Nuno, a Japanese Technique that means ‘Fabric’
There are more and more people who are fascinated by nuno felt. Great fashiion designers such as Sybilla or Stella McCarteney hace used it in their collections and we can see it in many accessories and items of interior decoration.
When they see my pieces, many people ask me what technique I have used, whether they are really made of felt and how I am capable of drawing with wool:
I suppose that when you hear the word ‘felt’ the type of felt used in school arts and crafts projects comes to your mind. But hand-made felt is something very different: a soft, light fabric made of natural wool that adapts to the body and that is biodegradable.
Nuno is a Japanese word that means fabric. Nuno felting consists of placing thin layers of unspun wool, usually from merino sheep, on top of an open weave fabric, such as silk gauze, although we can also use cotton, viscose, linen or even synthetic fabrics.. During the felting process, the fibres of the wool bind with the fibres of the fabric to form a new light fabric that is ideal for creating fashion garments, accessories, items for the home, textile art, etc. The wool can cover the background fabric completely or form designs on it.
I started to fall in love with nuno felt when I discovered that it allows me to give texture to my works. With this ancient technique I can not only combine different colours, but also use very different fabrics at the same time, or even insert beads, shells, plant leaves, etc, to achieve 3-D structures.
There are many online tutorials on how to make nuno felt, although each textile artist has a particular way of working with it. For me, what is most important is to feel with my hands when the felt has formed on the fabric and to stop felting at that moment.. It’s amazing to feel the transformation of the wool fibres in a soft organic fabric..
I love to use silk as support to make nuno felt, because it has something special, nearly magical. Silk gives colours a luminosity that I cannot achieve with other fabrics, and it can be light and transparent like muslin or chiffon, velvety, or thick and rustic like bourette. I usually combine silk painting and nuno because it allows me to create fantastic compositions.
I hope you have enjoyed this short introduction and that you have a clearer idea now about what nuno and nuno felt are.