Bayarma Batomunkueva, “Baya”, is a fiber artist based in Portland, Oregon, who
created Unifelt, LLC, in 2018, to share her passion for natural fiber with the world.
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 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
As a graduate of Novosibirsk State University of Economics and Management, she
obtained a degree in Statistics. Being a mother of two and having flexibility in
schedule, five years ago Baya embarked on a journey to rescue her passion for
felting that she had experienced as a child back in Russia. After 30 years of artistic
abstinence the fiber artist inside has reemerged. Baya went from small basic
objects: mittens; rugs; and slippers—to more complex elegant high end hats and
accessories, which fostered a new direction to apparel design and execution.
Luckily there is no longer a need to kill animals for their pelts, or use faux fur that
consists of micro plastic, that eventually pollutes the ecosystem! Baya’s search for
new felting techniques and texture led her to discover and develop, what she refers
to as, Cruelty Free Sustainable Fur (CFSF). This technique uses only sheep
sheared locks, a natural byproduct of the animal’s life cycle, benefiting the welfare
of the sheep, that would otherwise suffer from an excessive wool coat. The CFSF
process is quite simple: by hand the sheep locks one by one are interlocked into
the wool base, imitating a pelt, and creating a unique handmade fur piece. Thanks
to CFSF technique, we can proudly enjoy natural fur again, and be ethical and
Baya’s brand Unifelt remains the distinctive hallmark of functionality, glamour,
modern sensibility, and offers its’ own vision of fiber art and fur!