This month's needle felting artist interview is with the lovely Vikki Helliwell aka Felt Creations by Vikki on Instagram. Vikki is new to needle felting and only started in May 2020 (something positive to come out of lockdown) but you wouldn't believe that this was the case when you see the stunning animals she recreates. She also isn't afraid to experiment with colour and her colourful sheep and highland cows often pop up in my Instagram newsfeed which brighten up my screen! Read on to learn more about Vikki's needle felting journey...
How long have you been needle felting?
I started needle felting back in may 2020 so not that long ago.
What inspired you to take up needle felting?
The UK went into lockdown in March 2020 due to Covid-19. I was getting bored and fed up doing the same old things every day and I also had my son to look after too. It was getting hard not being able to do my usual things, go out anywhere or visit anyone so I thought I really needed to do something to help keep my mind busy. I decided to look up hobbies on Google to see what I could learn and I came across needle felting, this was something I had never heard of before.
I did some research and liked the idea of creating anything you liked just from wool, I found it amazing so I thought to myself 'let’s give it a go!' I went online and came across a few needle felting businesses that did needle felting kits so I ordered a few and quickly became addicted!
What was the first thing you made?
The first thing I made was the grey bunny
What has been the most challenging thing you have made and why?
The most challenging creation I made was a custom needle felted dog. I wanted to make a dog to look like my friend's dog who had sadly passed away. I came across Felt Moon UK on Instagram and noticed she made dogs. I asked her if she was willing to help me do my 1st ever dog and she was happy to help. She made up instructions and a wee doggy kit box with everything in it to help me get started. The dog came out better than expected as it was very challenging to get all the features and colours right and it took me a few days to make. The felted dog was a surprise for my friend, I sent her a photo of it and she recognised it as her dog and asked me to sell it to her, however I'd made it as a gift as a keepsake memory of her dog. She was very grateful and amazed by what I had made for her.
Which piece of work are you most proud of and why?
I made a birthday gift for a friend's daughter. She asked her daughter what her favourite animal was and she responded by saying a cheetah. I thought I would give it a go but knew it would be a challenge what with all the features and details including all those spots! It took me hours to put on the spots one by one but I managed it and was very proud of myself. She loved it and my friend's daughter told me I had to make something for her baby brother next!
What do you enjoy most about needle felting?
I love seeing a piece of wool come alive into a wee creation, it’s very addictive and satisfying.
What’s your favourite fibre to felt with?
I love to use carded wool as it felts together really well. I made the mistake at the beginning by trying to felt with Merino wool rovings/tops and that’s a nightmare to use! I think it's a popular mistake beginner needle felters make and it’s hard to work with.
What is your favourite needle?
I always use a 38 triangle
What has been the most important lesson you learned so far on your needle felting journey?
When you're half way through making a creation and it looks nothing like what your trying to make! Never give up and throw it in the bin though as I have been tempted to do this a few times, but I kept at it and loved the finished piece. So never give up and keep going!
Who are your favourite felting artists?
Little Patch Designs a lovely wee company that helped me along the way with kits and how to use armature wire. Felt MoonUK, this company helped me with my custom dog. Lincolnshire Fenn Crafts, I bought a few other starter kits from them and Felt Hoppy as my 1st kits were from here also The Woolly Rabbit. I love buying wool from here, probably the best I have used. I tried other companies and they weren't as good as this one.
What are you working on right now?
I'm not working on anything at the moment as I'm having a wee holiday but I think I will make a snail and a whale. I watched 'The Snail and the Whale' with my son a few weeks ago which gave me the idea.
What would you like to make in the future?
I would love to make something larger maybe a life size a cat or dog etc...
Do you have any words of wisdom for newcomers to needle felting?
Do your research about all the types of wool, needles & felting pads and don't do the mistake I made and buy Merino wool. Make lots of space for your creations as you will soon need more and more space to store them all, needle felting is very addicted so you have been warned! Finally, take your time and don't rush.
Finally, I couldn't end this interview without sharing some of my favourite pieces that Vikki has made, so take a look at these wonderful and colourful woolly creations!
If you would like to be featured in a Needle Felting Artist article and have made creations using wool purchased from The Woolly Rabbit, then get in touch via email here