JA Felt

sustainability and fair trade commitment

As part of a bicycle tour in China in 1984, JA visited factories and saw difficult working conditions. She recognized the impact that creating throwaway products for western consumers had on local cultural life. JA vowed that if ever she needed to go to a third world country for future work, it would be in a socially responsible manner.

15 years later, the scope of a Felt sculpture project meant that JA had to find additional feltmakers beyond her studio capability. With the help of the Fair Trade Federation she located a Women’s Cooperative in Nepal which was producing small quantities of felt slippers. Consistent with her previous commitment, JA traveled to Nepal and trained 10 women in the production of high quality flat Felt as well as gave the cooperative comprehensive training in a wide range of other areas including market standards, design and productivity. This enabled the cooperative to expand, increase their marketability globally and employ hundreds more women, resulting in additional funds for improvements, outreach, education and community health projects.

These self-funded relationships still continue today.