This month's needle felting artist interview is with the lovely Jane Bealand. Jane makes all sorts of cute little animals, my favourite being her mini herd of guinea pigs! I first came across Jane in my Instagram feed. She'd purchased some Corridale wool from me and as I followed her, I watched her needle felting journey evolve as her felting skills developed and she took on more challenging projects. It has been quite inspiring to watch Jane over the past few months, here is her story...
How long have you been needle felting and what inspired you to take it up?
I started felting in February 2019 , I'd stayed with my friend Nicky at her beautiful timber built house in Norway and I saw that she'd felted a marvelous hare. I returned home thinking it was something I would like to try. I found a wool shop close to where we live and began working with Merino wool. It was when walking through some sheep fields that I picked up some wool snagged on the fence, took it home to wash it and then began to experiment with that too.
What was the first thing you made?
I met a lady called Linda who happened to be running a workshop where we could make a mouse or a badger. I picked a badger which turned out to be a little small and squashed! But I was hooked, literally ha ha!
What has been the most challenging thing you have made and why?
The most challenging pieces are horses and getting their character across and the legs and hooves are hard to get right. I've experimented with paper cotton buds, wire apertures and real horse mane. The Sheepdog was a good challenge as I had to create the silky length of his coat. I used layers of white Merino wool to achieve this.
Which piece of work are you most proud of and why?
It is hard to pick one piece I'm most proud of, I think any new animal I've tried that captures the form makes me very happy. But I am fond of my old English sheep dog and grizzly bear. A couple of my favourite pieces are the Rhino with my favourite Corridale wool and George the Guinea Pig with Corridale wool from The Woolly Rabbit. I adore Guinea-pigs!
What do you enjoy most about needle felting?
My favourite thing about felting is the way you create something from just a lump of raw material, it looks like nothing for ages then suddenly takes on the shape of a creature.
Sometimes I've started one thing like a dog to quickly realise 'oh that looks more like a bear', and it changes into something new and unexpected.
What’s your favourite fibre to felt with?
My favourite wool is the carded Corridale. I like the way the shorter fibres felt so easily and all the wonderful animal colour tones. I'm really looking forward to trying the NZ new wools from The Woolly Rabbit and am planning an order soon.
Who are your favourite felting artists?
I really look up to my friend Wendy (aka Fuzzy Baubles). Her work is so clever and intricate where I'm a bit more rustic. I also think Curly Jo Creation is amazing, her accuracy of dogs is an inspiration.
What would you like to make in the future?
In the future I'd like to try working bigger, maybe a big highland cow head or a life size hare.
Do you have any words of wisdom to those who are new comers to needle felting?
I'd say to new felters if one project isn't going the way you hope, put it to one side and come back to it another day and I've even felted over things and made a completely new creation. A donkey could of started life as a cat.
Well, I hope you found Jane's needle felting journey inspiring! I love seeing her little felted creations pop up in my newsfeed. You can find Jane on Instagram here www.instagram.com/felted_beans
Giver her a follow and add a bit of cheer to your newsfeed!