Zoë Williams’ ORACLES & Needle Felting Secrets


Felter Skelter - your essential needle felting column from Mr X Stitch!
I am pleased to announce ORACLES, my upcoming solo exhibition at the Philadelphia Sculpture Gym’s PSG GalleryOpens in a new tab.. I usually prefer to showcase other needle felt artists in this column, but this month I want to give you a peek at what I’ve been working on myself, and share a little about how it is made.

Zoë Williams needle felting mat Zoë Williams needle felting wool

These are the tools of the trade! My favorite needles and mat are both made by Clover. Pictured is the large needle felting mat and refill needles (heavy weightOpens in a new tab. and fine weightOpens in a new tab.). Also pictured: a “reverse” felting needle, which pulls the fibers outward instead of pushing them in. Of course there would be nothing to felt without some WOOL*! I get my wool from Paradise Fibers. I use a combination of Corriedale and Superfine Merino Top in most of my sculptures, but if you are new to needle felting, I recommend trying a variety of fibers to give you a feel for the medium. (*Actually, you can needle felt acrylic fiber too! I wrote about this for the Lion Brand blog HERE)

Zoë Williams Tohickon glass eye blanks Zoë Williams Tohickon painted eye blanks

I get a lot of inquiries about my eyes. I use glass taxidermy eyes in all of my pieces and I get almost all of them from TohickonOpens in a new tab.. For ORACLES, I painted many of the eyes myself, using clear eye blanks and enamel paint. They are painted on the back side, which is every bit as tricky as it sounds!

Zoë Williams needle felt work in progress IMG_4479

Here’s a look at one of my sculptures in the early stages (left) and then later on with some of the details roughed in (right). They look very blobby for a long time while the wool firms up, but it’s important not to rush. Needle felt need not be squishy! This is ultimately a matter of taste, but a solid foundation is critical for adding non-fiber elements like eyes, bird legs, antlers, etc.

Zoë Williams, Harbingers 2015

ORACLES opens Friday, June 5th with a reception from 6:00 – 9:00pm (Join the party on FacebookOpens in a new tab.). If you would like to preview the show before it opens, please send an email to [email protected]Opens in a new tab.. As always, you may direct artwork inquiries, artist recommendations, and needle felting questions (or any questions about art, life in general, etc) directly to meOpens in a new tab.! Happy felting!

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. If you purchase supplies from some of these links, I will get a small commission or rewards points

Zoë Williams

Zoë Williams creates needle felt sculptures based on spirits, sacred creatures, and dreams. Her work is concerned with the intersection of the (inner) realm of the collective unconscious and the (outer) kingdom of nature. She lives and works in New York City.

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