Appropriate constructions for selected materials…

Something was bugging me about “mimicking” a footwear construction meant for one material when using another.  The construction methods used for footwear today have evolved from three areas…

1. the foot

2. the material mainly leather or a leather “sock” covered with fabric

3. the tools and machines to form the leather around the last

But if we look at the properties of the felt material it can stretch, mould and absorb. Wool absorbs unlike leather or fabric.  Wool is made up of keratins, which on a micro level are little tubes. The hollow part of these tubes are called medulla. The Medulla gives the wool it’s thermal properties.  But it also allows for  the tube to be filled with a hardening material. We chose resin, when in liquid state is absorbed into the tubes and then hardens.  But if the fibers laid in a neat orderly way the material could suffer from being brittle.  Wool fibers are “tangled” together in the creation of felt.  This tangling creates an elasticity meaning a resin soaked and dried piece of felt is hard and NOT brittle.

tangled wool fibers in felt

tangled wool fibers in felt

medulla

medullapart soft untreated felt and part resin soaked felt with sanded corner

part soft untreated felt and part resin soaked felt with sanded corner

part soft untreated felt and part resin soaked felt with sanded corner


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