I started FELT as a studio and a label in the year 2000 following research for an exhibition that I curated for the Textile Museum of Canada. It was through this project that looked at industrial felt through social history and artist projects (fodder for another post) that I discovered the rich scope and possibilities for the material. This inspiration, along with my experience as an artist and a maker, merged with a timely return to my hometown of Toronto where re-connecting with family reminded me that felt is in my blood, so to speak.
My great grandfather immigrated to Canada from Germany in 1893 and started a company importing felt from his homeland. Armed with an entrepreneurial spirit, he saw opportunity for felt in this growing industrialized country with a cold climate. He set up shop in Montreal and as business evolved he began working closely with North American mills acting as a manufacturer’s agent for felt and felt products. The company has passed on through my grandfather, my father and my brother with operations now in Toronto. As the economy changed through the 1990s with much manufacturing moving offshore, and cheaper materials replacing felt, it was hard to be a middleman in the industry. So, the family business moved into the twenty-first century with newer materials in similar markets. And, I work as a free agent aiming to inspire continued interest in industrial felt.
I designed the logo for my company, FELT, using black rectangular bars. The letters are not of a font, rather they are built from a series of building blocks with the intention of giving the impression of modern felt—industrial felt manufactured by machine, in standardized sheets and rolls. The form of this logo also reflects most of my designs made largely from squares and rectangles resulting in straight edges and minimalist lines.
As a label, FELT refers to the material itself, as a verb and as a brand, FELT can also refer to personal experience.