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Free University of Bozen-Bolzano

A project by Theresa Bader and Yan Su Wang

The Magic Carpet

Felting together a living space.


A project within the Master in Eco-social Design, inspired by the annual theme ESSEN/ALIMENTARE/FOOD (Project 1 - SS 2015/16)





  • Moritz Bonatti - mediator
  • Stefania Zanetti + Lukas von Roell - photographers


Felting together to get connected

A magic carpet in fairytales has transboundary energy and  can overcome space and time. It is protective, supporting and securing and for some nomadic folks even the base of being. With our project we want to create a carpet, to overcome boundaries, connect cultures and built a supporting community in Bolzano, because our society is in transition and we can not ignore it any longer. We want to felt the different cultures together and thus integrate the refugees in our society. In a series of workshops refugees and citizens work together on small carpets, that contain individual stories, to then join them together and enlarge the magic carpet. Public, repetitive activities with the magic carpet shows the growing community and the new living space in the form of a coming together and enjoying activities. Our mission is to connect as many individuals as possible, so prospect friendships and working collaborations can arise.

How can the magic happen? 

please follow us through the route that connects locals, tradition and new arrivals.

The search for local resources

Local wool from South Tirol

The Transhumance in the Ötztal Alps has a very long tradition. For over 6000 years the ritual has been taking place: the sheep are crossing the Alps from South Tirol to Tirol, to reach their summer grass land. The hike goes over the peak of the Hochjoch (2885m) and is the only cross-border transhumance in the Alps that leads across glaciers. This year about 1500 Tyrol Mountain Sheep (Bergschaf) were led from Schnalstal to Austria and will return in autumn. The sheep are an endangered breed and native to the region. In South Tirol, there are over 50 000 sheep. Each sheep provides about 3 kg of  wool every year. They get sheared twice, once in spring and once in autumn. Because of the alpine region, the sheep have very rough and scratchy hair. Therefore, their wool is not very popular, because the merino wool from Australian farms took over the market. As a result, a lot of local sheep wool is not used. But working with this natural, regrowing material is very sustainable. Furthermore, due to its properties, the Mountain Sheep wool is very suitable for felting.

Magic carpet - Workshop

Each small carpet contains a individual story

Felting wool is a technique to join and connect wool fibres together. We use this technique to bring people together and built a connection among them. The process of felting together doesn’t require any special machines or experience. For our first workshop we invited 7 refugees and 7 citizens to work together on pieces for the carpet. We teamed them up in pairs, each team designed and worked together on one small carpet. The felted pieces contain individual stories, pattern and motives which the participants developed though the workshop. A series of workshops will enlarge the Magic Carpet constantly. The single pieces get sewed together to create one big piece. More and more individuals will be slowly connected. Public outdoor activities with the carpet will show the growing and willing community. The magic carpet is used as a shared, open and welcoming space, to show the public, that individuals from different cultures can cross the boundaries and gather together. A hiking sign leads and welcomes the people passing by to us, we want to bring as many people together as possible.



Stiching together the heart of the Magic Carpet

To grow our community we have:

REFUGEES, that are willing to connect, get integrated and work with you!

we need:

VOLUNTEERS, to help organize the workshops

CITIZENS, to join our workshop and get connected with the refugees

SUPPORTERS, to help us finance the project

1KG of local wool:



BRUSHING: 30 min

Material to felt: 100 min/kg

or 35 €



Friendships and Collaborations will arise. Eliana, a lady that took part in our first workshop, is now presenting the carpet on the market and we will develop some products out of felt, to be sold.

Please join and be part of our new society. We will assure it is fun and positive.