Felt Lace X-Change was designed by Paula Verbeek-Cowart in 2008, and was woven by Oriole Mill, founded by Bethanne Knudson and Stephan Michelson in Hendersonville, North Carolina in 2006. The mill offers custom woven and designed textiles, focusing on quality, rather than quantity and speed, in the production process. They are dedicated to making the finest jacquard and dobby fabrics from natural fibers and ultimately hope to lead a resurgence of small artisanal mills in this once vibrant textile-making area of the country. One of the outcomes of opening the mill has been the formation of Studio Structure by Knudson and Pauline Verbeek-Cowart. Felt Lace X-Change reflects the mission of the mill in its craftsmanship and experimentation with natural fibers and also demonstrates Verbeek-Cowart’s interest in exploring the ways in which wool can be transformed.
Felt Lace X-Change is a double-cloth with an open weave structure that has been woven into four “tubes”. The fabric is then washed and fulled, to achieve a soft felt-like texture, followed by stretching and blocking. After this step, the tubes can be cut or left whole. Both ways create a very three-dimensional cloth that shares the soft and undulating folds of a curtain. The deceptively simple structure, pure and natural color, and fine merino wool fiber give credence to the designers’ and Oriole Mill’s mission and renewed hope for the textile industry in the United States.