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.