I create needle felted sculptures inspired by realistic animals. Some are portraits attempting to capture individual traits of the model; others are based on characteristic looks and behaviors of dogs, cats and other species that I tend to present as vignettes, such as a pointing dog or a stretching cat. I have no background in visual arts, but I truly enjoy crafting something from scratch. Needle felting to me is a form of therapy, an escape from the worries of everyday life. Not only is it a way for artistic expression, but it is a long and painstaking process that I find contemplative and relaxing.
Needle felting is a relatively unknown craft. It is a tedious process of shaping loose fibers by stabbing with a very sharp, barbed needle. It is all free-hand, there is no pattern, mold or template to follow and no machinery to use. As a result, each statue is unique and impossible to fully replicate.
In the process of creating a sculpture, raw wool or other natural fiber, is applied to a simple wire armature somewhat resembling the skeleton of the animal. After hours, days or sometimes weeks of stabbing, the loose fiber turns into a recognizable shape with the hardness of a tennis ball.
I prefer to use naturally colored fiber from locally grown sheep, goats, alpacas or bison. I work with raw wool, locks, batts and roving, depending on the animal I am trying to make. I buy or make glass or plastic eyes. Noses, teeth, claws and beaks are either made from polymer clay or sculpted from wool. To attain the animal’s unique coloring, I blend fibers with hand held carders. Devoid of any efficiency optimizing devices, needle felting is a truly simple organic art.