The downside of becoming addicted to needle felting is that you end up with dozens of fabulous creations that you don’t want to part with! Oh sure, we make our art for friends and family, but let’s be honest, do you keep more than you give or even sell? I know I’m guilty! So what do you do with your needle felting animals once you set the needle down?
I am always blown away by the ingenious ways my students and friends display their art. Of course, many of the pieces are small, sothey look beautiful grouped on shelves or lined up in curio cabinets. I’ve also seen beautiful “zoo” displays, scenes used to adorn a table, or animals created to carry on a theme in a child’s room. Seasonal Snowmen cover many surfaces of my own home during the holidays, while others consider Bunnies the mascots of Easter and spring. Challenge yourself to get creative with how you display your art, and please share the results with me – I’d love to see them!
For some, needle felting dovetails gracefully with another hobby, photography. Creating beautiful scenes and situations for your animals and creations provides an additional layer to your hobby, enriching both pursuits. One of my personal goals in needle felting my animals is to recreate the animal to look as authentic as possible. So when I can set an animal in nature and make it look genuine through the lens, I feel as though I have elevated the entire process. Not only have I created something that honors the real deal, but I have also realistically captured the result.
Others may have a goal of whimsy – say, capturing a pink elephant in a circus environment, or creating scenes that tell a story — or only using a clean background and beautiful lighting to achieve a finished felted animal. No matter what layer photography adds to your needle felting, here are a few tips for taking great pictures. You don’t need to be an expert to play paparazzi with your creations – have fun combining hobbies!
Of course, a popular way to capture your work is to share it on social media. I have found that people enjoy seeing not only the finished product but also the in-process steps, or the “behind the scenes” work. Try to resist the quick caption, “Here’s what I finished today,” for instance. Instead, share your inspiration for your piece, or what you found challenging, or what was difficult for you.
Social media is a beautiful way to share stories and, therefore, the ideal medium to tell the tale of your latest animal. Social media can also be a great way to build a community of needle felters or fellow fiber fans! You can find groups to join, follow my Facebook page, or start your own and begin sharing your journeys. I find Pinterest and Instagram to be primarily visual platforms that lend themselves to sharing photos with stories. Pinterest also allows you to create “boards,” where you can collect inspiration for future projects. Check out my (many!) boards.
Whether you consider yourself a beginner or seasoned expert, you have something to teach someone. I learn from my students constantly! Everyone has a unique perspective, and by sharing our knowledge, we lift others and enrich our journey.
I enjoy teaching and knew that my journey would include fostering a community. Because I can’t fit you all in my living room, I found a way to teach using the powers of the Web and will soon be able to invite you to retreats at the Nome Schoolhouse.
Your sharing, inspiring, or teaching can take place using social media, in-person crafting groups, or just with friends, but I promise you that you have the power to lift another person on their needle felting path! Want to level up your needle felting skills this year and commune with like-minded people? Sign up for the Bear Creek Academy and improve your techniques as well as get great ideas for new projects and even displays!