Written by: Carmen Ditzler
This is not dollar store craft felt! It’s called Wet Felting. Felt is at home, on a high fashion runway as wearable art, in a costume for Cirque de Soleil, as a humble pair of slippers at home, as well as on the steppes of Mongolia.
Felt is the traditional material used by the nomads of Mongolia for their homes- called a Ger- (sometimes referred to as yurts). For basic felt a washed and combed wool such as Merino is laid out in overlapping layers onto bubble wrap. It is then wet with warm soapy water and compressed with another layer of plastic. The water and soap and rubbing or rolling open-up the scales of the wool fibres which then grab onto each other forming a delicate fabric called pre-felt. Then the process of fulling involves more rubbing, throwing, and rolling, causing the wool fibres to pull toward each other and shrink which creates a strong fabric at any thickness. When you see a finished felt piece imagine it up to 100% larger when it started! This process of felting and shrinking can be manipulated to create an infinite number of objects and any thickness of fabric. The colours combine but don’t mix like paint does and layers of colour and texture can be combined for fantastic results.
Enter the world of wet felt and you’ll be captivated!
Carmen is passionate about all things fibre arts related but in particular,with wet felting. She has been making felt for eight years and is a member of Felt-Feutre Canada- an organization dedicated toward the development of felt arts in Canada. Carmen also loves to share the fun of wet felting with others by teaching classes. Students refer to her as a funny, engaging, patient and skilled teacher. You can see some of her work at www.carmenditzler.com