9.12.10

Sukey & fame


Another toy rolls off the production line - Sukey was ordered back in Spring. She is a near-copy of another blue cat, Selina, I made a while back. But a bit different.


Her nose is a little heart and her tail rises ever so gently in the air as if it is in mid-twitch. Or simply saying 'hello'.


And the fame? Well, the UK magazine '
Let's Get Crafting' did an introduction to needle felting this month - here is someone who's work I've known since my early felting days, Melanie of Felt Me Up Designs and her jolly little birds.


Oh, and me with a few of my thingys, answering a few questions about the craft. I think this magazine is available at the usual places such as WHSmith, but I've popped the questions in below as well. Not sure about the fame, but it's very nice to be picked out.


How did you start needle felting?
Two and a half years ago I received an anonymous needle felting kit in the post. I had been getting several comments on my blog that I should try needle felting actual models of the 'Imaginary Toys' artworks that I paint, (I am also a professional artist and illustrator) but I didn't know what it was then. Had I not been sent the kit, I might never have tried it! As soon as I picked up a needle and realised that I could sculpt the merino wool into anything I liked, I was hooked and haven't stopped since. Little did I know then that my collectible toys would be such an instant hit or that I would end up making them as my main career. That single mysterious gift changed my whole life.

What do you enjoy about it?
It is one of the simplest crafts I have ever tried; a few needles, a cushioned block and some wool and you are away! The only limit is your imagination and hand skills - it really is a form of sculpting and the better your visual spatial awareness, the better you will be at it. It is also cheap - small amounts of wool will only cost a few pounds and it is a portable craft which can be done tidily on your lap - no mess! I find it totally absorbing and therapeutic and so satisfying to create a real model from your imagination.

How long does it take you to make your larger toys?
A very long time - several days. I've never really timed myself, but a small, simple thing like my Camellia dog design will take at least twenty hours of solid work. I am often asked how I get the fine, smooth finish on my toys; there is no magic, instant technique, just hours of patient fine tuning; stabbing gently away with one fine needle, tucking the wispy hairs in, until I get the firm, smooth surface I prefer.

What's your favourite creation?
Oooh, difficult! My animals are tiny pieces of my soul and they seem to transform themselves into such funny little personalities. I love my goose birds and my elephants - but If I really had to pick just one it would be Oscar, as he was a real character, and such a happy chap.

20 comments:

frayedattheedge said...

Now I know why my felting is nowhere near as good as yours ..... my son keeps telling me I have no spatial awareness!! (I can't do 3- D puzzles and solid geometry was a mystery to me) Your little creatures are so gorgeous - even the cats (I am strictly a dog person!!)

Helen said...

I love Sukey, especially the way the brown melds into the blue.

Congrats on the FAME!

Sweet Birdy Love said...

Hey Gretel, Sukey is just gorgeous, beautiful colours and a cute little heart shaped nose.
Once again another brilliant woollen sculpture.
Melanies' little birds are gorgeous too, better not let Sukey see them....
Congrats on being featured in the magazine.
It's high time, word got out there about your wonderful
creations.
Enjoy your weekend.

Mike Woodcock said...

Sukey is utterly adorable! She also happens to share her name with my first cat.
Congratulations on the article too, it's lovely to know that you're talents are appreciated and quite rightly so.

Jessie said...

Congratulations on the magazine article! Your little felt creations are each so individual and fantastic, well deserved fame! xx

rossichka said...

What a sweet cat she is and her nose is heartbreaking!:)
I read your interview with pleasure and was happy to learn something more about the process of needle felting and how did it all start with you. What a nice and slightly mysterious story! The person who sent you the kit obviously knew it would bring you joy and was just for you!...

BumbleVee said...

Absolutely it is fame... and so wonderful to see yourself in print.

How strange that somebody sent you the little anonymous gift and that is became the amazing situation in which you find yourself now.... good for them, whoever it was!

Frances said...

Oh this is grand, Gretel. The delightful little cat is so well observed. I am sure that your own cats are marvelous models...in three dimensions for sure.

And wonderful for you to have the magazine interview appear now, when it seems as if your arm is mending/mended.

Up, up and away!
xo

ayelet(nishale) said...

Sukey is AMAZING and you deservr this fame!!!! thats so GREAT!!!!!!

Soozcat said...

Oh, well done you! Congratulations.

You really do beautiful, high-quality work; not many needle-felted items have the kind of smooth, even surface seen with your toys. It makes a big difference in the finished piece.

And Sukey is lovely.

Twiglet said...

What a great post - lots of positives and so cheery!! Sukey is beautiful and congrats on the article.

Jill said...

What a cutie, Sukey is delightful, having had a go myself, I appreciate how talented you are, and congrats on the article.

Rosie said...

Apart from the magical creatures you create I love the texture of them. I started needle felting after seeing your work...now I'm felting by hand too so I can make miniature clothes. Thank you for having this blog.

jfidz said...

Big congrats Gretel, thoroughly deserved. Almost feel inclined to have a go myself!

d. moll, l.ac. said...

Sukey is perfect, you have such a way with shape. Has that anonymous sender of the needle felting kit come forward ever? Such a mystery that.

Marianne said...

My dream life - living in a tiny cottage in the Cotwolds! So glad to have found your blog. For now...I have added 3 Cotswold sheep to my small flock and hope to visit the Cotswolds next year.
Cheers - Marianne

Frances Tyrrell said...

I have watched some of your video of your process, the minutes stretching into hours of fine, persistent, dodged work until the surface looks enticingly strokable and smooth. I think this loving care is what comes through in the faces, their personalities, that they are loved and complete because of it.
A great interview, well-deserved accolades!

eliZAbeth said...

What a beautiful cat ! And congratulations for your interview !
I really admire the texture of your animals and now I understand it is the result of hours and hours... So I take my needles and go back to work...

kawaleksiebie said...

Piękne prace. Ciekawa jestem, ile czasu musisz filcować takiego kotka, by był odpowiednio twardy?

acornmoon said...

Well done Gretel. Did you ever find out who sent you your first kit? I think it must have been your fairy Godmother.

Have a wonderful Christmas Gretel and enjoy those mince pies with cream, good for arm mending. x