Needle Felting has been such an amazing creative journey for me. This video was made back in 2009 – only a couple of years into my needle felting journey while I was still learning to felt. Yet even today, I’m still discovering the magic and needle felting still makes me feel like I’m ‘Learning to Fly’
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I’m so happy to introduce – This is Spinal Tap – Felt Alive needle felted dolls based on characters from the cult classic movie called – This is Spinal Tap a hysterical mockumentary about England’s loudest fictional band. As Nigel would say – ‘these go to eleven.”
Not long after I learned to needle felt dolls, I discovered I had a knack for making the wool look like real people – funny little versions of the real thing. From Elton to Elvis, Janis Joplin to Ellen Degeneres, I’ve been busy bringing the wool to life and the list in my head is endless of who’s next. Like real celebrities, they enjoy the camera very much – and I love capturing their candid moments. This gallery is a collection of some of my favorite Felt Alive moments.
Serendipity: While taking a Sunday drive we spotted a person in a furry costume with a sign that said Farm Open. We followed the sign to a Suri Alpaca Farm and decided to stop in to see if I could find some hair for the doll I’m working on – Freddie Mercury, the late, great singer from Queen. I found the perfect fiber and in chatting with the owner of the farm, it turns out he is old friends from college with Brian May, the guitarist from Queen. What are the chances of that? The hairs on my arms were on end the whole way home but things like this have been happening since the day I first picked up a felting needle. Someday, I might need to write a book about it. But something made this story even more magical – before talking with the owner, I had a discussion with another fiber artist I met at the farm about how serendipity led us both to our crafts – I even mentioned that if you don’t pay attention, you might not notice it’s happening. So pay attention to the signs – especially if a furry creature is holding it!
Here is my Felt Alive tribute to Freddie Mercury – (5 September 1946 – 24 November 1991)
Part of what I love about needle felting great musicians is listening to their music while I’m working and watching their amazing performances on YouTube during my breaks. This video of Queen performing A Kind of Magic live at Wembley Stadium in 1986 inspired this Li’l Freddie Mercury doll.
UPDATE – I’m most honored to say that Li’l Freddie Mercury is happy at his new home in the official Queen Archives in England.
I was so excited to be commissioned to bring Whoopi Goldberg to life in needle felted wool. I couldn’t have thought of of a better subject myself! She is solid needle felted wool with flexible needle felted joints. She stands on her own and is about 12″ tall. I wet felted her dreadlocks using Merino Roving and for her glasses I used Merino prefelt that I needle felted and then wet felted. She was quite a project and a fun collaboration with my client. My only problem is saying goodbye! I literally fall in love with my dolls as they come to life on my felting pad. I have only recently started doing custom dolls for others instead of dolls for me – it is getting easier to part with them but never easy!
If you would love to learn the magic of sculptural needle felting, I’d love to show you how! I have several fun and comprehensive video workshops along with all of the tools and supplies you need! www.needlefeltingsupplies.com
I needle felted these silly little woolly worms today over wire. I rarely use wire but this was easy and fun! I wrapped core wool roving around cloth covered florist wire, needle felted it using Felt Alive Super Duper Double Felting needles and covered them with Norwegian C1 premium felting batt – available Felt Alive Needle Felting Supplies
She stands on her own and is about 14″ tall – no wire armature, just needle felted wool! And the good news is that all of the great supplies I made her with are available in my NEW needle felting shop. www.needlefeltingsupplies.com
Lyle Lovett has such an interesting face so I thought he would be the perfect subject for a recent workshop where I taught advanced needle felting techniques for working from photographs. It was the first time I’ve shared my techniques for bringing wool to life as an actual likeness.
And I must mention that I’m a huge fan of Lyle Lovett! I’m on a new mission to introduce Li’l Lyle to the real Lyle Lovett. I have a feeling he would get a big kick out of him and I would love nothing more than to get a picture of the two of them together.
Today I am so happy because I get to unveil a new Felt Alive Li’l Celebrity.
Ladies & Gentleman…….Li’l Ellen DeGeneres!!!
And it seems the rest of the Felt Alive stars were pretty excited about her arrival on the scene.
Li’l Spock likes these guys but disco dancing remains illogical.
After all – Ellen is the life of the party… She can even get Li’l Trump to lighten up and give new meaning to a Trump Tower.
I am scheming of ways to get Li’l Ellen in the hands of Big Ellen. I’m busy going through the Ellen Show website and did submit some photos. Maybe I need a Felting Friends campaign to Ellen’s show. Any volunteers to suggest that her producers to take a look at her Ellen’s Felt Alive Felt-Alike?? http://ellen.warnerbros.com/show/respond/?PlugID=10
I was looking at my website stats and noticed a bunch of hits coming from a blog called Sweet Station. Then I remembered I had recently submitted a link to my website-They feature really sweet stuff, you can get lost for hours scrolling through the posts & I was delighted to find my Li’l Celebs featured.
