Welcome to Felter Skelter, your essential guide for needle felting inspiration and ideas!
This column on functional felt was first released in May 2013, however we thought it was so good we wanted to bring it to your attention!
This month, I’d like to highlight a few pieces of functional felt artwork, these understated woollen creations. The utilitarian aspect of the sculptures featured in this post is a reminder of the humble origins of this medium, but make no mistake – functional felt takes a back seat to form here! These sculptures are both lovely and strange and I hope that you will enjoy them as much as I do.
Are You Ready For Adventure?
These are two animal purses by Polish artist Galina Blazejewska. Fully realized sculptures in their own right, they are also hollow so that items can be carried inside – thus class as functional felt! Her octopus pieces feature a clasp atop the head, but her fish and frog designs incorporate the clasp into the sculpture itself, serving as the creature’s mouth. I think the odd combination of animal and bag is interesting – do they evoke an innocent love of animals?
Can you guess what these pieces are used for? No? Here is a hint – they are from German artist Susanne Karg’s shop Felt for Cat (https://www.etsy.com/shop/feltforcat). That’s right, they are cat beds or “cat caves”! Doesn’t that give functional felt a new meaning? Each piece has a large hollow interior for your cat to crawl into and enjoy. My particular favorites are the seashells pictured above, because I’m tickled pink imagining a cat’s head poking out of the shell like an enormous hermit crab. But all that aside, these cat beds are beautifully constructed with wonderful attention to detail. I don’t think you need a cat to appreciate them!
Brooklyn artist Rae Stimson creates wearable landscapes out of felt, like these two incredible hats. The first is a kitchen scene that puts me in mind of The Black Lodge in Twin Peaks. The second is a detailed landscape scene depicting a WWII battle in which tiny Panzer tanks destroy a bridge. These pieces are moments frozen in time and the act of wearing one literally “on top of mind” gives them a significance and weight that would not otherwise be present. Find more of her creations.
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!