Nepal is known for its rich culture and heritage, and one of its significant contributions to the world is its handicraft industry. Felt-making is a traditional craft that has been practiced in Nepal for centuries. In Nepal, the production of handicrafts is an age-old practice. For the last 25–30 years, the export of felt handicrafts has been growing. Felt Handicrafts are one of Nepal’s signature products and netted the country Rs5.4 billion in export earnings in 2020 and 2021. Felt Handicraft development aids in the preservation of the country’s national heritage and culture, which in turn helps to alleviate poverty by creating job opportunities. Handicraft felt is made from wool fibers that are processed and felted using traditional methods. In Nepal, felt-making is predominantly practiced by the people living in rural areas, and it is considered an essential source of income for them.
How felt handicrafts are made by local artisan?
The process of making felt involves cleaning and carding the wool fibers, then layering them on top of each other in a specific pattern. The wool is then wetted with hot water and rolled repeatedly to compress the fibers, causing them to entangle and form a solid piece of felt. Nepali felt handicrafts come in various forms, including hats, bags, slippers, and many other products.
Felt Handicrafts are unique and creative items made by local artisans using their traditional techniques, skills, and creativity. These felt crafts are usually made in a small-scale, decentralized production process that emphasizes the artisan’s individuality, creativity, and cultural heritage. The process begins with the artisan conceptualizing the design and planning the necessary materials. They often use natural materials such as wood, clay, metal, and fibers, and may incorporate recycled or upcycled materials as well.
The next step is to prepare the felt materials by cutting, shaping, water felting or needling. Artisans typically use hand tools, such as scissors, water, soap, and needles to create the final product. The artisan may take great care to ensure that the item is crafted with precision and attention to detail. Once the item is crafted, it may be decorated with unique designs and patterns.
The final step is to inspect the finished product for quality control. Artisans may take great pride in their work, ensuring that each item meets their standards of quality and craftsmanship. Felt Handicrafts may take longer to produce than mass-produced items, but the finished product is often a unique and high-quality work of art that reflects the artisan’s culture and creativity. Handicrafts are an essential part of local economies and cultural heritage, providing artisans with a livelihood and a means of preserving traditional skills and knowledge.
The handicraft felt industry has created employment opportunities for thousands of Nepali people, especially women who work from their homes and earn a livelihood. Lost Horizon Handicraft inspired to uplift women through creating job opportunities, empowering women to be self-reliant, and utilizing their abilities while focusing on felt production. It’s been more than 22 years since Lost Horizon Handicraft was established. All our felt products are made in Kathmandu and in Chitwan.
The demand for Nepali felt handicrafts has been increasing worldwide due to their unique designs, eco-friendliness, and durability. Many organizations are working to promote and preserve this traditional craft by providing training and support to local artisans and helping them access global markets.