Kathryn Sherman - Wearable Artwork


These Shawls are like watercolors – lots of happy, unrepeatable accidents. During the felting process, the wool goes, where it wants to go and shrinks in all different, unexpected direction. They make fantastic gifts, especially for Christmas and Mother’s Day, but because they are relatively unknown in Calgary, we have to make sure that more and more people know about it. In Europe, ( UK, Scotland, Ireland) they are very popular, because people have sheep farms.

They are extremely durable, you can pull them, wash them, iron and wear them every day and do not have to be delicate handling them, because in order to create felt, I had to abuse the materials and eventually wash it in almost boiling water. I have few, that I wear all the time. The only thing that might damage it is ironing on too high setting – it will melt the silk.


This shawl was hand made by a local artist in a process called nuno felting, combining silk with cashmere, merino wool, and angora fibers. This process is very labor intensive and time consuming – resulting in a one-of-a-kind work of art.

Care instructions:  Hand wash in cold water. Hang to dry. If necessary, iron on a low (silk) setting while still damp.


Nuno felting

Nuno felting is a fabric felting technique developed by Polly Stirling, a fiber artist from New South Wales, Australia, around 1992. The name is derived from the Japanese word "nuno" meaning cloth. The technique bonds loose fibre, usually wool, into a sheer fabric such as silk gauze, creating a lightweight felt. The fibres can completely cover the background fabric, or they may be used as a decorative design that allows the backing fabric to show. Nuno felting often incorporates several layers of loose fibres combined to build up colour, texture, and/or design elements in the finished fabric.

The nuno felting process is particularly suitable for creating lightweight fabrics used to make clothing. The use of silk or other stable fabric in the felt creates fabric that will not stretch out of shape. Fabrics such as nylon, muslin, or other open weaves can be used as the felting background, resulting in a wide range of textural effects and colours.

Nuno felt is an extremely versatile created fabric. It can be made in many weights to accommodate many different uses. It can be made much lighter in weight than traditional all-wool felt accounting for its wonderful movement and drape. Because of the range of weights possible with the cloth very fashionable and exciting garments can be made.

You would make a very light weight nuno fabric by laying one layer of loose fiber onto an open weave fabric base, thus being suitable for a summer dress. A much heavier nuno fabric results from laying 3-4 layers of loose fibers onto an open weave base making fabric suitable for a winter coat. A pair of boots could be made using even more layers of fibers.

Wool is only one kind of fiber that can be used in making this nonwoven cloth. There are hundreds of different wools and fibers to choose from, each with its own unique properties and handling abilities. Different fibers create different surface textures. Other types of fiber that will felt other than sheep's wool are: camel, llama, alpaca, Mohair goat, Cashmere goat, yak, Angora rabbit, beaver, dog, cat, human hair (think dredlocks).


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