Juliane Gorman first felted as a student at the Rhode Island School of Design. It was an extracurricular, haphazard affair, where she danced and threw snow upon the fibers. Not like the structured weaving on looms that had drawn her to study textiles. Her senior project was a series of sculptural headdresses out of paper, metal and silk. Soft and functional felt was not among the materials. A few years later, she studied proper millinery under Ann Albrizio at Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.
For many years the enchantment of felt and hats lay dormant. Serendipitously, Juliane borrowed a library book on wet felting hats. It was her eureka moment: an immediate and forgiving craft which combined her love of colorful fiber, with her passion for hats. Felting fills her with happiness and hence FeltHappiness came about. Her hat inspiration comes from diverse sources – from the treasures of English hedgerows, to the dazzle of New York City’s lights.
With every piece that Juliane creates, wool comes alive. Wool is a natural fiber with magical properties. Imagine, it resists fire and water, yet it insulates and breathes and is sustainable too. A transformation occurs as she kneads and massages the wet fibers into a strong, flexible non-woven fabric, which she shapes and drapes into hats. She combines the fantastical with the practical to create a wearable art that flatters a face and keeps a head warm. Additionally, her FeltHappiness hats allow walking and encourage dancing.
Like her inspirations, Juliane has ranged geographically: born in NYC and raised in its suburbs, she moved to San Francisco (CA) as an adult, then a short hop to nearby Silicon Valley, and then a bigger move to Norwich (UK), where she lived for over a decade. In 2014, she returned to the US and now makes her home outside of Pittsburgh (PA). In her home studio she continues to create her unique felted hats which can be found at FeltHappiness.