Created in 1880 on the banks of the Cher, a few kilometers from its sources in the heart of the Combrailles in Creuse, a traditional land of breeding and textile industry, the Filature Fonty is one of the treasures of the local heritage.
Labeled Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant (EPV, Living Heritage Company) in 2017, this more than 100-year-old factory perpetuates exceptional know-how, passed down from generation to generation.
It is made up of original processes, advanced skills, cumulative experience, gestures refined over the years, associated with a fleet of traditional machines that the team maintains, renovates and gradually completes and which testify to the historic place of the regional textile sector.
Filature Fonty is an active member of the association Lainamac, which aims to promote and develop the wool sector of the Massif Central.
Fonty produces high-quality yarns from animal fleeces and plant fibers of natural origin: sheep (mainly the merino breed), Peruvian and Bolivian alpaca, Mongolian yak, Gobi desert camel, mohair goat, Angora rabbit from France, Indian silk, cashmere, linen from Normandy, Asian cotton, bamboo from Portugal…
The raw materials are carefully selected. The fleeces come from local or regional farms, but more generally from France, Europe, Central Asia, or wool-producing countries in the southern hemisphere. Like plant fibers, animal fleeces are chosen for their fineness, length and softness, but also taking into account their traceability and the environmental issues related to their production or transport.
These materials are transformed in Creuse, in the various spinning workshops, into carded or combed yarn, roving or ribbon, respecting the traditional methods of wool spinning.
Thanks to its efficient dyeing workshop, Filature Fonty is able to reproduce or create any color for its yarns: unbleached or the original colors of the fleeces, dyes with natural or synthetic pigments, matte or shiny tones, bright or past, united or mottled…
Over the years, dyers have built up a color library of several hundred thousand shades, noting the dosages of pigments, the mordants or modifiers used, the formulas and the associated processes. It’s endless work because each material reacts differently to the dye, the possibilities are endless.
It is also a high precision work, very demanding, because it is a question of obtaining for each bath the exact tone. This research work is always carried out with particular attention to respect for the environment.
The raw fibers which constitute the raw material are washed, sorted, beaten, mixed, coated (greased), prepared, pre-combed.
Then they are carded on our two double assortment carding lines.
On leaving the card, they are spun, twisted, assembled, unwound and skeined.
The skeins of yarn are washed, degreased, dyed, softened, rinsed, dried and sprayed.
Finally, they are weighed and prepared in cones, skeins, spools or balls, then labelled, packaged in bags, and stored, before being sent to our customers.
Our activity is based on four complementary pillars:
Our customers appreciate high-quality wools, associated with original colors, made in France, with noble and traceable materials, in a fair, ecological, social and human commitment.
They are passionate knitters and inspired knitters, upholsterers and weavers from Aubusson or elsewhere, weavers, craftsmen, haute-couture designers and makers, knit manufacturers; many breeders also entrust us with the transformation of their raw wool into neat yarn.
We are fortunate to practice a profession at the crossroads of the agricultural world, the industrial world, and local trade. These three worlds are experiencing massive and unprecedented upheavals. Alongside each of them, hard hit like them, we face with them their new challenges, experience their difficulties, and support their changes.
Give more meaning and depth to our work together, to our relationships, whether internal, or with our customers, suppliers and partners, to manufacture our yarns while respecting our environment and with concern for what we bequeath to future generations, are concerns that shape the Filature Fonty project. We strive to pursue an approach that is resolutely eco-sensitive, eco-responsible and geared towards sustainable development.
Natural materials, recovery and production of renewable energies, short loops, reduction of inputs, elimination of pollutants, ecological water treatment, selective sorting, waste recovery, fair trade, associative and social commitment, benevolence in relations, are at the heart of the Fonty project.
The whole team of the Filature Fonty is mobilized to welcome the public, explain our traditional profession and our ancestral gestures, to discover the extraordinary achievement that constitutes a wool yarn and the manufacturing stages through which it has passed. Because the transmission of these techniques to future generations requires making these traditions and know-how known, and giving an explanation and a meaning to what is unfortunately for much more “just a piece of woolen thread”.
Welcome, listening, explanation, exchanges, projects: by taking advantage of the factory shop, guided tours, Open House operations, come see us and discover one of the last active French wool spinning and dyeing mills, its team, its gestures, its machines, its products and its projects.