Welcome to Felter Skelter, your essential guide for needle felting inspiration and ideas!
This month Felter Skelter focuses on Paolo del Toro, who creates needle felt sculptures inspired by dreams, the occult, and folk/fairy tales. He came to needle felting from a background in woodworking and his mastery of that medium is clearly evident in his approach to wool.
Regardless of material, his sculptures demonstrate a high level of refinement and a unique character. Read on for images and words from the artist himself!
“I’m British, but recently immigrated to Pennsylvania. Previous to moving here I spent most of my time living and working on farms around Europe. I was often tasked with working with natural materials like stone or wood, and found that these materials crept more and more into the work I was producing; first as the subjects of my illustrations and then as the material I was actually using.”
“Most of my sculpture work so far has been in wood, but this past winter I chanced upon needle felting and have found it to be one of my favourite mediums. I tend to be a bit fastidious about the finish of my wood projects and find it hard to know when to stop smoothing and polishing the surface. However, the surface of felt is fuzzy by nature so I’ve been enjoying taking a break from my obsessive finishing techniques.”
“I also love how forgiving felt is in comparison to wood. Making a mistake in wood is tricky to put right, but much more achievable in felt. I also like how accessible the art form is. Needle felting doesn’t require any expensive tools or in-depth training, and it doesn’t create much in the way of mess or waste.”
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!