Needle felting is a fibre arts craft that creates felt without the use of water. The artist uses special needles that are used in industrial felting as a sculpting tool. They have notches along the shaft of the needle that grab the top layer of fibres and tangle them with the inner layers of fibres as the needle enters the wool.
Since these notches face down towards the tip of the needle, they do not pull the fibres out of the wool. Once tangled and compressed, the felt is sufficiently strong to be used for creating jewellery or sculpture.
Sarah-Jane Coleby is a needle felt artist based in Dumfries & Galloway in South West Scotland. Sarah only began working in needle felt in 2012 but obviously has a natural talent for this particular art form. She uses 100% sheep wool, usually formed around a wire armature.
All of her creations are unique and are intended as decorative items and not as toys. They can take several hours to complete and each seems to have its own special character.
Sarah-Jane exhibits her work at local craft fairs and has already started receiving commissions for her work including her 3D pet portraits. She studied for a degree in scientific and technical illustration so it is little wonder that her creations reveal an eye for detail.
Belted Galloway Cattle are the local breed in Dumfries & Galloway and they are very popular with tourists. As a way of encouraging other people to get involved in needle felting, Sarah-Jane also sells introductory kits with everything that you need to create your own “Bruce the Belted Galloway”. The kit contains: Instructions, felting needle, a foam pad, un-dyed British Shetland wool and all the accessories that you require.
Sarah-Jane’s other “creations” include Samson the black headed gull. He is a character from ”The quite big rock” illustrated by local artist Shalla Gray written by her father.
Sarah-Jane made these mice and chickens to raise money for last year’s Comic Relief appeal and they were selling as fast as she could make them!