel-good fabric of all time. Sturdy, cosseting, beautiful, shape-shifting, dye-friendly, it serves many purposes and offers countless pleasures. Some but certainly not all of its latest uses are outlined in “Fashioning Felt,” an illuminating exhibition of around 70 items — mostly furnishings and garments — at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. Felt’s purely artistic possibilities are also being explored in scattered shows at New York galleries.
Though you may never have thought much about felt, there’s a lot more to it than you’d expect. One of the first manmade textiles, it requires almost no special tools, certainly not a loom. It began to be made 8,000 years ago, a millennium before the earliest forms of weaving. Its fairly unadulterated natural ingredients were and remain animal wool, soap and water mashed into a kind of pulp (initially by bare feet), then dried under pressure and made into everything from caps to rugs and capes to yurts............
A detail of Janice Arnold’s installation, “Palace Yurt.” Felt’s history began 8,000 years ago, before the earliest forms of weaving. Created from animal wool, soap and water and mashed into pulp, felt is then dried and made into everything from caps to rugs and capes to yurts.

Photo: Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times


Janice said...

Re: Fashioning Felt: Just a few comments about your discussion of the process for making Felt. There are 3 basic principles, which have remained constant since the beginning: Moisture, agitation and pressure. Wool is a unique fiber(thanks to the sheep and millions of years of evolution, resulting in an amazing heating and cooling system). Wool fibers matt, condense and shrink when the 3 principles above are employed, creating the textile we call Felt. There is no pulp or mashing in the process, altho it is a common misconception that it is somehow like paper. You can tear paper, you cannot tear Felt. Janice Arnold/ Palace Yurt Artist

a rose is a rose said...

thanks for the info janice, and like i said, FELT IS WICKED COOL