I started FELT as a studio and a label in the year 2000 following the exhibition I curated for the Textile Museum of Canada (see Beaver Hats to Hockey Pads: A Social History of Felt in Canada) inspired by my family connection to this material.
My great grandfather immigrated to Canada from Germany and founded E.F.Walter Ltd in 1893 with an import of felt from his homeland. Armed with an entrepreneurial spirit, he saw opportunity for this material in a growing industrialized country. He set up shop in Montreal and began working with North American mills. The business ultimately moved to Toronto in the 1950s as a manufacturer’s agent for felt and felt products working primarily with Rumpel Felt in Kitchener Ontario. As the economy changed through the 1990s with much North American manufacturing moving offshore and cheaper materials replacing felt, the family business pivoted into other markets with the new millennium. I remain a free agent for felt, supporting local manufacturing, and 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're built from a series of blocks intending to give the impression of modern felt, manufactured by machine, standardized in rolls and sheets. The logo also reflects my tendency to work with squares and rectangles, finding creativity in the limits of form, that result in straight edges, clean lines and a minimalist aesthetic. KW