There is something magical about turning a pile of fibres into a Felt portrait.
I love doing felt portraits. I hate the agonising process though! I wet-felt the picture first. This involves using merino and Corriedale wool fibres (and sometimes other wool and silks) which are layered. A base layer of colour followed by laying out the picture. I love the point where the picture looks perfect and good enough to frame… Sadly it cannot be framed at this point as it is just loose fibres.
The fibres are wetted and soaped to loosen the scales on the fibres and then and rubbed and rolled (for a long time – great to exercise the bingo wings!) until the fibres mesh together to form felt. I hate the result. My perfect little felted portrait dog looks like a franken-doggy! All distorted and wonky. The fibres move… their eyes go wonky, the lovely definition of fur coats gets lost. It’s heart-breaking! I still prefer to do a wet felted base though compared to other wool portrait artists (who don’t becasue its a crazy thing to do- like doing a picture twice!) becasue I think it gives such a soft base to work from.
Then the perfectionist in me spends way too long (days!) needle-felting more wool fibres into the base to bring back the definition and add a little sparkle to the subject’s eyes!
The result is not a photo perfect picture. If you want that – take a photo and frame it! I do not trace the photo so what you get is an woolly impression.
The fibre gives the picture beautiful texture and softness. The felt portrait is mounted onto mount board (hand stitched) and can framed behind glass or sewn on to canvas (but this doesn’t give protection from dust and people who cannot resist touching it!). Box frames help to show the texture of the portrait.
Missy is my own little rescue Chihuahua. I got her when she was six months old. She had never been handled and was terrified. She, and 9 other dogs needed to be re-homed when their ‘owner’ was evicted. Missy would have been used for breeding. She is still nervous and still terrified of other dogs but she is so full of character and mischief! I think her portrait shows this.
I also do people portraits. They work best in a ‘pop-art’ style. Elsie, below, is my daughter.
If you would like to commission a portrait have a look at the shop page here