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It Has To Be Felt

This is an article about big concepts affecting the global economy.

This a story about four balls I made out of felt.

This is a letter written in an alphabet that doesn’t exist.

These are some feelings I have on the relationships between abundance, scarcity, partnership and domination.

2 x 2 Matrices are Dumb

I tried to be a normal consultant for a little while (those who know me, please stop laughing) to explore these feelings. I did a 2 x 2 matrix and everything.

It’s pretty awesome, right? Wrong. For starters, all models are wrong. But also because mapping profoundly interconnected, dynamic ideas onto a flat giant sticky flip-chart using coloured chalk is simply not workable.

Which brings me to felt.

I’m using felt as both a noun and a verb here (and I thank English for a confusing fact that is oddly helpful here.)

The Source of the Felt It all started with a conversation with Eli Ingraham as we prepared for a live interview as part of a speaker series with Women4Solutions. We were exploring the theme of corporate purpose and how companies often say it’s one thing while they do another (you can see the interview here). We determined that as long as we’re coming from a place of scarcity and control, all the sustainability efforts in the world won’t make much difference.

Even as I’m writing this, words feel like the wrong instrument. They can be interpreted in infinite ways. It’s problematic. Yet words are some of the most accessible and frequently-used mechanisms we have to do… stuff. (Stuff? Arg. I’m imploding here.) No words I write will say what needs to be said. Which brings me back to felt.

Felt as noun and verb Felt is the fabric or surface that results when wool is matted. It is one of the only ways to make fabric without yarn (another is using animal skin; 3-D printing is a recent add to the options). Felt can be created by wetting, heating, sudsing and pressuring wool, also known as “wet-felting”. It can also be created using a barbed needle poked repeatedly into dry wool, a technique known as “needle-felting”.

I’ve had fun with both over the years but today I’m talking about needle-felting.

This woolly felt is a noun.

Sometimes we have feelings or sensations. We feel them, which means they are felt — the simple past tense or past participle of the verb, “to feel”.

Felt: More Than A Feeling

The fun thing about felt (noun) is that to make it, it has to be felt (verb). It gets even more fun when you felt a feeling. (I warned you right off the top that I’m writing something in an alphabet that doesn’t exist so you’ll just have to bear with me.)

You know what? Why don’t I just show you and you can see for yourself how you feel. Click here for a 3-minute video that will probably explain even less but might leave you feeling … something?

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