I wanted to share with you a very unique handcraft by a young lady in Ireland. Disclaimer: Now she is family, but her skill is so pronounced, I would wholeheartedly endorse her even if I didn’t know her.
Allison makes felted animal heads that are so realistic it is hard to believe. As you can see in this deer head., Allison also likes to add a bit of whimsy to her work… I just love the cap and bow!
What exactly is felting? It is similar to taking a comb and backcombing or matting your hair and then clumping it together to make a dreadlock. You can roll your hair into long pieces to let hang or clump together into a bun like mass at the base of your head. Backcombing is similar to using the felt needle. The felt needle has little barbs on it that clumb the wool as it goes through and mats the wool in that spot. You must stab it multiple times to get the thickness you desire. I found a great explanation of the process here at BearCreekFetling
The wool fiber is surrounded by flat, overlapping scales. When processed, the fibers are mixed in their orientation and the scale edges may point in opposite directions. Therefore, the orientation of the fiber and subsequently the direction of the scale edges are random. When wool is subjected to agitation such as felting – the edges on the scales come in contact with each other and do not allow the wool fiber to slide back, “locking” the fiber into position. It is not just one or two fibers that are locking together, but literally hundreds of fibers that come in contact with each other and lock into this position – causing the wool to felt.
The Felting Needles
The felting needles are a special kind of needle that have tiny barbs on the end. The barbs are going in one direction and when the needle is stabbed into the wool the barbs pull the wool in, but not back out again.
The Felting Cushion
The cushion is used as a surface to work on. When you stab the needle into the wool it needs to have something to go into instead of the table or your leg.
Needle felting is begun by rolling up a small amount of wool and stabbing it with the needle. When the wool is stabbed with the felting needle it pulls the wool into itself. By stabbing the wool with the needle over and over while turning the wool it continues to pull wool into itself and the wool, with its tiny scales, locks together. Continued stabbing and turning results in a firm round shape. Once there is a basic shape to start with wool is added where it is needed to form a sculpture.
Martha Stewart had a class on the process here.
But AC goes beyond the average animal. Her creatures have a sense of life to them that I do not see in other crafted items. Maybe it’s the eyes on the animals, but there is definitely something about them that looks very life like and thus better than the average bear as they say.
Here are soem exapmples of hter work. She has a shop on Etsy at this link. Her shop is FeltFaunsaby AC
Here are some samples
I just love the eyelashes on this Llama
Not only are the animals cute and so lifelike but there is also that added bit a whimsy. I Love’ the little hat, the scarf, the bow or ribbon
However, as Ali progressed in her skill set and became more confident in her artistic ability, she began to offer a commission to people. Give her a photo, and she’ll make a copy of your favorite animal. Here is just one sample of the work she does. Pretty amazing, even if she’s family!!!!
Just wanted to share this with you. If anyone is looking for something different for Christmas, this just might be it. Please go to her Etsy store or Facebook page to contact Ali. She would love to create something just for you. She ships internationally!
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Take good care