Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Get Felt: The latest textile trend

If you've taken the time to visit my Etsy shop, you'll see that one of my preferred materials when creating jewelry is felt...balls, to be precise. Long ago I saw this necklace and thought it was perhaps the most spectacular thing I had ever seen. I told myself that when I had the resources and the time, I too was going to create lovely things out of felt. Late last year, when I opened oh ginger, I debuted a few very simple but colorful and bold pieces featuring felt balls. The best aspect of using felt is the fact that it's so lightweight, forgiving and durable. The process by which felt balls are created, for example, involves exposing the wool to elements that would destroy or damage jewelry supplies made from other materials.

People have been intrigued by my use of felt, and I have also been intrigued by the varied uses of felt I see in craft and design blogs and magazines. My brother recently sent me a text with a picture from Domino magazine wherein the Editor said that felt was IN and he thought it was awesome that I was so hip. I've also contemplated expanding oh ginger to incorporate other felt crafts from home decor to fashion accessories and even varied use of felt in jewelry projects. I found a really amazing felt supplier, Felt-o-Rama, which sells wool, wool-blend, and even ecologically friendly felt made out of recycled plastic. They also have a small but adorable selection of other felt products and supplies. Felt is really where it's at!

I was unsurprised when I ran across this article in the New York Times by Tim McKeough. In speaking with Susan Brown, an assistant curator at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, McKeough spells out the reasons why felt is having such a bold impact in the art, design and craft fields. The impact has been so great that Brown has curated an exhibit for the CHNDM called "Fashioning Felt"; the exhibit seems to be an almost anthropological assessment and exploration of the myriad of uses of felt, from practical to posh. Brown also takes McKeough on a tour d'felt through NYC and she provides accessible examples of the aesthetic and utilitarian capabilities of felt, including a screen made out of curving/bowed felt and the beehive shaped bowls by Philadelphia designer Mio, which were all over the blogosphere many months ago.
“It’s a little bit liberated from the constraints of other textiles,” [Brown] said. “It’s a really wonderful, yet strange material.”
Felt is a unique, genre-crossing textile that I imagine will continue to be at the forefront of fashion, design and craft for the coming year if not the decade. Etsy features a bounty of sellers who have created just about anything you can think of out of felt, from baby slippers to bags to pillows to novelty items and even jewelry. With websites like Felt-o-Rama making felt financially accessible, it seems to me that crafters will continue to create with it regardless of any pinch the economy might generate in the pockets of artists.

[Poppy photo courtesy of Lupin Handmade!]

2 comments:

  1. I can't wait to barter and end up with felt jewelry!!! I personally think that you should expand into other things with felt.

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  2. Thanks for the mention! As you know, I am totally obsessed with felt :) I hope you continue to enjoy your felty experiments. Lupin x

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