Needle Felting is also called “Dry Felting” and uses a type of needle specifically designed to mash the wool fibres together with sharp reverse barbs along a blade that catches, drags.
Safety First: Using a safety sponge or something to protect your table, tap, or hand holding while stabbing can result in unexpected stabbing pain.
Remember to always rotate the item you are working on – to avoid “over stabbing” & to remove the item from the sponge often so it does not become attached. Deep stabs to start, gentle “hardly touching” stabbing at the end to finish.
The “barb” (notches) along the “blade” mash the fibres together going into the item, and release coming out. It is important that the direction of the needle does not change during the stabbing process – as the tension on the needle could break it.
It is good to get to know your wool. This is a picture of a wool fibre under a microscope. Notice the scales are interlocked together (like a pine cone) each scale lifting at the ends, naturally designed to snag and catch on other fibres. Perfect for Felting! Amazing!
Hints on how to not hurt yourself:
1) make a “C” shape with your supportive hand when holding the item you are stabbing- this will create a cup shape around the item and give more distance for the needle to travel before contact.
2) breath (most times people stab a finger is when the felting is exciting – and we often stop breathing or rather hold our breath for long periods of time – this causes stress in shoulder & chest muscles, we tense up, and wham! so… try to remind yourself to breath, relax your grip when holding the needle, pull your elbow in, and be the machine: (the felting machine).
3) remember the difference between “holding” & “squishing” as when we get excited while needle felting we may begin to apply more pressure with our “holding hand”, placing a finger or palm closer to the possibility of being contacted by the needle.
Needle felting insists on the maker to “feel” the medium, as well as “see” the wool into art. It is rewarding & meditative, exciting, expressive, engaging, relaxing, and somewhat easy to learn set of skills, compared to other mediums used to make art.
Needle Felting is relatively new to the world of art, for the tools (the needles) are initially designed for large scale production of industrial felt. Crafting & Fine Arts truly started to take up individual needles as a movement in the mid-1980’s, with this emergence it has taken the words “Fibre Art” and thrown the doors open to opportunity. With it comes the ancient idea of touch, using our hands to create with even just a touch of our finger-prints. The details can be never-ending, & to the world of fibre art this is a relatively fast and forgiving medium.
(“3 Bears” pictured above by L.W. Wilson, each timed approximately @ 6.5 hours each).
There is amazing ease found in using wool fibre as a artistic medium that brims with vibrant colors, rich textures, both 2D & 3D. I always warn folks, that the fun found in stabbing something for long periods of time with very sharp needles can form an unstoppable addiction to needle felting.
Anyone could be a natural born needle felt artist, as the medium taps into our most ancient feeling instincts: touch.
Needle felting insists on the maker to “feel” the medium, as well as “see” the wool into art. It is rewarding & meditative, exciting, expressive, engaging, relaxing, and somewhat easy to learn compared to other mediums used to make art.
To talk about a needle felting workshop or kits =email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Practice and keep the safety of your hands and fingers topmost in your mind.
About Workshops & How I deliver:
I incorporate stories about the history of needle felting & information about the kinds of wool we will use in the project….entertaining while informing the participants how to use the tools by hands on learning.
It is important that everyone can continue felting with confidence. A successful workshop is when the participants have enjoyed themselves while learning, & walk away enabled & inspired to continue needle felting.
“Artist Secrets Revealed” As an instructor I believe that everyone has potential to learn.
“One Fibre can make All the Difference”
Kits are available & special projects can be commissioned: email@example.com