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Shops + Makers: Lynsey Walters
See how this artist uses centuries-old material from the highlands of Scotland to create modern heirlooms for tomorrow.
Written, Photographed, and Styled by Jen O’Connor of Earth Angels Studios

The holiday season is laden with traditions. Best among them are those simple and lovely ways that we mark the season with good cheer. Handmade goodies are one of these gestures that stand the test of time. While we can’t all handcraft gifts for everyone on our list, we can give the gift of handmade as often as possible.

Artist and jewelry designer Lynsey Walters specializes in exactly this. And her medium is one of the most charming of all for the holidays: felt. For more than 16 years, she has made felt into all manner of colorful brooches, bracelets, necklaces, scarves and more, all adorned with her signature wool felted beads and die-cut shapes inspired by nature.

Lynsey sees felt’s promise in her new cherry red- and evergreen-hued baubles and holly-inspired creations.
Felt is considered to be the world’s oldest textile. Ancient man required no loom or thread to make it, just fur or animal hair that could be pressed and matted down. Wool is a natural fiber that works well to make felt; it’s been used for a millennium to make the fabric at the foundation of so many Scottish crafting traditions.

Why felt? For one, its tactile nature has fresh appeal. Lovely to touch, with a thick lushness, felt is irresistible. Its charms are many and it exudes richness; it suits the sparkle and nostalgic joy of the holidays. Now working in an Edinburgh studio steps from her home, Lynsey says that she came to felt as her medium by way of a happy accident.

During her early days as a textile artist, she had been knitting with a mix of fibers and, when a batch got dumped into a washing machine, a little ball of mohair wool came out as a wool felt bead. She knew then that she would try to recreate that moment and use more felt balls as beads for jewelry-making.

Newest among Lynsey’s works are her holly-themed creations. They make perfect gifts that celebrate the long history of Scottish crafting and the simple joys of a handmade holiday.

The discovery of felt itself is explained in a legendary tale of St. Clement of Rome stuffing his sandals with wool fibers to ease his comfort on a long walk. With the combination of perspiration and friction, the fibers bonded and made a mat-like fabric—another happy accident!


The artist’s work is available in the U.S. at earthangelsstudios.com.