Needle Felted Figures
It's our first blog for quite a while - the first of many we hope from the hot desk in Felty Towers. So we would like to start off telling you the story of our little people because we have had SO much interest, which is great. This is Dan - wired up and ready to go. Lovingly sculpted with coarse Norwegian wool over a strengthened armature, we made mini Dan with thoughts of animating him for our Home Spun Movies You Tube channel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3HT2SYGrMc.
The design process is key...from sketches to a clay model to work out the body shapes, to armature to core wool wrapping, then the top coarse wool clothing. Dan's big feet give him a great base, but we have since discovered that weighting feet with steel shot (available from teddy bear and doll making suppliers) is definitely the way to go. The heavy feet ground the figure beautifully and give solid support to the armature, wool body and head.
Dan's head has been made over a core wool base and tightly needle felted. He has glass eyes and his glasses have been made from wire wrapped with waxed floral tape and coloured with black acrylic paint.
His lips and cheeks have been coloured with a pale pink felt tipped pen. The steps are: Sculpt the face, add the nose which is worked separately then attached, shape the eye sockets, insert the eyes, needle eyelids (separately then join), then top and bottom lips leaving space for the teeth, add the white wool for the teeth and then make adjustments to the face shape, adding wool and referring to your inspiration.
We build strong armatures because we tell stories and like to pose and animate our characters. You don't need to do this, but it does strengthen a figure. We are experimenting with different wires - and currently like the cotton covered wires, used double to make a stronger base. Since making Dan we have added wire feet to our armatures (more of this technique in the next blog). Core wool is wrapped tightly around the 'skeleton' and needled in place before adding clothes.
Dan's t-shirt and jeans have been tightly needle felted into the core wool base. His trouser bottoms and sleeve ends have been needle felted flat, then wrapped around the legs and arms so that they hang away slightly. His feet were needle felted last of all, before the final crowning of the head. We love it when everything comes together.
It is normally chaos in the studio while we are creating stuff. Wool everywhere and mounting excitement as it is all happening. Things go wrong sometimes, but it's all part of the process...mistakes can be covered with wool, and on the odd occasion we have even had to amputate!
We could write a whole blog on tips for smoothing out mistakes!
So now, little Dan has moved in with Big Dan and he is enjoying the Likes and attention he is getting for his starring role in our movie.
There is more to come. Watch this space!