Monday, August 29, 2011

Fantastic Felt

  Now that all of my bears are gone my desk has lots of extra space. I decided it was time I try some new techniques, and some new materials as well. Joanne Livingstons blog has some great photos and descriptions on how to needle felt so I've been studying that lately and trying out my hand with the wool. Its probably the strangest stuff I have ever worked with.... you take this long barbed needle and some fluff and just stab it over and over again and it turns into hard felt, depending on how and where you stab the needle determines the shape you are going to create. Its almost like working with fuzzy clay! So far I tried to make a panda bear face but it didn't turn out so well when I tried waxing over the felt nose with Yankee candle wax....... (Live and learn!) So I tried again! This time I changed my pattern to give the face more width to make it look more like a panda.... but it ended up being a polar bear. It wasn't exactly what I wanted, but I'm not complaining! After I felted the face I still felt like there was more I needed to do. I started rooting in mohair just around the edges of the felt, and before I knew it I had half a face already done. Surprisingly I enjoy rooting in the hair.. it takes a lot of time but the results are rewarding. After I did the left side of the polar bears face I took a brush and combed over the places I had put in hair, and I was very happy to discover that none of it came out!  I still have a lot of work to go on this face, the nose needs to be smoothed over (you can see the hard edges where the paint brush was picked up) , the eyes need to be shaded and hairs worked in, the other side of the face needs more hairs as well and some scissor sculpting afterwards. But I am in no hurry, I really want to take my time on this bear and just explore the techniques.

 Best wishes and happy bear making to all!
       - Heidi

Here is the needle I use, and the wool.
I'm not really sure yet how to use the block correctly.
The felt sticks to it and makes it frizzy and hard to control.

Here is mohair that I dyed myself
(of course I did nothing with the white piece but rinse it out and toss it in the dryer to make it fluffy.)

The nose and eyes still need work.

Here is a picture I added a few days later.
He turned into a panda after all.. go figure!


  1. Wow, I am impressed. He looks really good. So is he now a polar bear? or will the black eye patches make him panda?

  2. Thank you Joanne!!! You know I am still a little confused about what he is... in art class at my school I've started to make a little clay pinch pot with penguins on top for him, so I guess he has no choice but to be a polar bear now. Either that or I will save the penguins for the next one! :)

  3. He's wonderful, Heidi! I love your willingness to experiment with different techniques and Joanne has the best tutorials for anyone wanting to try! Hugs, Janice