Updated: Jan 20
This month's spot light interview is with Leana from 'LMC felt - let me create'
Leana makes all sorts of woolly creations ranging from realistic 3D pet portraits and story/film characters!
Read on to learn more about Leana's work, what inspires her and hear her helpful tips for needle felting...
How long have you been needle felting?
I first picked it up March 2020.
What inspired you to take up needle felting?
At the end of February 2020 I'd had quite a major operation for cervical cancer and was going through the awful part of healing from it. I couldn't move much and I wasn't allowed to lift anything. My husband then got diagnosed with testicular cancer. At the time we had 3 horses and 5 dogs to look after (now 2 horses and 6 dogs), so in came my mum to help care for the animals while we healed. One day she suggested we get out some craft boxes I'd got as gifts. One was needle felting and the other was crochet. I took the felting box because I really don't understand crochet instructions. Now we are both very addicted to the craft we picked up that day. 😁.
What was the first thing you made?
The first thing I made was from that craft box. It had a book of instructions and some really questionable wool and needles! (Something I didn't realise until I started buying my own supplies). I made a red squirrel holding a nut. It was so squashy, but at the time I really couldn't believe I had made this myself. I was so proud of it!
What has been the most challenging thing you have made and why?
This is a hard one. For me, so far, every piece has been a challenge as there's always something new I've not tried before like a new subject, material, size or techniques. If I had to actually pick one piece, I'd have to choose the border collie I made. It was the first time I'd been asked to make a dog and the first time I'd planted fur. It was also the first time I'd made something so realistic.
Which piece of work are you most proud of and why?
Hmm.🤔. I love all my work, but im going to choose my Baby Yoda/The Child/Grogu. My husband is a huge Star Wars fan and we had recently watched the Mandalorian, which we loved. I was gaining confidence with felting and wanted to really challenge myself so I chose him to have a go at. I used a wire armature, he was the biggest thing I'd made and I also made his clothes from fabric. Looking at him now, I know there's things that could be improved, but he's a great representation of my determination.
What do you enjoy most about needle felting?
I absolutely love creating things. I have always been creative and have a fine art degree. Although I love art, I just never had the time. Needle felting is just so different from anything I've done before. It's like magic that you can start with a bag of wool and turn it into a sturdy sculpture. There are no limits! Having been lucky enough to make commission pieces of pets, it warms my heart how much my work means to my customers.
What’s your favourite fibre to felt with?
I seem to work more with carded wool as the short fibres suit my style. I have several boxes of corridale from The Woolly Rabbit which I absolutely love!
What is your favourite needle?
I like a good all rounder like a 38 gauge which I use a lot. Once I've made the initial shape with a 36 gauge which is a tougher needle, and you can get quicker felting results.
What has been the most important lesson you learned so far on your needle felting journey?
It has to be that you never stop learning and there is always room for improvement. I'm constantly looking at what other people are doing, not as a comparison, because everyone is unique, but to learn from and build up my own techniques and goals.
Who are your favourite felting artists?
On Instagram I absolutely love
1.Curleyjocreation because she has some amazing tips to help your felting aswell as her work is just lovely. I am very inspired by her.
2.I_felt_kitsch because her work is so different and creative. The creatures she creates with repurposed dolls faces are weired and a bit creepy, but in such a lovely way. Her work is so neat and simple! She really has perfected her craft.
3.lasalasdemaya because her work just makes me happy. She makes little animals with pretty clothes and puts them in every day scenes, for example a tea party or at the beach. They are really colourful and cute and always brighten my day. She is also very supportive of other peoples work.
What are you working on right now?
Once I had finished my Christmas commissions, I wanted to make something different, something challenging. So right now I am making Ursula the Sea Witch from Disneys The Little Mermaid. I have gone a bit bigger than ever, I am trying to put more detail into the core shape. I plan to blend wool with carders for the first time and I am aiming to make her into more of a piece of art. I also like to have her sidekick eels (flotsam and jetsam) swimming round her.
What would you like to make in the future?
Not only am I a huge animal lover, but I also love films and all the strange, cute and scary characters that appear in them. There are lots of these that I would like to make for myself, such as The Predator, Falcor the good luck dragon from Neverending story, the American Werewolf in London, Labrynth characters.....the list goes on. I also want to continue to work on my animal commissions and get them looking more real.
Do you have any words of wisdom for newcomers to needle felting?
I would have to say don't ever compare your work or progress to anyone else. You are you and that's how it should be. Also, always challenge yourself and try something new. I found that every new thing I made, I added a new challenge so by the end of that project I'd learnt a new technique to enhance the look. Or I'd learned a new trick which made things quicker or easier next time.
Where can we learn more about your work?
I am now nearly ready to open my etsy shop and can't wait to grow my business even more this year. Thank you to everyone who have supported me so far either on Instagram or by purchasing one of my creations. I look forward to what this year will bring for me!
You can find out more about me and my work on Instagram
Finally, to round up this interview, I had a sneek peek at Leana's Instagram page and found some delightful needle felted creations that I would like to share with you. I love the hares and the huge moth!
If you woud like to commission Leana 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