Making of wool felt
Felt is made by manipulating wool fibres by washing, matting, condensing and pressing them together.
To prepare the wool fibres they must be agitated, and this is done by washing and hanging them to dry. During this process the fibres can also be naturally dyed. Once the fibres are ready, those used for the pattern are placed by hand on a reed mat by eye to make the necessary measurements. This results in each pattern having a truly unique look. The pattern is then covered with a layer of wool fibres that will become the background, and is then further covered by more layers of fibres. As these layers are being added the wool fibres are sprinkled with olive oil soap water to help the fibres matt and condense. Once all the layers have been placed, the product is then rolled tightly, and then undergoes a few hours of “kicking”.
Kicking is when the rolled felt is placed on a raised table where the artisan uses their body weight by pounding their chest and arms for a few hours to activate the shrinking process. Turkish baths (hamam) were the ideal location for many of the felt making because of the heat benefits on the shrinking process. The product is then unrolled, the edges are trimmed and the pattern may be adjusted for the last time. The product is re-rolled to undergo another round of a few hours of kicking. Owing to the physical demands of kicking, a machine was created in the 1950s to assist with this process; some artisans prefer to continue kicking the traditional way.
L U M I N E A believes in the importance of maintaining the history of wool felt and the techniques as the best means to preserve this craftsmanship. A handmade product enables L U M I N E A to guarantee the uniqueness of each product made under the brand.