The Amazing Needle Felted Animals of Hannah Stiles
Hannah Stiles lives in Maine and has been needle felting for approximately 5 years; for the last two she has been doing well selling her wonderful creations and custom orders on Etsy. Hannah first learned to needle felt due to her part time job for a fiber company, her very first project was a little gray donkey ornament that she made as a Christmas party gift.
“I instantly loved felting and felt like I had always been doing it.”
Hannah now has 3 sheep of her own which she shears each spring.
She washes and dyes the wool and uses it to create her gorgeous needle felted animals.
“Every felt is a good felt!”
“My favorite part about felting is the huge array of possibilities it offers. You truly can make anything you dream up. I’ve always enjoyed sculpture and wood carving but was frustrated by the unforgiving nature of the materials. With needle felting I can create a sculpture but have perfect freedom to mess up, add wool, or pull it off. I have never had to abandon a project because it was unredeemable. Every felt is a good felt!”
As you can see from her creations, Hannah’s inspiration comes primarily from nature and living beings. She credits her immediate surroundings including her pets of yesterday and today, the animals on her small farm, and animals she encounters in her local forest and fields.
“…when the world was simple and animals could talk.”
“As a little girl my bedroom was overflowing with stuffed animals. I loved biology and anatomy in school and always looked forward to the next field trip to the farm, zoo or science museum. I get so much enjoyment from felting animals because it brings back the feeling I had as a child, when the world was simple and animals could talk.”
Hannah says her most challenging projects are the portraits she is commissioned to do of people’s pets. “I usually feel some suspense before I get to see the pictures they send me. Obviously the pressure to make a little wooly dog look like the real one can be tough, but the extra challenge makes it all the more satisfying when it’s completed!”
Hannah loves to create and work with her hands. She has been drawing “since she can remember” enjoys taking out her sketchbook for the occasional doodle. She has tried her hand and oil painting and watercolors, and shared with us that she even worked as a carpenter for a few years – which seems surprising given she is still in her mid-twenties!
“…I still get a lot of enjoyment from the odd home improvement project.
Whatever the medium, I’m never happier than when I am creating something with my hands!”
For anyone looking for tips or insights on getting started with felting, Hannah suggests:
“… simply jump in and try it! You don’t need a lot of stuff to begin – just a felting needle and some wool. Sign up for a local class or search the web for tutorials and inspiring work by other felters. Wool is so pleasant and satisfying to work with – put on some of your favorite music, get comfy and get carried away with the joy of needle felting!”
Good advice, indeed.
See more of Hannah’s inspired works: