Based in Atlanta, Georgia, fiber artist Rachel Frey, trained at the Savannah College of Art and Design, creates felted pieces of all sizes. Inspired by the way light interacts with its environments, her curiosity and connection with nature has continuously guided her art. Rachel’s feltings are strong structures that have been formed through a process of mixing and arranging many thin layers of wool roving to create its composition. Her technique allows her to uniquely evoke the soft brushstrokes of watercolor paint with sheep's wool. Rachel’s methods are led and inspired by ethics and sustainability.
It is thought that felt may be the oldest fabric known to humans, originally used for rugs, tents, and clothing by nomads.
The process of felting involves a great deal of time and labor. The wool is sheered from the sheep and is then carefully washed and brushed, in this state the wool is called roving. The roving can now be dyed and easily pulled apart and laid out to create any shape or design. Once the design is laid out, the felting process begins. There are two different techniques that can be used.
Wet felting is when hot water and soap are poured over the roving and friction from vigorously rubbing causes the individual fibers to knot together and form a solid, strong textile.
Needle felting involves a needle that has very small notches along its side to catch the fibers and tangle them together to create a solid structure.
Some of felts many qualities include being flame retardant, sound insulating, thermal insulating, absorbent, does not unravel, and it is renewable and environmentally friendly.