Friday, November 20, 2009

You never know

Some days we have the most talented people walk in the door and introduce themselves. This week we met Melissa Gray.

Melissa does needlefelting with wood and even raises her own sheep just down the road outside of Jacksonville.

She does both one of a kind sculptures and puppets. Here's what she says about them, "I really enjoy making my puppets, my goal is for accuracy, and I strictly limit myself to all fiber, I dye first and do not paint anything, I also don't use glass, beads, or wood as part of the sculpture.. no adhesives, or sewing, no fabrics, or anything but wool. I use the wool my own flock of corriedales provides me.

I think its hard for non fiber people to totally "get" what goes into a puppet... but the reactions of people who know what needlefelting is, it is so intense and rewarding. "

If you don't know what needle felting is here is a description.

What is Needle Felting?
Needle felting is something artists have been doing for years, yet most of us have never heard of such a thing. When we think of felting, we think of flat felt pieces and hats. From now on - think sculpture; think one-of-a-kind; think bears, animals, fairies, dolls etc.

We start with a piece of carded wool, such as might be used for spinning, a foam block for working on and one or more felting needles.

Felting Needles are straight needles with barbs cut along the shaft. When repeatedly pushed into a tuft of wool fibers, the barbs pull the fibers down, compressing and locking them together. The barbs are cut in one direction so that felting or matting together of the fibers will occur when the needle is pushed in and not when it is pulled out.

This matting/felting process makes a large ball of fluff condense down into a denser mass of wool. Poking more in one spot will depress that area creating a dent or depression in your sculpture to make, for example, an eye socket.

As you can see from Melissas work that description doesn't really do it justice. To see her page on our website, with prices etc.

Here is a video on utube, please note this is NOT Melissa and you'll see this ladys project is very simple compared to Melissa's but it will give you a little bit of an idea. See video!

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