Monday, August 12

Making a Beaky Monster - The art of needle felting...



Most of the time I'm an illustrator, but I've always loved making things too. I had a bit of a small toy making business going when I was in school making soft toy replicas of people's pets and other critters, and now though I don't often make anything of the toy variety anymore- I already have too much space being taken up by all my books, I do enjoy sewing and making home furnishings and other crafty past times, and last year I also had a lot of fun making one of my monsters too... you may have seen him in my earlier posts.

Here he is, from The Monster Machine picture book and also my adopted business mascot (very useful for checking over my contracts and deciding when it is lunch time) Beaky Monster.
Beaky Monster stood on my desk looking out of the window...

Beaky Monster in production... no head! but no eyes yet either so it's not too horrific.

I made Beaky Monster using a craft known as 'needle felting'. Beaky Monster is my very first needle felted creation and though it is often painful (I lost count of how many times I stabbed myself in the finger with the little barbed needles) it is strangely addictive and stress relieving too- when it's going the way you want at least, haha.

You basically sculpt tufts of dyed woollen fibres into shape by repeatedly stabbing it with an assortment of vicious little barbed needles which serve to mesh the fibres together and make the woollen lumps increasingly dense and firm. 

I first heard about needle felting a while ago when I spotted a Mollie Makes magazine in the train station advertising some of super awesome felt artist and illustrator Gretel Parker's little felt dogs on the cover and thought I'd have to give it a go too! 

Check out Gretel Parker's website - http://www.gretelparker.com/
to see some superb needle felting, and the little felt dogs! she also run's needle felting classes too...