In this month’s column, I would like to show you some equally amazing needle felt work that is larger than life! Like the very tiny, large scale is difficult to achieve in this medium, but not impossible! There’s no denying that needle felted art takes time to produce and that if you are pursuing large scale works, then it will take even longer. There are various needle felting tools that can speed up the process somewhat, but if you have the passion for big felt then this is just an obstacle you will have to overcome.
Let’s check out a couple of fantastic examples.
Many of you are no doubt familiar with Stephanie Metz – she has been a pioneer of sculptural needle felting for over 10 years and her work is surely among the very best. Her most recent series, “Flesh and Bone” is no exception.
These new works are developed first as sketches, then clay maquettes, then small scale studies (see pedestals in last photo above), then finally as finished big felt pieces that are measured in feet rather than inches. She describes these sculptures as “human-scale” and that they are.
At this size, they command attention in a more dramatic way; their visual weight evokes body parts in a way that simply is not possible in small scale. For more images of these and other pieces, please visit her website.
Perhaps the largest needle felted piece I have ever seen is the “Big Kitty” pictured above! This massive moggie is the work of Japanese artist Hoyuki Sato and his students. Its extreme size creates a humorous role reversal in which the human viewer, dwarfed by the sculpture, becomes the pet. Yes, this kitty pets you!
The last photo above is especially wonderful to see because of the joy and excitement in everyone’s faces. I would be amazed too – this big felt sculpture certainly stretches the medium beyond what I personally thought possible. For more images of this piece (and other equally wonderful, if smaller, works) please visit his website.
That’s all for this month. As always, thank you for reading and please get in touch if you have needle felt artwork to share!
What Technique Is This?
Needle Felting is the process of using a notched or “barbed” needle to compress layers of wool into denser felt that can be manipulated to create 3D sculptures. It is different to wet felting, which uses water to combine wool fibres, and these days there are a range of felting tools available that can enable you to make your own soft sculptures with ease!