Felt is a textile made out of matted wool or hair fibers, and is the oldest known fabric used by humans.  While archeological findings have been made in much of Europe and Asia, the art was undeniably centered around the nomadic tribes of the Asian interior.  These nomads depend on felt for clothing, tents and numerous other coverings.  

Unlike similar processes using plant fibers (ie. tapa cloth), felt is made through a mechanical process, rather than chemical.  Therefore, the finished product is amazingly durable and tough.  Wool is conducive to felting because of its microstructure, which contains scales.  In the wet felting process, the scales are opened with moisture and heat while agitation inextricably locks them together to form the fabric.  Felt can also be made with barbed needles adapted from industrial machines.  A combination of these methods produces infinite possibilities!  

To make felt, I simply layer loose, cleaned wool fiber in a desired shape and sprinkle it with soapy water.  I like to cover it with window screening to protect the layout of the fiber, and then rub it with my hands.  Once a soft fabric is formed, I remove the screen and add colored wool in a desired image or pattern, and begin to roll and knead the piece as a single entity.  The scales of all the fiber begin to lock together to form an incredibly strong fabric, forever holding the image in place.                                                                                                                   

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