I use the process of Wet Felting to make hats. I place layers of Merino wool fiber around a thin resist. Then, I add embellishments of silk fibers and hand-dyed fabrics. I sprinkle soapy water and roll in bubble wrap, increasing pressure as the fibers shrink and become fabric. Next, I knead the felt down. As it shrinks, I check the size. When satisfied, I rinse the soap out. The sculpting stage is the fun part; I arrange the felt on a hat block. When dry, I sew grosgrain ribbon, care label, and tag inside of the hat.
Once upon a time, Juliane Gorman studied at the Rhode Island School of Design, where she graduated with a BFA in Textiles. Afterwards, she took millinery classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology. However, like many graduates, her creative devotions hibernated while she pursued jobs and family.
Serendipitously, twelve years ago, she saw a felted bracelet at a craft fair. Looking for a DIY book on the subject, she instead found one explaining how to make felted hats. The process of feltmaking seemed elegantly straightforward: sprinkle soapy water onto wool roving. Then, massage to shrink the fluffy, Merino wool into sculptural, water-resistant hats. This discovery of the magic of wet felting was Juliane’s eureka moment: here, she found a craft that combined her love of colorful fiber, with her passion for hats.
Since that fateful meeting, Juliane has strived to create hats that are comfortable, flattering, and with a touch of whimsy. Her inspiration usually comes from nature: whether it is the magnificence of the ocean or that of a simple ripe strawberry. One of her favorite aspects of creating headwear is observing at craft fairs how so many clients’ eyes widen with pleasure when they try on hats. Amazingly, both the hat and the wearer transform when combined. The wearer’s face completes the composition.
Juliane’s Hat Styles range from everyday wearables to fantasy concoctions and include chic berets, cozy cloches, snazzy fedoras, and magical wizard hats. This year, she is introducing a collection of felted neck warmers.
You can find Juliane’s practical and fantastical work under her FeltHappiness label, with hats in private collections in Australia, Asia, Europe, and North America. Additionally, she exhibits locally and internationally.
To see more, visit https://felthappiness.com