Born in the Netherlands in 1963, Claudy Jongstra was trained as a fashion designer. She first came under the spell of felt in 1994 when she saw a Mongolian yurt on display in Nederlands Textielmuseum. The tent had a pattern of laid-in colors. She recognized the technique from pictures, but was overwhelmed by the material itself and the colors. Jongstra quickly mastered the process of felting and started to make fabrics in which wool was felted with silk fibers or was combined with transparent silk organza. In the mid-nineties this was unheard of, but the process yielded a remarkable combination of transparency and density, of elegance and rawness, of craft and art. Her tireless experimentation with felting techniques is motivated in part by her fascination for the traditional felt production as well as the durable and technical possibilities of wool. The result is an extraordinary range of textiles that are as rugged as they are refined. She works in an autonomous and sustainable manner while controlling the entire process from raw materials to end product including the use of natural dyes. Jongstra controls the entire process, from raw materials to end product, so that she can operate independently and work in a sustainable manner.
Since 2009 Jongstra also keeps her own hortus botanicus where national historic varieties of dye-plants grow. This garden operates as laboratory for the dyes, but at the same time it is a source of inspiration.