Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Lots of needle felt animals with boring technical talk

This weeks project was detailing, firming up and altering some of my previous animals . I also took some more detailed and up close pictures of my previous animals . I did notice that just changing the angle of the photograph made a difference in the over all effect .

Above is the "Welcome to Canada Beaver" . I had originally wanted to make him a lumber jack....which is why I added the mustache and planned on sewing a red/black check jacket for him . Doubting that will ever happen but perhaps I will make him a "welcome to Canada"  sign to hold.

I spent about three hours firming the limbs, adding ears and paw pads . Although the picture doesn't really show much of a difference, he is much sturdier, proportioned.

The above was another subtle make-over doing a bit more shaping of the limbs and I covered the original "pinkish brown" with a bit more natural looking brown . Unfortunately, the flash combined with the green wet felt mat still make this redder then it is in person .

On of my biggest challenges

in learning to needle felt is how to create a fur look but still have the fiber firmly attached . I think using fiber with low lights and high lights...like natural hair...helps with that but it still doesn't have the "fuzzy" look of fake fur animals . On the other side, it does allow for more sculptural muscular look of short haired animals .

I have done a few animals using a technique of needle/rooting in small sections if loose fiber but that has the problem of eventually matting/felting up....especially when using merino but I have had a little better result using alpaca or mohair that tend not to felt as easily .

Firmly felting the fiber to the hard wool sculpture does result in some poke holes but I have learned to use take fiber down with a 38 needle and firm with a 40...time consuming on my large sculptures but leaves a nicer surface .

I spent the most time...most of three nights, re-doing the above . He began as a :pop-eyed dog that I never liked and he had a head to toes make-over .Although he retains the basic dog body, I covered all with new roving and reshaped, reworked the head to get rid of the pop-eyes and added the teeth ,tusks and bits of rooted baby alpaca on the tail and around the face . He still may not be "cute" but at least he's interesting .

The following are just a few better, in door pictures of my photos from the previous week . Although most people suggest shooting with natural light, it seems to wash out the details of my animals . Though not perfect, I like the in door pics better .

I couldn't recall if I had shown this last guy before...but I really like his long arms and am becoming a convert to using mohair . It isn't as soft as the merino but I love the natural variation in color and shine of the fiber .

So that's it for my week . Next week will probably be a few more make overs and perhaps a few more fantasy creatures . Happy felting !


  1. These are all amazing! Your scale and proportion are perfect and make these all look real- even though they are not really any one animal! Also the smoothness you achieve is really nice. So many times I see needle felted animals that look like they are a fuzzy mess. Do you ever make up stories to go with them? I could see my students using these as inspirations for their writing. Thanks for sharing they are all awesome!

  2. Thanks Kelly . Sculpting doesn't come naturally for me, but I really love animals and it is fun to bring something to life . I did hope to write up little bios for them but I have a hard time stopping felting long enough to do that .



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