I’ve recently become really curious about needle felting after one of the Instagram accounts I follow (Wild Whimsy Woolies) has been venturing into some delightful sea life. I’ve tried to keep watch of the Etsy Shop updates (even setting alerts on my phone) but I’m just not fortunate enough to snag one of these creations before they sell out (though, I will eventually, I’m sure).
In the meantime, I’ve begun to look into the art form and have realized that there is a lot of interesting potential in sculpting with wool.
In grad school I took a 3D fibers class and we “learned” how to wet felt in the course – I never quite picked it up and despite my best efforts couldn’t figure out why my attempts didn’t work out (I did get a couple of loose felted sheets that I could use in a few things but ultimately, I didn’t really get it). I didn’t pursue wet felting after that because I got so frustrated.
Fortunately, I did hold onto the roving I’d purchased at the time. I think if I’d realized that you could felt without water I might have continued to look into wool as a medium. I did have visions of learning to spin my own wool but my attempts to teach this to myself also didn’t pan out.
After picking up a couple of felting needles I began playing around with a needle felted ball. I quickly realized that the process was easier than I’d anticipated and that actually crafting various surface alterations was pretty simple. I turned my ball into a puffer fish pretty soon after that. In fact, the entire process was so swift that I neglected to take any progress shots – admittedly I didn’t anticipate that it would turn out very well when I first picked it up.
It’s extremely satisfying to stab something a billion times and have it turn out to be something rather successful. Moving is terribly stressful and needle felting is quite cathartic and distracting. I picked up a few small packs of colored wool at Hobby Lobby and began to add a few details to the little guy (who I call Steve 2). I really like him… and I’m not the only one…
I would like to add a bunch of tiny dark spots but I don’t think I’m quite up to that just yet so I think I’ll test out my skill with a few more figures and then come back to this. As an easy and lo-tech craft this is an ideal hobby for me at the moment. I’ve already started on a life-size model of my little White’s Tree Frog, Bahloo, and it’s turning out great. I’ll be sure to share more later one when I feel that I’ve finally figured this stuff out more (and when I’ve finally managed to snag one of Wild Whimsy Woolies awesome critters!).