Monthly Archives: August 2015

Innovation in New Zealand Part 2

The Textile and Design Lab, which is where the FeltLOOM is housed, also hosted two 1-day felting workshops in April that were taught by Lanette and Don and attended by staff, students. and experienced felters from the private sector. Participants were given an explanation of the machine’s capabilities and operating procedures before creating their own experimental pieces of felted materials.

Lanette teaching at AUT workshop.

Don and Lanette were especially interested in the technical textile work at AUT. Donna Cleveland, a doctoral student at AUT, had visited Don and Lanette in Kentucky in the fall of 2014, tried the machine with recycled, shredded fabric that she had brought, and discussed her experiments in electrical conductivity through fiber. She inspired the purchase of the FeltLOOM by AUT, hoping that the needles would not damage the wire they planned to embed in fabric. In the AUT lab Don and Lanette were able to see how Donna and a group of students, are working with various fibers and testing electrical conductivity through fabrics built on the FeltLOOM. Not only did the embedded knitted copper wire conduct electricity, but so did the stainless steel fibers, which were not woven. The soft, flexible stainless steel wire was so fine that the group was able to create the delicate ruffles shown here. Don said, “We had never seen that done before and were very impressed with the design aesthetics.”

This flowing material is embedded with stainless steel wires that are capable of conducting electricity

Donna Cleveland is shown here with one of her wire embedded textiles.

As full as their trip was, Lanette and Don were able to enjoy some time with FeltLOOM owners. Lanette is shown here with owner and alpaca breeder Faye Christie in Faye’s beautiful garden, which is extensive and inspired Lanette. “She’s a great gardener, and her garden just touched me because I felt like I was in the Garden of Eden….She had everything in there that she needed to live on.”

They also were able to spend several days with owners Christine and Ross Edwards, shown here. Besides being owners, the Edwards act as agents for FeltLOOM in New Zealand and can be reached through their website.

The entire trip was a delight. Not only did Don and Lanette help introduce the FeltLOOM to the public, they also saw that it was being used in new ways as a tool for the sustainable use of materials, and they experienced the open friendliness of the people of New Zealand. Lanette expressed that experience, “Everyplace we went people helped us. They were wonderful… and treated us like we were their friends.”

Innovation in New Zealand Part 1

“It was the trip of a lifetime!” says Lanette Freitag about the three weeks in April that she and Don Bowles, owners of FeltLOOM™ Inc., spent in New Zealand at the invitation of Auckland University (AUT). “AUT invited us to come be part of the GoGreen Expo with them and to showcase the FeltLOOM as a sustainable piece of equipment that would help reuse textiles, or develop textiles in a different way.”

Besides joining with AUT in introducing the FeltLOOM to the public, Lanette and Don met with owners, taught two 1-day felting workshops, and met with professors and students at two universities who are using the FeltLOOM for innovative textile projects.

Lanette and Don’s first stop in New Zealand was Massey University in Wellington, where textile professor Dr. Sandy Heffernan, who was responsible for purchasing the FeltLOOM at Massey, took them under her wing, showing them around and seeing that they had comfortable accommodations and had a sense of what there was to do in the city.

At Massey Don and Lanette also met two students who were receiving their masters degrees in textiles and had made use of the FeltLOOM’s unique capabilities in their masters projects. One student, Hannah Hutchinson, worked with an industry partner, Classic Sheepskins, to identify how to best utilize wool waste generated through the manufacturing process of sheepskin tanning. Her project was based on adding value to wool waste. She is pictured here with a one of the beautiful pieces she created on the FeltLOOM using wool that was too short or had other problems that made it unsuitable for traditional uses.

 A second student, Juran Kim used the FeltLOOM to explore the impact of designing a textile and garment without the use of seams, a tactic originally motivated by desire to reduce waste in garment production. Kim’s design-centric research contributes a new fashion aesthetic aligned to the “slow fashion” movement. She is shown here with a seamless garment of her creation, made possible through the use of the FeltLOOM.

After leaving Massey University Lanette and Don went on to AUT in Auckland where they joined the university in showcasing the FeltLOOM at the GoGreen Expo, which is New Zealand’s largest organic, sustainability green and healthy products & services expo.

Don at GoGreen Expo working with student Michele Peddie.