When you think about it, felt is an amazing substance.
Born from wool, it takes just a little bit of water, beating with reeds, and a ride behind a horse and you have the fabric called felt. Or, to save on the cost of a horse, you can just throw wool into a hot wash and out comes felt. Felt is used everywhere: on your instruments, in your car and home, in your childhood toys, or your warm hats, on your billiard tables, in blankets and mattresses, and those are the only examples I can think of right now.
However, felt has never been considered a luxury fabric; and subsequently, never is first to be chosen when creating clothing or art. Yet the kids at the Textile Arts Center’s camp made these beautiful little felt sculptures that got me to thinking whether or not any mature artists utilize felt in their artistic process.
Tristin Lowe’s work is simple but powerful. He uses natural white felt to create his life-sized masterpieces.
This whale is made entirely out of felt and is life-size. Look at the fantastic detail that went into the little barnacles that permanently attach themselves to the whale’s body.
Another large-scale artwork is his Lunar piece.
Dana Barnes is no stranger to fabrics. As a veteran sportswear clothing designer for Elie Tahari, Adrienne Vittadini and Tommy Hilfiger she has been exposed to fabrics more complicated than felt. But when her downstairs neighbors started to complain that her children were making a racket running back and forth through their loft she came up with a “feltastic” solution. She started to create large felt rugs to muffle the sounds of her children running. The process is communal and creates very beautiful rugs.
Dana was reviewed in the NY Times in May. To read this review click here.