I started FELT as a studio and a label in the year 2000 inspired by the exhibition I curated for the Textile Museum of Canada (see Beaver Hats to Hockey Pads). The discovery of the material's rich scope, 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 brought back the fact that felt is in my blood, so to speak.
My great grandfather immigrated to Canada from Germany in 1887 and founded a company, E.F.Walter Ltd in 1893, 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 began working with North American mills acting as a manufacturer’s agent for felt and felt products. His company was passed on through my grandfather, my father and my brother with operations now in Toronto. As the economy changed through the 1990s with much North American manufacturing moving offshore and cheaper materials replacing felt, the family business moved into the twenty-first century with newer materials in similar markets. I remain a free agent for felt, continuing to find breadth and depth in this rich material.
I designed the FELT logo using black rectangular bars. The letters are not of a font, rather they are built from a series of blocks with the intention of giving the impression of modern felt, manufactured by machine, standardized in rolls and sheets. The logo also reflects my design tendency towards square and rectangular shapes resulting in straight edges, clean lines and minimalist forms. KW