THE TECHNIQUE : FELTS
Friends Handicrafts in Nepal employs talented women artisans who use ancient techniques to create beautiful felt products. Felt is a material that has been used in the Himalayas for generations to protect from the harsh elements, but until recently there was not a developed industry for felt products in Nepal.
Felt is unique from other textiles because it is not knitted or woven. Instead, it is made from matted wool, manipulated with soap and water to create the desired shape. After the felt items are shaped, they are dried in the sun. Once dry, the artisans sew and embroider the felt to turn it into ornaments, stuffed animals, accessories, and more.
Friends Handicrafts fights urban poverty in Nepal by training and employing female heads-of-household in the art of felting. As urbanization throughout the country continues to outpace economic growth, the reality of employment opportunities in cities like Kathmandu is becoming increasingly bleak. The sales of these felt products Friends provide meaningful work, enabling the artisans to provide food and education for their children. In addition, Friends Handicrafts supports skills training and income generation programs for its artisans.