This week's blog post was written by Ammi Brooks of Ammi's Art.
I have been felting for about seven years now. I started with pushing a felting needle through shrunken wool to make designs for a Kindle cover. I have gone in many different directions since then, and today I want to show you what can be done with needle felting. If you are interested at all in making art with fiber, take a class (I am giving some introduction to felting classes in February and March at Artistic Portland), buy a book or peruse the many YouTube videos.
Needle felting is the art of sculpting wool with special, barbed needles. Stabbing the wool over and over again meshes the wool fibers together, creating a firm, textile object.
The Origin of Needle Felting: Felt is typically very strong and industrial, needle felted- felt is used in a variety of ways. From the 1950s, needle felting (needle punch) was originally used to make felt for industrial purposes, for use with musical instruments and as building materials. Industrial felt is made with large plates filled with special barbed felting needles that are mechanically moved up and down to felt wool and other materials together such as polyester or nylon.
Different types of sheep yield different types of wool (Merino, New Zealand, Lincoln, Romney,
Drysdale, Rambouillet to name a few); there are many types of wool available, but not all of it is
good for needle felting. The finer the wool, the softer it is; fine wool such as merino is used in the clothing industry.
Hundreds of the needles are used in the industrial made felt. Here we use one needle to create dogs, dragon and dolls.