Bayarma”Baya” Batomunkueva is a fiber artist based in Portland, Oregon.
She created Unifelt, LLC in 2018 to share her passion for natural fiber with
the world. Baya graduated with a degree in Statistics from the Novosibirsk
State University of Economics and Management, and she’s a mother of
Baya is from Buryatia, a region in Siberia, Russia. Her ancestors were
nomads of a Mongolian ethnic minority that wandered vast territory in
search of grasslands for their livestock. Over the centuries, they learned to
survive in symbiosis with nature, nurturing their animals and using their
wool to make clothes and yurts (nomadic dwellings).
Five years ago, Baya embarked on a journey to rescue her passion for the
felting she experienced as a child in Russia. After 30 years of artistic
abstinence, the fiber artist inside Baya finally reemerged! Baya went from
basic objects like mittens, rugs, and slippers to more complex and elegant
high-end hats and accessories that fostered a new direction to her apparel
design and execution.
What is Felting?
Felting is the process in which wool fibers are rubbed together and fused, turning them into a denser fabric than is normally possible with wool. All that’s needed is wool, soapy hot water, and friction.
With felting, it’s not necessary to kill animals for high-quality natural fur apparel (or use faux fur with ecosystem-polluting micro-plastic!) Baya’s constant search for new felting techniques and textures has led her to develop what she refers to as “Cruelty-Free Sustainable Fur (CFSF)”. This technique only uses sheep sheared locks, a natural byproduct of the animal’s life cycle, thus benefiting the welfare of the sheep that would otherwise suffer from an excessive wool coat.
The CFSF process is simple: the sheep’s locks are hand-layered one by one then interlocked into the wool base, imitating a pelt, and creating a unique handmade fur piece.
Thanks to the CFSF technique, we can proudly enjoy natural fur while maintaining ethical and sustainable practices.
Baya’s brand, Unifelt, remains the distinctive hallmark of functionality, glamour, modern sensibility, and offers its’ own vision of fiber art and fur!