Those of you familiar with my work know that I rarely offer my dolls for sale. As living conditions for my collection get more and more crowded, I am faced with the reality that I must learn to say goodbye. So!!
My husband requested a Will Ferrell caricature, my nephew suggested the Elf costume – I think it all worked out although I must admit, this li’l dude sort of gives me the creeps. He looks like he is up to no good if you ask me.
I had to make a Li’l Travolta Saturday Night Fever style! Boy does that take me back. I have to find a place with a disco ball for his official photo shoot but in the meantime we took him out sightseeing here in Alaska. When we stopped in at McHugh Creek along Turnagain Arm he learned an awful lot about the Dall Sheep we spotted in the moutains…Hmm….I wonder why he was so fascinated????
I have never needle felted will Dall Sheep wool. Sounds interesting, though.
I must say, I’m pretty smitten with my Li’l Cash – he looked like Sean Connery for so long and while I am a fan – Li’l Sean was NOT who this guy was supposed to be. So, like I usually do at that one special moment where my character comes to life – I shouted out with glee “I DID IT!!!!!!” It really is a fun moment…really fun.
Li’l Cash stands about 12″ tall and is 100% needle felted wool. He is fully jointed with needle felted joints and stands on his own without the use of wire armatures.
I made Clementine for a VERY special project. She made a long trip to China to a doll manufacturer to study her for possible mass production of my designs. Well, it was no big surprise to learn that they can not be easily reproduced – the style does not lend itself to the assembly line. I was glad to get her safely back home!
She looks tragic to me – I find it strange that most of my characters have a spark of joyfulness to me, but not so with Li’l Marilyn. This one was a real challenge – I don’t think Marilyn wanted to come to life in wool. But my li’l Marilyn is very balanced – she stands all by herself on her little red shoes
I am really happy to introduce my newest li’l Felt Alive celebrity – Li’l Bob Dylan! I just love how the wool can take on the look of a rugged face and a steely-eyed expression. And curly sheep’s locks seemed like the perfect choice for Dylan hair.
My Li’l Elton John was SO FUN to bring to life. Even his li’l glasses are made of wool – I didn’t even have to use wire. My proudest accomplishment is the lenses – they are wool, they are felted and you can see his eyes through them. I just love his flashy, flamboyant li’l personality.
Willie is about 12″ tall and is 100% Needle Felted Wool. His hair is a blend of Alpaca and Icelandic Wool. Like all my characters, I start with a basic body structure using what I call “core wool” which is basically wool batting that has not been dyed. The outer layers of the skin and clothing are made with Norwegian C1 Felting Batts. Willie was a wonderful, fun challenge for me – and he stands on his own!
Here is Willie with his buddy, Conan O’Brien!
And here is a video so you can see how lifelike he is!
What fun I am having!! Willie will look much more like Willie when he gets a neck – I am learning that our necks really define what we look like! I will post again when Willie is complete but I love this stage and had to share!
I think I have found my calling! Celebrity Felt Alive – Hmm…
This is so new for me – I am in my mid forties and never realized I had any kind of artistic abilities – that is until I discovered needle felting – two years ago! I am having so much fun with it – My new Li’l Conan is really a Felt Alive star. Somehow I captured Conan in wool – from his piercing look in his eyes, right down to his swagger, this truly is Mini Conan.
Li’l Conan is a HUGE FAn of the real Conan O’Brien and he plays in front of the tv every time Conan is on – it’s hilarious. He dreams of being Conan’s little desk buddy on his new Tonight Show….a li’l fella can dream…
Here is a little video so you can see how lifelike Li’l Conan is!
I have been up against a challenge ever since I started needle felting of learning how to capture my work in the best light. I am finding that nearly as much as I love creating needle felted characters, I love taking pictures of them. My favorite lighting is natural lighting and my favorite backdrop is my gorgeous Alaskan scenery but I feel it is important to get several excellent, high-res shots of each piece in a controlled studio setting. But how?? So, like most things I’m curious about, I turned to the internet. After much research, I finally have a solution. It is called a light box or a light tent.
My nephew made mine out of PVC conduit and unions. It comes apart for easy storage. I just have a plain white sheet to drape over the top – this filters the light – and I purchased a Flotone photographic backdrop that graduates from black to white. I use this as a sweep and stand my work right on the backdrop – this gives a seamless, wrinkle-free background. I think it gives professional look to my photos. Beside that – I have two 300 watt clamp lights to shine light in from either side to control or even eliminate shadows.
Here is a photo of one of my dolls, Evelyn making her debut in the light box. And in this photo – I didn’t even need to turn on my lighting – I have a nice, bright studio and this was taken on a lovely, sunny day.
I entered several of my characters into the Alaska State Fair – I was thrilled with how well they were received by the judges and it is very exciting to have them on display for Alaskans to see, adorned with all of their pretty ribbons.
Cyrus is the largest Felt Alive character to date! He stands about 23 inches tall and is a pretty hefty guy. He is solid needle felted wool and is fully jointed with seamless needle felted joints. No sewing, no stuffing, just felted wool!