A Peek Inside the Woolen Wagon – Needle Felting Life Like Animals with Megan Nedds
Megan Nedds sculpts incredibly captivating wild life through needle felting wool.
She first discovered needle felting in the summer of 2012, following her graduation from high school.
At the time of this post, she has been felting less than 2 years, which is remarkable considering her skill and craftsmanship.
Megan was looking for a fun summer project before beginning college…and so it began:
“I remembered a miniature cat that I had as a child, and dove into the internet to find out how it was made.
Although my childhood cat was not needle felted, my search for miniature animals led me to the amazing world of felting.
I was intrigued, and I was determined to learn the craft. I ordered a few essential supplies and taught myself how to needle felt. Over the past year and a half, I have developed my skills through experimentation and tips from fellow felters.”
“There are so many things I love about felting, it is so different than any other medium I have worked in.
I love that wool is a natural medium. I also love how versatile it is, it very forgiving. If a mistake is made, it can easily be fixed.
I also love how felted animal sculptures can be so interactive; when felted with a wire armature,
they can be posed and positioned, they can become animated.”
Megan’s felted animals look so realistic and animated for several reasons. She felts them over wire armature to make them posable, and she constantly references photographs, diagrams of skeletons, fur patterns and anatomy for the animal she is felting.
“I am inspired by nature, animals, and life. As a children’s book illustration major in school,
I am inspired to create character and personality in my animals.“
In addition to working with wool and needle felting, Megan enjoys drawing and painting and shares
that through school she is working to develop her skills in the more traditional mediums.
She acknowledges that she can apply the techniques she learns in one medium to other mediums, including needle felting.
We asked Megan to share a particularly challenging project past or present:
“Each project presents its own challenge, but if I had to choose my most challenging project, I would choose Stanley the Hedgehog. The most challenging and time consuming aspect of Stanley was trying to figure out how to create his quills. I wanted them to be thin and distinct, so I had to figure out how to keep the strands of wool from blending together and becoming fuzzy.
To solve this problem, I created each individual quill by hand. I rolled thin strands of wool and applied beeswax to each end of the strand. I then felted each quill to his back, so each strand became two quills. This was very time consuming, but I am happy with the way Stanley turned out.”
What’s next? Megan shares that for her next big challenge, she would like to start creating larger animals, and if she has a “dream project”, it is to needle felt a large and very detailed dragon.
FOR THOSE JUST GETTING STARTED, MEGAN OFFERS GUIDANCE:
“I would encourage those who are just getting started in felting to just let yourself experiment. There is no right or wrong way to go about this unique medium, and through experimenting you may find an awesome technique to use in future projects.
The great thing about felting is that almost nothing is permanent, so you can easily fix your project if something you tried didn’t work out.
For those who would like to create felted animals specifically, I recommend thoroughly researching the animal before you begin to felt. It is important to figure out what makes each animal look like that animal. What features make them unique to any other species? Even once the project is started, it is important to always have reference photos near.
[ Penelope was made with MC-1 Willow ]
I also suggest seeking out other felters, either in person or through social media. I have found that it is very inspiring to see and talk about different techniques with other felters. Also, as with any other new endeavor, practice makes perfect. I learn something new with every animal I make, and I am constantly adapting and developing my techniques.”
On this page, she shares works in progress, finished creations, photo shoots of her different animals, and she states she is “happy to share what techniques I used to make each of them”.