Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Although I don't think of myself as a needle felter, I can definitely see the stress-relief benefits in the craft. Stabbing wool with pointy sharp needles sounds right up my alley some days when I get off work. I'd tried needle felting out at workshops and craft fairs a few times, and I certainly don't have a problem finding feltable wool around here, but for some reason it never really caught on.

One Christmas my mom got me a needle felting kit, and I made one white owl that now serves as our Christmas tree topper:

Christmas Tree

Still, I remained uninspired until I discovered Jackie Huang, the artist behind Woolbuddy. I can't remember precisely when I first saw his work, but I'm fairly sure it was at Bazaar Bizarre a few years back. Then Urban Fauna started carrying his kits (which you can also buy on the Woolbuddy Etsy shop), and I narrowly missed taking a needle felting class with Jackie.

So when I found out that SF's Museum of Craft and Folk Art was hosting a Woolbuddy event in conjunction with Etsy Craft Bar, I was in. Crafting and beer? Yes, please. I stuffed some non-superwash wool into my bag (admission was discounted if you brought your own materials) and hopped on the bus downtown.

It was a good thing that I left early: the line to get in was pretty long by the time things started. I also quickly decided to pay the full admission price, even though I'd brought my own supplies. The materials we got were the same wool that Jackie uses to make his felted plush animals, and it's really beautiful stuff. The color scheme is definitely one of the defining characteristics of all the woolbuddies. We punched away at the wool over pieces of foam, making more owls. I finished the first one a little early, and started a second one with the wool I'd brought. Here's my two finished woolbuddies:

Woolbuddy Owls

The one on the right was made with the provided materials, and I used my own brown and white wool in the one on the left. You can get a sense of the difference by looking at the back of the owls:

Woolbuddy Owls

The woolbuddy wool felts more firmly when compared with the long-staple wool I happened to grab. Additionally, the wool had little bits of dark orange carded into it, which gives the color a nice depth. The blues also had a little green, and the greens a little blue, and the yellows a little orange, and so on. If I ever wanted to make another one, I would definitely consider purchasing the kit just to get those great colors!

The other thing about all the woolbuddy creations that really gets me is the expressions. Eye position, size, and direction make such a huge difference. I think I did a better job emulating his style in my second owl (the eyes are smaller and the body is more round), even though I like the wings on the first one more. He has that one wing up, which makes me think he's being goofy or saying hello. So I guess he's still a little quirky, which is definitely in keeping with the spirit of all woolbuddies.


wildtomato said...

Those owls are so stinking adorable! Why do I never hear about these events until they are over???

Lakin said...

way tooo adorable! the process sounds fascinating...but I can't quite envision it. Stabbing wool until it felts? hmm. maybe I'll have to check one of those kits out...