DAY 3 Feltmaking

Feltmaking workshop 

Here are some necessary tools and materials needed for felting: 
papier bulle, 1 serviette éponge, 3 gaze synthétique, 4 savon.

Step I

Creating a felt sample, 1st introduction to understand the felting process. 

Step II

Creating a Beret (flat hat)
- making the “non-sewing” : a continue (uninterrupted) layer of felt 
All the non-sewing creations come from the same technique found below : 
the « Chablon » of the berett ou ( the pattern which can be in fabric, soft plastic) pour un béret classique former un cercle de 30 CM – make a circle with a 30 centimeters diameter.
2 On a side, on the horizontal, spread the fibers out lightly connected to obtain an (homogeneous)  even layer. Let the fibers overlap one finger all around the pattern. Wet and flattern with the help of the bubble wrap. Turn the pattern over and pull over the fibers onto the pattern. Repeat the same process on this side.

Step III

Turn the beret over again and pull over the fibers onto the pattern. (on the vertical)

Step IV

Repeat this operation at least 2 or 3 times to obtain a beret sufficiently thick.

Step V 

Prefelting. When the sample is prefelted but not to much, on one side cut a circle of ten or eleven centimeters diameter.This would be the (head) opening of the beret and will geatly increase in size.Gently turn the beret inside out. The pattern should come off easily. When the pattern has come off, smooth out the edges by gently pulling. Press (foulonner), knead (malaxer), roll it from the left to the right. Turn the piece in every direction to avoid any bumps (imperfection) or creases. 

Finish felting 
You should obtain a firm (solid, strong) surface, beret. When you have finished, you should be able to stretch the beret using steam to fit the wearer.

During the pre-felting process, you can add motifs, change the colours, add threads, etc…
Using this basic method, you can create unlimited shapes and designs. 

The samples
To obtain different layer effects (reliefs), put between two layers of felt, buttons, moss, …des effets graphiques.

Workshop "Structure of the wool channel around the notion of living the textile"

On day three Geraldine Cauchy and Krystel Chavigny came to speak to us about their association, Lainamac and introduce us to the structure of the wool channel in Massif Central and Limousin (French Region). The day was focused on the concept of ‘Live in Textile’ and stimulating innovation with wool through new applications/processes and new products. The morning began with an inspiring talk from Geraldine giving an overview of the work of the Lainamac – a network set up to link to wool professionals in Massif Central. She spoke to us about their project ‘Centre Promotion Innovation Habiter Laine’. Krystel Chavigny is a practising artisan from Massif Central - a very skilled feltmaker. Krystel led the practical workshop in feltmaking. Midmorning saw us teasing wool fibres apart and beginning to felt. We began by making sample squares in each wool: merino, texel and a local Massif Central wool; before moving on to a shaped form – a beret. The more advanced feltmakers experiemented developing their own forms. All experimented with colour and texture.

       Lainamac is based in the mountain region of Massif Central (France). CPIHL is a development project based on Wool in favour of artisan and industrial companies. It is dedicated to increasing the volume of activity of artisan and industrial companies, to promote the theme to inhabit textiles, to aid the emergence of new products and to attract new companies. Lainamac work with about 20 companies and associations who are all linked through wool. One of the difficulties that Lainamac hope to overcome, is that there is only one company in France capable of washing (scouring) raw wool. Lainamac is mainly funded through public money (Ministère de la Culture), and through a small income from its companies, by way of alowcost membership fee.

The region has a diverse wool industry producing thread, insulation, mattresses, bedding, wall coverings and interior decoration. Wool is perfectly adapted for homeware design products because of its properties such as thermal, acoustic, nonpolluting, hygroscopic (humidity absorbing), comfort and aesthetic.


CPIHL creates also a platform of research to aid under-exploited processes (felt and woven interiors decoration) to find new applications and markets. One of their ideas is to use wool as a visible insulation material and acoustic regulator (as traditional insulation is usually hidden in the structure of the building)

Example of the pre-felted product: CPIHL is working on a product which don't exists in France until now. It allow to build a collaboration between felt-makers and felt firms, using thin Merino wool. This research is the production of industrial pre-felt as a base for artisanal felt creation. This pre-felt fabric is created with needle.  It makes the felting process faster by jumping a step and allow the craftsman to be concentrated on the creative part of felting. To have an idea, it cost around 10 euro/m (1x2m).

CPIHL is also working on mobile acoustic panel as decorative acoustic regulator. This project assembled the knowledge of an interior designer and an acoustician. The application could be for open-space, offices, cantines, churches or theatre... places where acoustic is important.

Géraldine also presented us the work of a visual artist, called Guillaume Leblong who mades a sculpture-sofa, combining a work of industrial felt and colours. The idea was to create a surface made of felted layers with a play of colours. It promote the wool through a contemporary art network.


This is a project with "Gîtes de France", an organisation which rents tourist accomodation classified by categories. "wool-cocoon" is a new category, created first in the area of Massif Central, to promote wool in gites. The criteria are to provide wool bedding (mattress, pillow and blanket), create an ambiance of quality wool (curtains, carpets, table runner, bedside rug, wall hanging) and be well-informed on the subject of wool in order to promote it (wool properties, local artisans, sheep farms, wool events).
CPIHL, in order to develop this "experience-room", is being created a line of domestic wool products.

Lainamac is the Center of Promotion and Innovation Inhabit Wool (CPIHL), based in the mountain region of Massif Central (France). CPIHL is a development project based on Wool in favor of the artisanal and industrial companies. It is dedicated to artisans and industries in order to increase the volume of activity, to promote the theme inhabit textile, to aid the emergency of new products and to attract new companies.

Workshop story:

Today has been an intense and tiring day... we have been felting! For some of us it was the first time and others are professional felters, so it has been a great exchange of ideas and experiences. We have tried out different combinations of colors, textures and thicknesses.
It was great that we could see some samples from previous felt courses:

Here are some examples of produced work: 

On the felting class we were encouraged  to experiment with different techniques and create samples of our ideas. We worked with wool from the Massif Central in France, coloured Texel wool and also Merino from …. (so many times we have no clue about were the wool comes from! and how many kilometers it has travelled to get to us in the format wished to work on). We were also introduced the prefelt, a wool alredy prepared to start working on and make the felting process faster and easier.
It was an exchange, an individual working and a shared amusement with beginners, intermediate and some professional felters. 
The material we will need on a felting project is really little, just a few simple, cheap tools will help us and make the process faster and easier. Wool is the most important (as local as possible!); water, warm to start with and really hot at the end of the fulling; soap to alkaline and give smoothness to the  agitation; some bubble plastic; towel or sponge (in order not to drawn under all the water what will be used); bamboo mat; scissors… and maybe you’ll find around your workshop some more tools usefull….
Hidden objectes  in between the layers of felt,  worked into felt and cutted out at the end . Resists, to play and texture surfaces.
The felting process starts with layering the wool, crossing the fibers, depending on the wished thickness we will repeat the layering as many times as we want, then we will water all the wool, and start the agitation process, to get the felt really strong we will end up rolling the felt in the bamboo mat. We will be finish at the moment when the felt has lost his elasticity. The n we rinse and dry. And that’s it. Hats really to go!!
Some beautiful  sample, hats and experimentation were the result of this class.