By Steve Butler
What is it? – Needle felting is an age old art form that has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity and is being enthusiastically embraced by an increasingly wide spectrum of creative expression. Art, jewelry, fashion embellishment, home decor, toys . . . it does them all. Needle felting techniques are applied globally but are adapted locally in the expression of unique traditions, cultures or other expressive preferences. In its most basic form the process of felting employs a felting needle to interlock carded wool or synthetic fibers into a more condensed material of a specific shape and color. The felting needle is a long barbed needle that entangles the roving fibers as it is inserted. In this way felting needles allow us to apply layers, colors and shape to our project in any way that suits our creative design. Best of all the creative potential of needle felting transcends age, skill, physical ability or even talent. Anyone can enjoy it and even mistakes can be inspiring.
What does it do? – Needle felting allows an amazing range of creative expression. Needle felting tools enable that process and using quality, application specific tools make that process and the result even more satisfying.
Needle Felting Mat – Available in two sizes (small and large), the needle felting mat is a necessity. It provides a stable platform for our felting project while allowing space for needle penetration without damage.
Needle Felting Tool – The needle felting tool sports five needles attached to a comfortable handle with an articulating protective shield. This tool is perfect for larger projects where a more “macro” application is required over a large area.
Pen Style Needle Felting Tool – The Pen Style tool is fitted with three needles to enable more detailed application of wool roving. It is fitted with a protective cap to shield the needles when not in use.
Single Needle Felting Tool – The Single Needle tool is the tool to use for those tiny or delicate applications of wool roving. Perfect for those finishing touches!
Claw and Mat Cleaner – This is a very handy, multi-use tool. One end of the tool is fitted with spring wire “claws”. The claws hold the felting project in place without restricting our view or needle access. Most importantly, however, it keeps our fingers away from the very sharp needles while felting. Safety first! The other end of the tool is fitted with plastic grooves. Their function is to clean excess roving from the bristles of the felting mat, preventing stray fibers from becoming a de facto part of our creative vision. Trying to pull that single chartreuse fiber out of the purple field without disturbing it is frustrating and time consuming. Just don’t go there.
Needle Felting Tool Refill Needle – Emotion is part of the creative process. That’s good. But sometimes that emotion breaks needles. That’s bad. But we can replace those needles. That’s good again. To keep us in the creative process when our exuberance causes us to damage a felting needle, Clover produces three replacement needle sizes. Available are fine, heavy and speed felting needles to accommodate any specific replacement need we might have.
How do I share it? – This is a class. Few people can see the tools and envision the process. The best way to promote this art form is to provide instruction with a simple project resulting. Once your friends see how simple the felting creative process is they’ll be hooked. The kids love felting too. They can create all of their favorite characters as standalone projects or embellish all of their clothes and bags. Put together some project bags just for them. Needle felting is like painting in 3D. Increase the awareness and you’ll build a following.
Watch Tool School here!
For tutorials on Clover’s Felting Tools click here.