I Needle Felt Wool Sculptures Of Wildlife, Trying To Capture The Individual Character Of Each Animal (30 New Pics)
Many years ago I discovered the art of needle felting. When you needle felt, you stab wool fiber repeatedly with a very sharp, barbed needle. The barbs of the needle felt the wool into shapes and thus you can sculpt it!
I used to paint for a major animation studio where I spent many, many hours a day painting on a computer in a dark room. While it was a fun time, I now treasure sitting in my studio, in the light, working with my hands in a completely different way.
I love this medium because the wool is warm and organic in my hands and I find, it adds "life" to my animals all by itself.
I do not strive to make my animals look 100% realistic (they are made of wool, after all). By trying to capture the individual character of each animal, my sculptures appear realistic. Sometimes I get angry emails from people that are upset because they are convinced I am sending baby bunnies through the mail!
I shared my creations with the Fashion Life community before, you can check out the previous post by clicking here.
I started needle felting around 2012 after I spotted someone at a booth at a fair, demonstrating the craft. I bought a small kit of some colored wool and tried it out.
My girls sat by with bandaids as I kept stabbing myself, asking why I kept needle felting. It was fun from the start!
From there it was a steep learning curve for me and quite the evolution from play sets with little mice to now, faux taxidermy, lifelike animals.
The detail was a lot of work! Needle felted over the wire. The eyes are hand painted. I spent 80 to 90 hours creating this.
I just love animals so very much! To me, there was no question I was going to needle felt them. Also, it is in my nature to be quite literal although I admire artists who create fantastical creatures as well.
The challenge to be able to create bird feathers as closely as possible with wool fiber is especially interesting to me and I have become known for my owls.
Needle felted and life-size.
It really depends on how long it takes me to finish an animal sculpture. I can finish a baby bunny faster than a barn owl, but each owl also takes a different amount of time depending on their markings. Tiny insects or animals also take an amazingly long time because you have to be so careful around the wires and you stab yourself much more often. So I would say anywhere between 2 days to several weeks!
I was surprised that many people do not know about the happiest animal on earth!
He is needle felted over the wire out of 100% wool, has glass eyes and a nose sculpted of wax.
I love the texture of the wool fibers and by their nature, how organic my art looks.
The challenge to create the essence or spirit of the animal or insect will never get old for me and as the years go by, I’ve discovered that you are never done learning and growing. I just love it!
This owl is needle felted over the wire.
I usually start with a wire skeleton. It gives my pieces durability (often they are quite large life-size or near life-size) and the skeleton provides me with a focal point of where I want to go with the sculpture.
I mounted this needle felted sculpture of a barn owl so that she could be displayed on a wall.
Some people describe my work as faux taxidermy...
I loved working with the sand and little rocks.
These meerkats are needle felted, have glass eyes and sculpted noses out of wax.
The ground is made out of mixed materials.
It was amazing to work on this sculpture. I used a lot of lamb locks for the longer fur. I hand sculpted the horns and painted them as well as the hoofs. The nose is made of wax. He has glass eyes.
This little squirrel monkey is near life-size. Needle felted over the wire and, of course, with glass eyes.
I personally love exhibits in natural museums and old world taxidermy. I know it is super controversial and I do not like trophy hunting one bit. But when I go to a natural history museum, I appreciate how the exhibits are a tool to teach people about nature around the world.