Thursday, March 5, 2009

Needlefelting! Portugese Water Dog and What IS needlefelting?



I am back doing needlefelting after a long creative drought! It IS just like riding a bike, only no bike, with felting needles and a lot of wool.

I've added a listing for a Portugese Water Dog wool sculpture to my new shop. (A partial shop view is on the sidebar of this blog.) It's a great way to keep up with the Obama family, yet there's no upkeep involved with this puppy. No big vet bills, no dog food bills, no potty training. It's fiscally responsible in these times!

What IS needlefelting? Well, originally in the 1800's when machinery was making mass production easier, a machine was invented with thousands of needles that would repeatedly punch into layers of raw, cleaned wool to create felt which is probably the oldest textile in the world. But, this method required no water, only special barbed needles that catch the microscopic crimps in the wool and dense it down into felt.

In the 1980's someone started using just one of these needles and was able to create 3D forms and wool sculptures. This new artistic technique was born! It's extremely new in the art world compared to sculpting or painting in general. But, more and more people are hearing about it and creating unique artistic and functional items with it every day.

I belong to the largest international needlefelting group of artists in the world. Check out all these amazing and diverse creations from the needlefelter team! http://www.flickr.com/groups/etsyneedlefelt/pool/

Unlike paintings and sculptures, these can not be mass produced. Each one starts as loose wool or "rovings" which are the form cleaned wool is in before it is twisted into yarn. Instead of making yarn, needlefelters sculpt the wool by repeatedly stabbing with the felting needles. There are many types of wool that needlefelters use. I like to create the forms with shetland sheep wool. It is coarse and felts quickly for me. Then, I add the coats, manes, tails with the much finer, softer alpaca and llama wools. I've seen quiviut (yak), silk, camel down, and more used for needlefelting, too. I even used cleaned samoyed dog coat that was blown out at shedding time for a paint horse once. It has a lot of crimp and is so incredibly bright white, it was perfect for the project.

It's HIGHLY addictive and I encourage everyone to "Take a Stab At it!" You can find kits nowadays by searching the internet with the terms "needlefelt kit" or "needle felt kit". The kits come with all the wool, the felting needle and instructions you need to get started with this cheap and easy to learn craft.

I'm so excited to have been invited to participate in Fiber Arts Friday Carnival, by Katy, AlpacaFarmGirl. If you would like to share your fiber arts, please read the following instructions, check out this blogpost http://www.alpacafarmgirl.com/2009/03/fiber-arts-friday-carnival/ and hop on board!

(This is from the above linked blog post) Welcome to Fiber Arts Friday! I am excited about hosting the Fiber Arts Friday Carnival. I can’t wait to look through the works of the many talented fiber artists on the internet. Each week we will feature a Fiber Artist. Let me know if you are interested in being featured in an upcoming Fiber Arts Friday post.

To participate:

Add the permalink to a specific blog post that features something Fiber Art related, not your general blog address.
Link back to Fiber Arts Friday from your post so that your readers can come and see everyone else’s projects!
Visit as many of the other participants as possible and leave comments! That’s what helps us all connect!
Double-check to make sure your link works and goes to the right page so it doesn’t get deleted.

8 comments:

ROUTES said...

So lovely Gina and Im so glad your being creative again will follow this with great interest x

ingermaaike said...

Glad you found your needles again!

Alpaca Farmgirl said...

Absolutely amazing needle felting! You are super talented. 3-D is a challenging way to work. You are inspirational!

Thanks for participating in the Fiber Arts Carnival. Hope to see you there every week. ;)

Alpaca Granny said...

'morning, Gina, your work is lovely as usual. I can not felt - wet or with needles! My hands and body refuse to enjoy it.
Maple

dayattheranch said...

Your needlefelted animals are precious and you do such a fantastic job! I tried it once and really liked it - if I only had more time.
Leigh

Terry said...

So darn cute! I haven't tried needle felting yet, it looks great.

gaffergirls.com said...

just found you..
congrats...
so glad I popped in for a visit..

mona & the gaffer girls
have a great week

marystarosta said...

Gina,
Ok you are back and I want you to come share a booth with me in Parker! It will be fun...no strings May 15-17,2009 gives you some time to get organized!

Mary Starosta
Colorado Potter