chapter ii

chapter ii

8.27.2009

When I Grow Up I Want to Live in a Yurt

And I'd never felt this way before. If only Barbie had seen the felt exhibit at the Cooper-Hewitt she would have known to make her dream house from the material.

Move over Skipper and Malibu Barbie, Yurt Barbie's moved to town...
Here are some things I never knew about a material I never thought about:

-Felt is one of the most ancient, primitive materials thought to be around 8,000 years old
-It is made by applying water and energy to fiber, only wool will felt because the outer surface has to be capable of interlocking its fibers
-It is both a noun and a verb because it is a material and a process simultaneously.

-It is considered to be a "proto-plastic" because it can be thin and flexible or dense, thick, and even hard.
-There's no discernible grain or direction, no front or back.
-It can be manipulated into 3 dimensions. Hats for instance are made by shrinking and hardening wool around wooden forms or hat blocks.
-It is surprisingly beautiful.

And while this picture (below) may not be so pretty, it reminded me of what our hiking guides from last summer in Canada must make with their dogs' shed fur. I have a good feeling it looks a bit like this tickley bench cover. Dave and Brenda would love yurts.
The few pictures I did snap were unbeknownst to the security guys
This oragami chair, above, was made from a single square of felt. No sewing.

but I was free to take pictures in the Yurt which is a Mongolian royal tent that served as a gathering place for rituals, oral traditions, song, dance, poetry, etc. I think it may have even neutralized some of the spiciness on my face with its magical powers.


I had been told from day 1 in New York to go see this place and am so glad that I did. There's such a difference between seeing something second hand in a book or online and actually experiencing it yourself. You can't really explain to someone else the feeling of sitting in a yurt when that word doesn't exist in their vocabulary or yours for that matter. I'll just say it was worth every bead of sweat on the way there, every sting on my face, and every water soaked item in my purse from that bottle of water I bought when I was lost in the middle of the park, oh and every drop of rain that wasn't stopped by the umbrella that I didn't bring.

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