I have had an unseemly amount of enjoyment with this new needle felting lark. I used to make a lot of things, which is why I have so much textile-y stuff gathering dust in corners of my studio, but I had to bite the bullet and concentrate on becoming a vaguely competent painter. However - being a typical Cancerian - I hung on to everything, as sewing paraphernalia tends to be beautiful as well as (eventually) useful. In fact - and I am somewhat horrified to count back the years - it has been about a decade since I crafted anything. This month I have other publishing work which must be completed, so grabbing a precious hour or two with my felting needle has been a very guilty pleasure, hence keeping the curious waiting for my initial efforts. As well as waiting for delivery of little ribbons with my logo on, which are obviously being hand embroidered by Mongolian elfs, they are taking so long to arrive.
My first tentative stabs were loosely based on an old artwork, Mr Apricot -
- he started off like this...
- and ended up like this. Amazingly after all these years of non-sewing, I can still just about embroider a nose and managed to make halfway decent French knots for eyes.
At this point Andy's mum should not be reading, as he is her (very late) birthday present. He was missing something though...and unexpectedly, the wonderfully kind and very wool-centric Border Tart sent me a gorgeous collection of bright fluffy 'accents', all wrapped up in a fairy tale.
Funnily enough, I had just been looking through her shop to see if she sold these self same articles. Thank you so much Lindsay! Now my rabbit has what every bunny needs; a carrot.
Many years of painting and drawing 2D toys means that I am not at a loss for designs...in fact I wish I could sprout extra limbs, in order to be able to work, spider-like, on several projects at once.
The next idea was unashamedly inspired by a story from a favourite childhood Enid Blyton book, (and from where many early ideas and images fixed themselves in my imagination, still resurfacing in my work today).
Using a cotton wool base, she started rather bizarrely; a miniature yeti-like creature.
But several thousand stabs later, a bit of embellishment and a pink heart on her posterior she emerged looking plumply cute and rather like a Japanese crafted toy.
Wanting to move back to a more vintage style, I ransacked my Moleskine again -
- and started to roll, mould and stab again. Using cotton wool in the kitten saved on actual felting wool, but I seem to get a more satisfactory, organic shape with 100% wool top. So far she is eyeless and wingless. Does she need a crown or a frock? Or both?
I find it hard to believe there was life before needle felt.