This month's spot light interview is with Emma from 'Felting by Emma' on Instagram
Emma makes all sorts of woolly creations ranging from commissioned 3D pet portraits to farm animals and horses. I don't think there is anything that Emma isn't enthusiastic about with her learning and experimenting!
Read on to learn more about Emma's work, what inspires her and hear her helpful tips for needle felting...
How long have you been needle felting?
I have been felting for almost a year! I started in the first UK lockdown.
What inspired you to take up needle felting?
I had to find something to help ease my anxiety and boredom during lockdown. I had just finished university so I didn't have any work from home tasks to keep me occupied. I had seen several needle felting artists on Instagram before and looked up starter kits. These kits were relatively affordable for my 'fresh out of uni' budget, so I thought I would give it a go!
What was the first thing you made?
The first thing I made was a really super ugly looking animal head. I'm not even sure what kind of animal I was aiming for (sort of a dog) and it is terrifying!
What has been the most challenging thing you have made and why?
By far my most challenging pieces have been my horse memorial sculptures. These include applying real horse hair, which after a few years after they pass can be extremely brittle and fragile. Added with the pressure of doing the beautiful horses justice and not wanting to waste any precious hair, I find these sculptures so challenging. The leg structure and hoof shape of a horse is also very hard to capture, however after a lot of practice I think I'm improving with each horse!
Which piece of work are you most proud of and why?
By far my proudest piece at the moment has to be my most recent dog felt. This was felted as a gift for my customers sister for Christmas. I thought I did a great job using the photos send by my customer, however...after her sister sent me side by sides of her felt gift next to the real dog I was so pleased. The photos are absolutely adorable and I had a little happy cry when she sent them across!
What do you enjoy most about needle felting?
The most enjoyable thing absolutely has to be seeing people receive my felts and being so pleased with them. Especially my first Christmas felting, I woke up on Christmas day with so many lovely messages on how felts I had made for customers had been gifted for friends and family and they loved them! Seeing all the pictures of my felts being unwrapped on Christmas day just made it all so worth it! I absolutely love it when my felts bring people from across the UK so much joy!
What’s your favourite fibre to felt with?
I don't particularly have a favourite but I do have a least favourite, and that has to be merino wool! Apart from using this fibre to create fur, this wool is just an absolute nightmare to felt with. It takes me twice the amount of time to felt with merino than any other type of wool. However, merino is undeniably soft!
What is your favourite needle?
No preference again here, especial on the shape. However, the shorter the needle the better for me. I'm not sure why I prefer shorter needles, they just feel nicer when I'm closer to the sculpture and I feel I have more control.
What has been the most important lesson you learned so far on your needle felting journey?
I have learnt so much! However, I think the most important lesson has been to always reach out to other felters for help! I was always so scared of messaging other felters who have thousands of followers, thinking I would just be ignored.
These felters turned out to be some of the best people and the most helpful, and have now become firm felting friends of mine. The lesson here was to be brave and to reach out. I cannot thank those felters enough for their help and advice, from wool advice to Instagram account management!
Who are your favourite felting artists?
@feltartbymark - he has followed my account right from the very start, cheering me on from the side lines. He makes so many excellent sculptures including his most recent felt of a gorgeous sleeping fox.
@feltbuddies - Veronica's cheeky smiling fruit with tongues out never fail to make me laugh and smile. She has such a unique page and I'm a huge fan of her style. @feltedfroggy - felted frogs with bums...need I say more?
@sillysausage_felting - such a lovely felting artist, I've followed her a long time and her progress is incredible. She definitely needs more attention!
What are you working on right now?
I'm currently working on so many things including cats, dogs, ducks, rabbits and so much more!
What would you like to make in the future?
I'd love to be able to start making more framed pieces. I've seen a lot of 2D felting artists who have inspired me to have a go at creating my own, so I will definitely be making some in the future. I'd also love to start using clay to make my own dog and cat noses in the future. I'm amazed at how realistic some clay artists can make these look, so I absolutely have to give it a go.
Do you have any words of wisdom for newcomers to needle felting?
Expect lots of accidental stabbing! I can't tell you how many times I've felted my own fingers no matter how cautious I am. It's completely not a reflection on your felting ability, it's all just part of the craft!
Where can we learn more about your work?
I want to finish of by thanking everyone so much for their support on my account. I never thought my little lockdown hobby would turn into a well followed Instagram account with so many felting requests and orders. I also want to thank Elaine so much for allowing me to take part in this little interview and let me share my words of wisdom! A huge shootout to Elaine for being my main wool supplier too, making all my sculptures possible!
You can find out more about Emma and her work on Instagram
Finally, to round up this interview, I had a sneek peek at Emma's Instagram page and found some delightful needle felted creations that I would like to share with you.
If you woud like to commission Emma to make something special then head over to her Instagram page and message her directly.
If you would like to be featured in the Maker's Spot Light interview and have made creations using wool purchased from The Woolly Rabbit, then get in touch via email here