Spectacled Bear

Our Felti program, started in 2010, involves the production of small, hand-crafted, woolen animals using a method called dry-needle felting.  The program is a vital component of our work and results in a direct economic benefit for the communities we partner with on creating protected areas.  Felti incentivizes conservation and builds trust and strong relationships between SBC and local people. 

Our Felti artisans are women from rural and indigenous communities. They become empowered by earning a fair and competitive wage, with many participants earning an income for the first time in their lives.    By providing an alternative livelihood that isn’t related to natural resource extraction, human pressure on prime spectacled bear habitat from activities like agriculture and poaching is decreased.

Our Feltis are 100% sheep’s wool, most of which is sourced locally in Peru. The wool is washed and run through a carding machine, which brushes the wool fibers in the same direction to create roving. The roving wool is rolled into a ball and repeatedly poked with a fine barbed felting needle. Tiny scales on the wool fibers lock together with each poke and the wool becomes very dense, allowing the creation of a firm shape. Additional wool is added to create different shapes and details for each sculpture.

Since 2010 more than 100 women have been engaged and trained to make Feltis.  Our original Felti program in Batán Grande has grown to a employ a full-time coordinator, three instructors and a quality control manager. In 2018 we launched a second program in Tucto, a high elevation indigenous village, and produced 15,000 Feltis (our highest production to date).

An endangered Spectacled Bear

Spread the Word

We warmly invite you to share this call for vendors, artisans, and farmers with individuals who may be interested in becoming a part of our community-driven initiative.