It is the fabric with the soft and fluffy reputation but an exhibition at Forty Hall is aiming to uncover felt’s edgier side.

The most ancient constructed textile in the world, in its long and fascinating history it has been used for everything from military armour to housing, from cosy winter garments to conceptual art.

But now work by artists who create disturbing and bizarre oddities and technically brilliant objects out of the unique medium have been brought together by The National Centre for Craft & Design to make you look at felt in a whole new, and darker, light.

St Albans & Harpenden Review:

Barbara Keal, Icelandic Ram, image by Philip Volkers

St Albans & Harpenden Review:

Horst Couture Avocado. Photo: Scott Murray

Laura Mabbutt, herself an accomplished felt-maker, has curated the exhibition and says: “I hope it will give this unique and versatile medium the accolades it deserves and will highlight the many contemporary applications of this ancient material beyond its stereotypical ‘fuzzy felt’ reputation.

“Whilst in essence the act of turning raw fleece into a matted sheet of felt is a process simple enough for a small child to learn, this exhibition presents exciting and sometimes surprising processes used by contemporary masters of the craft in producing innovative and inspiring work.”

St Albans & Harpenden Review:

Marjolein Dallinga. Photo: Scott murray

St Albans & Harpenden Review:

Trio of skulls by Stephanie Metz

The exhibition includes three-dimensional work, moving away from the idea of textiles as a sheet material and highlighting the seamless construction that is achievable with felt.

There will also be a technical demonstration area with handling samples to sit alongside the exhibited artworks.

Forty Hall Estate, Forty Hill, Enfield, EN2 9HA, from January 27 to May 8, free entry. Details: fortyhallestate.co.uk