Felt – Making Essay

Felt is a non-woven cloth that is produced by matting, condensing and pressing fibers. While some types of felt are very soft, some are tough enough to form construction materials. Felt can be of any color, and made into any shape or size. Felting is one of the oldest textile forms. It is thought to have originated in Asia. There are still some original pieces of felting that were found in central Asia. Some of them are 5000 years old. Felt was used for hats, wall coverings, boots, blankets, yurts and many more things. Wool felt is the earliest known form of textile fabric and played an important part in the life of early man.

Throughout central Asia, where some of the oldest felts have been found, Turkman nomads made their tents, clothes and floor coverings from the material and it consequently became a significant part of many religious rituals. Brides were seated on white felt during marriage ceremonies and animals were sacrificed on it. It was also believed to have magical properties – Mongolian horsemen would hang felt figures inside their tents to bring good luck and to ward off evil spirits and a felt mattress would protect the sleeper from dangerous snakes and scorpions.

Feltmaking was also illustrated as a technical process in Roman times in the mural paintings of the Fuller’s House in Pompeii. Some 30 different types of felt items were found – these included felt rugs, tomb covers, socks and cushions – most are heavily patterned. The largest piece measured 4. 5 x 6. 5 metres – this is now known as the Pazyryk felt and is housed in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. For thousands of years man has practiced his ingenious methods of turning the fleece of the sheep into warm clothing. Loom and spinning wheel have come to stand as the symbols of these skills.

The art of felt making, too, harks back to earliest times. Historical specimens of felt have survived in large numbers and give ample evidence of a degree of inventiveness, aesthetic feeling, and refinement quite unlocked for in the production and use of this material. Caps of thick solid felt from the early Bronze Age are preserved at the National Museum in Copenhagen. These date back some 3500 years and were found in the pre-historic burial mounds of Jutland and North Slesvig. They combine weaving and felting technique as several layers of fabric have been felted into a uniform material by a series of milling treatments.

Everything points to felt manufacture having reached an advanced stage of technical excellence in the European west by the beginning of the Christian era. This may be inferred from the specialized workshops for making felt hats and felt gloves that have been discovered in Pompeii. The early settlement of artisans in the Petersberg quarter at Basle, where leather craftsmen are known to have plied their trade in late Roman times, has also yielded a sole of hare fur felt in a good state of preservation. There is an even more impressive and extensive range of material evidence from eastern countries.

Scythian graves of the fifth century B. C. known as “kurgans” or barrows and found throughout the Russian steppes from the Carpathians to Mongolia have proved veritable treasure houses of the magnificent craftsmanship which the Scythians, that ancient nation of horsemen, developed in felt. Traces also show of Greek, Persian, and Indian influence. Russian archaeologists have found “kurgans” buried deep under permanent ice and snow. As one would expect, perfect saddle felts, an article still associated with the finest craftsmanship, were also produced.

The blue, red, or white saddle blankets discovered in the “second kurgan” at Pasyryk are made of fine, firm but nevertheless resilient felt. Three of these blankets are decorated with an eagle or elk, or with embattled animals, in applique work of coloured felt. Another cloth for placing under the saddle, of thicker but softer felt, also came to light. The floor and the walls of the tombs were lined with black felt, and a folded sheet of the same material covered the bottom of the coffin.

Other objects discovered in the tombs were wooden containers with semi-spherical bottoms and felt rings for supports, and pictorial friezes of felt with many-coloured patterns in thin felt applique. Articles of daily use found in the tombs included a leather bag remarkable for its exquisite shape, and exhibiting on one side a striking border sewn of strips of thin red felt. The felt strips, in turn, were decorated with small copper ducks covered with gold leaf. The head coverings of the dead were of hard thick felt.

The dainty low riding boots of a Scythian woman of high rank also contained a pair of felt socks of the same cut and sewn from two pieces of thin white felt. Other civilizations likewise provide numerous historical instances of the kind. Excavations at Antinoe in Upper Egypt revealed clothing items of wool felt in graves of the Coptic period, goods which possibly reached the Nile valley through trade from Persia. American sinologists have stated that Chinese historical records refer to felt as early as 2300 B. C. China’s warriors equipped themselves with shields, clothes, and hats made of felt, for protection; they also used felt boats. Many cultures have legends as to the origins of feltmaking. Sumerian legend claims that the secret of feltmaking was discovered by Urnamman of Lagash. The story of Saint Clement and Saint Christopher relates that while fleeing from persecution, the men packed their sandals with wool to prevent blisters. At the end of their journey, the movement and sweat had turned the wool into felt socks. Feltmaking is still practiced by nomadic peoples in Central Asia, where rugs, tents and clothing are regularly made.

Some of these are traditional items, such as the classic yurt, while others are designed for the tourist market, such as decorated slippers. In the Western world, felt is widely used as a medium for expression in textile art as well as design, where it has significance as an ecological textile. Purpose of study: Felt is used everywhere from the automotive industry, to children’s story telling, to musical instruments all the way to house building. Felt is foremost a pliable material. It is relatively elastic, so to some degree small dimensional errors can be compensated for.

Highly reliable woolen felt. It has a remarkable ability to maintain its shape, and if deformed it can be easily returned to its original shape. It breathes well, holds water, dyes readily, and has good fluid permeability. Second, it is flexible. Felt can be thick, thin, pliable, or rigid. It has excellent dyeing properties, and can be dyed any color. I have utilized different experimental techniques using the typical techniques to make it more interesting and innovative. I will utilize felt on furniture plus using experiments in techniques to make it more appealing in the market.

This thesis would not only represents the techniques of making felt but would also give a wide understanding of the different experiments to attain experiences not only for me as well to others those are maker of felt. Scope of the study: The project consists of a set of innovative techniques using in making of felt cloth. Products will cater to the market of with a different feel. With the upcoming particular and demanding world, it is easy to impress people with something innovative design and techniques as they demand different, exceptional and uncommon.

Problems Identification: The following are a few problems stated that might occur during the completion of the thesis. • Overall construction of designs • Durability of project Research Methodology: This is an explanatory research based on qualitative and quantitative data collections. The methods that will be used in collecting the data and information include books, internet, related articles, literature, interviews and questionnaires and data analysis. Definition of terms: • Felt: A fabric of matted, compressed animal fibers, such as wool or fur, sometimes mixed with vegetable or synthetic fibers.