The Felted Art of Flóra Carlile-Kovács
Flóra's work is part of a tradition that in Hungary is called applied arts—the creation of beautiful functional objects. She describes her felt art creations as wearable art. Using an array of colors and textures, she creates hats, scarves, dresses, blouses, vests, handbags, coin purses, ornaments, such as flowers for the hair, and slippers.
Flóra learned the ancient, nomadic ways of felting, as well as the urban style, when she was living in Hungary. Her work has appeared in galleries and exhibitions in Hungary, Germany, Italy, the Czech Republic, and the United States.
After years of experimentation, she says, “I knew I had found my medium—and perhaps my life's profession as well—when I began to recognize the possibilities that working with wool holds in terms of surface textures, densities, and colors, in both two and three dimensions."
When it comes to her personal creative process, Flóra describes working with fabric as a process of constant experimentation—and one that is deeply gratifying.
“Feltmaking is an endless resource for healing, a highly tactile media coupled with the therapy of colors, textures, shapes, the rhythm of creative and repetitive or more physical work phases, the sound of tearing wool, the smell of wet wool, and the warmth of the water. It affects all your senses," she says. "Creating beautiful objects is enhanced when I feel that others can appreciate these magical qualities and processes.”
The felting process begins with unspun wool fibers. Flóra often dyes the wool herself in pots outside of her studio in the Pacific Northwest. Using an ancient textile process, she combines wool fibers, water, and soap, and then vigorously kneads the mixture into the durable, unwoven material called felt.
Flóra sees felt-making as painting and sculpture combined, and she believes that the color combinations and different qualities and applications of wool hold endless possibilities.
As an expressive medium, Flóra describes felt-making as being an instinctual and spontaneous creative process that is perfect for both beginners and veteran felters.
“Making art is a special way to experience and accept the world,” she says. “It's a lifelong dialogue with ourselves. Art helps us to understand ourselves and also to connect to others who think and feel similar to us.”
“Creativity is the basis of my life,” she says. “I'm creative in all my activities, from cooking, raising my children, and gardening, to my everyday work and felt-making. I love functional art being part of everyday life."