Eliana – Wooly Bedmaker


By Eliana Jantz – founder of HeartFelt Collective

Unmasking the Mattress Mystique and getting back to natural basics to create ‘Sacred Bed’

HeartFelt Collective is the emergence of a long held dream I’ve carried.

At the heart of the dream is the transformation of our way of life.  How we live – not isolated, but sharing our lives as a multigenerational extended family, living and creating together with our companions of ‘like resonance’ and intention while also expressing our individual autonomy and perspective and weaving it into our co-creation.

At the heart of this dream we are building the architecture and life design that supports us on all levels as creative, inspired beings.  Architecture that is beautiful and sustainable, ecological and inspiring.  We want to return to the natural life, living in the gardens we co-create with mother nature.

HF-xtra-5layersThe Healing Bed

My deep, unerring and simple passion has long been to provide for myself and others the perfect healing bed, a most sacred and basic need for all of us.

Most people searching for a natural bed, have been dumbfounded by the lack of good options.  The worst of which (in my opinion) are the coil spring mattresses with their short life expectancy (10 to 15 yrs.), or suffocating foam, also with a similar life expectancy. Memory foam (aka Tempurepedic) is even more suffocating and toxic to boot.  Our landfills are filled with them all.

As a young emergent human, I didn’t like the common mattresses my culture offered.  The strange notion of this clunky, huge, bouncy mattress was ludicrous to my emerging sensibilities.  I have to admit, though, that as a kid, I did enjoy jumping up and down on the bouncy mattress (much to the dismay of my parents).  But I didn’t like to sleep on them, although I did so as a child and did experience many sagging, uncomfortable, weird mattresses growing up.  As a young adult, I happily ditched the coil mattress forever and decided to use foam on a solid foundation (the floor or a wood frame).

Then, one beautiful day,  I glimpsed and then caressed a traditionally hand made Japanese all cotton futon.  This became my bed, of course!  I learned how to make it myself, so I could make them for my family and loved ones.

The traditional Japanese cotton filled futon was one of the first natural options to enter the Western world,  post industrialism, in the late 1970’s.  Unfortunately, it  was sorely mistranslated by our Western Bed Industry.  In traditional Asian culture, known for its wisdom regarding design and use of materials, the people sleep on very firm cotton filled pads that are thin and single person size and therefore relatively lightweight making it much easier to maintain. They can be layered when needed.  In many cultures of the world, regular airing of the bedding is simply good hygiene. See our care recommendations.

Airing and sunning the bedding should be a joy, not a dreaded task.  The  cotton futons in North America were made much too large and thick, making it nearly impossible to maintain properly.  Cotton, a slow drying fiber cannot possibly keep up with the moisture that enters the oversized mattress night after night, inevitably becoming moldy.  I discovered this early on and began making thinner,  cotton filled mattresses which could be layered for easier care but this was a limited solution.  We needed something more suited to North Americans where it’s cooler and people need warming!  Then we discovered wool!  ….and the rest is history!

Through Shepherd’s Dream, a company  my daughter Sarah and I started in 1997 to make the wool filled bedding,  the bed design began to revolve around the use of this magical fiber, wool.  We soon phased out the use of cotton batting altogether and filled the bedding products with only wool.

Five years ago, Sarah took the reigns of Shepherd’s Dream,  continuing to support me in my quest for the ideal bed.

As I am an innovator at heart,  I was excited for  the opportunity to explore felt as a solution to ideal bed.  We had learned how to make felt from our carded batting and  I knew right away, that this was it!  I had found, what to my sensibilities, was the missing piece for the ideal bed I was so passionate about finding.

Now that  the design had naturally emerged, I wanted to develop the structure for production that would support the heart of the dream.  A system that is sustainable, cooperative and yet honoring of the autonomy of the individuals involved.  A collectively governed  felt making enterprise that is strongly land based and communal in its design.

So, here we are in 2013.  HeartFelt is a growing collective of felters, and we are happy and excited to share with you what we know about creating sacred and healing heirloom bed with wool felt.  Truly, a bed for the New Paradigm.

We send you heartfelt blessings,

Eliana and felters