When thinking of coasters, felt is one word that didn't come to our minds. After discovering Fuzzy Goods by Roberta Shapiro, we can humbly say that the absence of felt coasters in our lives has truly been our loss. Shapiro uses felt—often from remnants— to piece together contemporary geometric designs using muted and luxuriously masculine colour palettes. They are nothing short of striking and we proudly scatter them on our side tables and coffee tables as punctuations of planed artistry.
Shapiro's coasters, each a 4" square, are sold in sets of four. The series present truly unique identities: some vibrant and dizzyingly complex, some subtly minimalist, and others falling somewhere in the middle, with unadulterated blocks framing bold pops of colour and pattern. In each set, the four coasters are distinctive, referencing the common aesthetic of the collection while remaining entirely, and delightfully, independent. Together, the coasters in each collection harmonize and form a completed puzzle when aligned. Individually, the coasters are self-contained minimalist masterpieces that are more than deserving of places on our table.
The coasters are constructed like a patchwork of panels, sewed together with angular black or white thread that offers a graphic—and somewhat industrial—contrast to the organic texture of the wool. The balance is entirely unexpected but we've come to appreciate it as essential to the success of Shapiro's designs.
The felt itself is substantial. At 5mm thick, the coasters are sturdy enough to remain where you set them—no need to worry about rogue coasters slipping across the smooth surfaces in your home. And, as Shapiro aptly notes on her site,
"Wool felt is naturally absorbent, offers thermal protection and has antimicrobial properties. It is gentle on surfaces and is stain resistant. It is a perfect material for coasters."(1)
In case stunningly crafted coasters aren't enough of a sell on their own, Shapiro donates 100% of the profits from sales of her creations to the Rhode Island Food Bank—meaning "at least 60% of your purchase helps hungry people in Rhode Island". In light of the impact COVID-19 has had this year, with far too many people having found themselves food insecure, this holiday season we implore you to use this time to better the communities around you. And what better way to do so than by gifting or cherishing some truly remarkable coasters. Shapiro shares that, while the objects may be small, they make Rhode Island a better place in a big way (2)