Yurt Sweet Yurt


Because of my interest in felting, I was doing some research on the topic of wool and it’s many uses and this was the first time I had read anything about a yurt.  The Wikipedia definition is as follows: A yurt is a portable, felt-covered, wood lattice-framed dwelling structure traditionally used by nomads in the steppes of Central Asia.  A yurt is more home-like than a tent in shape and build, with thicker walls. They are popular amongst nomads. In Europe and America, different groups and individuals use yurts for a variety of purposes, from full-time housing to school rooms. In some provincial parks in Canada, and state parks in several US states, permanent yurts are available for camping. Continuing with my wool research, I found this video on You-Tube about Mongoalian felt making (using goat’s wool to make the felt for a yurt), which I found interesting: Mongolian Feltmaking.

The yurt in the back yard.

We were visiting our friends, Bella and Yossi last weekend and imagine my delight when a found a yurt in their back yard. They ordered their yurt from a Mongolian yurt importer, with colors to their specifications (the Indian OM sign on the outside panels was also their request, as this would not be the norm for a Mongolian yurt). I walked into the yurt, expecting something rather rustic and was very surprised to find a quaint, modern- looking bedroom. There were hardwood floors, several pieces of furniture and lots of space. The screened-in hole in the ceiling lets in most of the light and helps with the airflow. There is a big front door and two small windows on the side with panes of glass. The door handle was my favorite part of the yurt, the metal handles were shaped into an ox on the outside and a lizard-horse? on the outside. The walls were layered, behind the inside wooden lattice structure was painted canvas, then a layer of insulation and wool and the outter layer was a water-proof canvas.

The yurt bedroom.

A traditional nomadic family would build a fire in the middle of the structure and the smoke would exit through the hole in the roof. Being inside the yurt felt like being in a play house to me.

ceiling hole

It looked like fun, but why would someone go to all the trouble to import this yurt and assemble it themselves in the backyard of their lovely home (where they already have a nice bedroom)? I asked Bella “why” and she gave me this very poetic answer:

In a beautiful rainforest, close to Byron Bay, Australia, a beautiful wooden yurt was our home for many years

Living in our yurt was one of the happiest times of my life!

Living in a small space is very tribal, doing everything in the yurt, sleeping waking, cooking, eating and playing

Living in a yurt is being closer 2 nature, it’s so beautifully dark @ night looking @ the sky & the stars (& occasionally the moon) through the open top,  feeling the fresh night air,  hearing the sounds of nature outside, insects & birds & animals

Living in a round space is beautiful,  i love the way the energy flows,  it’s great having no walls, easy to heat in winter, cool in summer, such joy in living simply

Living in an organized manner as there is not much storage, hoarding is not encouraged, it’s also mostly a very affordable way 2 live, much less expensive than a regular home

After her answer, I’m wondering why more of us don’t have a yurt; it sounds like a mini-vacation in the backyard!

Cow handle

Needle felted fruit vessels-Utility vs. Chachka*

needle felted pear vessel

I like to make things that have a purpose, that I can use in some way rather than just look at them. I used to have a shelf in my bedroom when I was a kid, it was full of nick-nacks that I had collected. I used to collect things that had to do with ducks and antique doo-dads, etc. etc.; I used to like to just look at the things on my little shelf. Now days, these doo-dads that I used to like to collect seem to be more dust collectors than anything else, so now if I have pretty things sitting around, I like for them to have a purpose. Not to mention the fact that in Israel, we have very limited space to put chachkas! So when I start thinking about things to felt, I try to imagine different items (that maybe I already have), in felted form. A needle felted vessel, like a bowl probably has a very limited functionality in it’s traditional use as a holder for food, but I put change, keys or wrapped candies in mine.

Functional needle felted vessel

I like to make my fruit and vegatable vessels by hollowing out a sphere, then continuing to build the shape on the top and bottom halves. I prefer the very simple shapes and colors of these vessels; I like the finished pieces to be graphic in appearance.

*Chachka-A Yiddish word for an inexpensive, showy trinket, whatnot, doodad, collectable, objet d’art, kicknack, bric-a-brac.


Anita's glass paper weights

Sometimes I need inspiration to be creative; something to give me creative energy. My children inspire me, beauty and good deeds are also inspirational to me. Visually, I can look at a magazine or a book, go to the flea market (one of my favorites!), to an antique store or go browsing in a fabric shop. Fabric shops provide many textures and colors, this gives me many ideas, sometimes after seeing a certain color or seeing something in a certain light, an idea will jump into my head. Light is a big inspirational element for me. I find myself stopping in my tracks to contemplate an object lit in artistic light; I take photographs of these things whenever I have my camera with me.

dancing in Lucknow, India

beach in Tel Aviv, Israel

window light, Sintra, Portugal
A day in the country to see the Lipizaner horse show, Wisconsin
cathedral window, Portugal
prayer candles in Notre Dame, Paris
a roll of gold fabric in my studio
a window in Sintra, Portugal
Hannukah, the holiday of light