33 Haywood Street
Asheville NC 28801
The Basic Process
|Needle felting is a soap-and-water-free
way to make felt. It started as a commercial process, and has been
adapted to hand-use by contemporary fiber artists and feltmakers.
Using a single needle or a small cluster, it is possible to make elaborately
detailed, well controlled, three-dimensional pieces from loose wool
Felting needles are made from hardened steel, usually with a triangular
profile, and are very sharp. They have tiny barbs or notches near
the point. The gauge of the needle and the number of barbs vary, but
they all work the same way. When one or more needles are repeatedly
poked in and out of a mass of loose fiber, its "scales"
tangle and interlock and eventually make felt.
Needle felting doesn't require strength, but it does require patience
and concentration. The needles are very sharp, please take good care
not to hurt yourself or allow anyone else to be hurt. And they are
brittle, they are likely to break if they are flexed. Needle felted
pieces tend to be whimsical; it's a great way to let your fancies
take physical form, requiring very little in the way of tools or materials.