Felter Skelter

Felter Skelter - your essential needle felting column from Mr X Stitch!

I am pleased to announce ORACLES, my upcoming solo exhibition at the Philadelphia Sculpture Gym’s PSG Gallery. I usually prefer to showcase other needle felt artists in this column, but this month I want to give you a peek at what I’ve been working on myself, and share a little about how it is made.

Zoë Williams needle felting mat Zoë Williams needle felting wool

These are the tools of the trade! My favorite needles and mat are both made by Clover. Pictured is the large needle felting mat and refill needles (heavy weight and fine weight). Also pictured: a “reverse” felting needle, which pulls the fibers outward instead of pushing them in. Of course there would be nothing to felt without some WOOL*! I get my wool from Paradise Fibers. I use a combination of Corriedale and Superfine Merino Top in most of my sculptures, but if you are new to needle felting, I recommend trying a variety of fibers to give you a feel for the medium. (*Actually, you can needle felt acrylic fiber too! I wrote about this for the Lion Brand blog HERE)

Zoë Williams Tohickon glass eye blanks Zoë Williams Tohickon painted eye blanks

I get a lot of inquiries about my eyes. I use glass taxidermy eyes in all of my pieces and I get almost all of them from Tohickon. For ORACLES, I painted many of the eyes myself, using clear eye blanks and enamel paint. They are painted on the back side, which is every bit as tricky as it sounds!

Zoë Williams needle felt work in progress IMG_4479

Here’s a look at one of my sculptures in the early stages (left) and then later on with some of the details roughed in (right). They look very blobby for a long time while the wool firms up, but it’s important not to rush. Needle felt need not be squishy! This is ultimately a matter of taste, but a solid foundation is critical for adding non-fiber elements like eyes, bird legs, antlers, etc.

Zoë Williams, Harbingers 2015

ORACLES opens Friday, June 5th with a reception from 6:00 – 9:00pm (Join the party on Facebook). If you would like to preview the show before it opens, please send an email to psggallery@gmail.com. As always, you may direct artwork inquiries, artist recommendations, and needle felting questions (or any questions about art, life in general, etc) directly to me! Happy felting!

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. If you purchase supplies from some of these links, I will get a small commission or rewards points

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Felter Skelter - your essential needle felting column from Mr X Stitch!

It’s no secret that I’m a lover of all things cute. In researching this column, I’ve amassed quite a collection of needle felt goodies from around the world, so this month I’m pleased to share some of my favorite cuties with you!

FannimiNiATURE

Fanni MiNiATURE

Katerina Kozunenko

Katerina Kozunenko

dollmofee

dollmofee

Reve Miniatures

Reve Miniatures

Robin Joy Andreae

Robin Joy Andreae

SteviT

SteviT

Terebenina

Terebenina

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Felter Skelter - your essential needle felting column from Mr X Stitch!

I’ve seen felt used for many things and in many creative contexts, but as I am a fine artist myself, it always brings me joy to see felt in an art gallery. Below are some beautiful examples of fine artists making use of my favorite medium. Four artists with four visions, from narrative sculpture, to room-sized installation. Where possible, I’ve included excerpts from the artists’ own statements.

Nancy Mintz Nancy Mintz Nancy Mintz

Nancy Mintz, Lunation

“I have spent most of my creative life dealing with issues of identity and the environment. Utilizing ideas found in science, nature and industry to explore my own language to construct worlds I understand. Often I use different materials and processes to present a struggle between humor and horror, industry and nature, the individual and the group.”

Minami KawasakiMinami KawasakiMinami Kawasaki

Minami Kawasaki, Home Sweet Home

Three rotund, pink puppies cuddle on a comfortable looking cushion. They are undoubtedly cute, but also more than a little strange. Two puppies seem to sleep, one’s mouth lolling open, while the third stares disconcertingly back at the viewer. I wasn’t able to find a website or any more information about Kawasaki, but you can see a few more photos of this piece here.

Claire MoynihanClaire MoynihanClaire Moynihan

Claire Moynihan, Moth Balls & Bug Balls

“With an appreciation of the natural world and love of drawing Claire has been inspired to study insects and reproduce these as tiny embroideries on felt. She enjoys the humour in producing insects that are realistic and presenting them as traditional entomological collections. Her work is a celebration of insects some of which are ironically described as ‘pests’.”

Rowland Ricketts Rowland Ricketts Rowland Ricketts

Rowland Ricketts, Fields of Indigo &  Immanent Blue installations

“Rowland Ricketts utilizes natural dyes and historical processes to create contemporary textiles that span art and design.” His Fields of Indigo installation, a collaboration with sound artist Norbert Herber, leads visitors through the making of indigo from farm to dye. This process is integral to his art and textile design practice.

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Felter Skelter - your essential needle felting column from Mr X Stitch!

In this month’s column, I would like to show you some wonderful and wearable needle felt creations. Much of the artwork I feature here is sculpture, probably because that’s what I make, but I love to see how others are pushing the boundaries of the medium and wearables are a great example of that. Below, you will find images from four artists who use needle felt to create and embellish jewelry and accessories. Not only are these beautiful examples of needle felt, they are also fabulous, fashion-forward statement pieces – the perfect addition to any fiber art lover’s wardrobe.

Misswoolfelt MisswoolfeltMisswoolfeltMisswoolfelt

Zany Days Zany Days Zany Days Zany DaysZany Days

Nozomi CraftsNozomi Crafts Nozomi CraftsNozomi Crafts

Lithe-Fider Lithe-Fider Lithe-FiderLithe-Fider*

* I realize the last photo is not actually wearable, but I couldn’t resist! This sweet giraffe is a mixed media fiber sculpture, made with needle felt, batik, lace, and free motion quilting by Nyssa Benthin of Lithe-Fider.

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Zoe Williams

Zoë Williams creates needle felt sculptures based on spirits, sacred creatures, and dreams. Her work is concerned with the intersection of the (inner) realm of the collective unconscious and the (outer) kingdom of nature. She lives and works in New York City.

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Mr X