Monday, January 30, 2012

The magic of Needle Felting

One day my friends and I were shopping about and exploring new and interesting places.  One such place is a the Hill Country Weavers were my friend was in the search for some high quality yarn.  I explored this location seeking ideas and/or inspiration.  Just as I turned around my other friend pop up with a book and pointed out needle felting and expressed how cool it is. I glanced at it and made a mental note to research it at a later date.

Learning a new medium and technique called Needle Felting.  It's an interesting journey exploring something new and unknown so I went to the library and of course the internet. Awesome places.  I searched and learned more about it.  Finally I was ready to try it.  I went over to our local hobby store and got a sample needle felting kit and some felt. After awhile of trying to needle felt a dog, I realized that using the single needle was not working so I went ahead and got the needle felt pen.  The needle felt pen is a set of three needles held in a such a way that it helps to speed up the needle felting process.

Here is my first attempt to needle felt a dog:

Felt Dog - Two tone Golden -002

It's like magic forming the felt into the shape of a dog and gradually adding the colors, eyes and nose. Happy with the result of the dog I decided to try a more complex felting project thus I chose an Owl.  Well, a barn owl since it had a nice ring around it's face.  The owl I did in stages (body, legs, head and lastly the wings).  Here's Owly:

Felt Barn Owl -002

Wow, this is fun. I can sure get into felting. What's next?  I know let me try needle felting a doll and I know the ideal model for my doll. It's gonna be Kate Bush.  After several searches I found it, I'll use her Album cover Under the Ivy.   She's so beautiful and quite inspiring.  I consider her to be one of the best and most original artist out there.

I needed more material but I was hesitate to order online without seeing what I was getting. Luckily, there's a local vendor called Living Felt near the edge of town but well worth the drive.  Lynette welcomed me and help me through this journey.  I learned about the different types of fibers, needles, and so much more. I got my material and I couldn't wait to get home and start on my next project felting the doll.   

Making the felt doll was quite challenging for a first timer.  I started with the body, arm and legs. I worked my way to the head, hair, and ivy costume.  Each section took some time and careful needle felting since at first I kept poking my fingers and after awhile, I learned to slow down and be more focused on the task at hand. Those needles are very sharp and if you're not careful you could seriously stab your finger.  So be very careful when needle felting.  Making the ivies became more difficult as I went from the largest to the smallest.  But eventually all the parts started to come together.  I slowed down and patiently focused on the detail of Kate's face and hair.  Layer and layers of felt form the eyes, the lips and the hair.  At last my felt doll started to look a lot like Kate Bush.  I needed to wrap thing up by forming her hand and feet and then she was done.  Take a look:

Kate Bush Felt Doll -007

What I found interesting in using this medium is how quickly you can form shapes and how clean it is when you're done at the end of the day.  Very different from working with such mediums as clay or paper mache.

If you're not afraid of poking your finger, I would recommend you try it.  It's quite fun, peaceful and really helps feed the imagination. More so when seeing something formed out of a mesh of fiber into your creations.

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