Chico the needle felted dog

Hello, Leonor here. My guest post for today is going to be a simple “show and tell” as the weather here in London is too warm for complicated thoughts!

Some of you might be aware that I am a fibre artist by trade. Anything wool and I love it. I got into this business a little by accident, and making custom needle felted dogs was even more unexpected – basically, a friend asked me for a mini of his whippet, I took the challenge, and the rest is history!

I’ve now been playing with wool professionally for around 5 years, and I must confess there was one hurdle I was yet to conquer in my work – creating an open mouth. I’d tried once and it didn’t come out right, so I more or less gave up on it. That is, until I made Chico!

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At first I was going to make his tongue out of polymer clay (the idea of finishing it off with a nice layer of glossy varnish to mimic moisture was very attractive to me) but then I decided not to. I liked the idea of a 100% fibre sculpture better.

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I made the lower jaw separately, making sure the upper section was thin enough to accommodate both parts without looking weird. I added a layer of black around the edge to make it more realistic, and then a little white on the back for teeth. The tongue was made using two shades of purplish pink blended together. I made two mini tongues and chose the one that fit best.

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I received a few reference photos to make this little guy, my favourite was one where he was sitting with his leg to the side and smiling. I just had to make him this way.

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I love the detail of paw pads, the feet immediately look real. You can’t really tell from this picture, but Chico is er… anatomically correct. I like a realistic sculpture!

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Below is a picture of the original Chico. The mini version is off to a Spanish island as a surprise for the whole human family. I hope they like it!

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Have you ever created a needle felted animal? What wool did you use and how did you like your experience? Let me know in the comments section.
Questions? Happy to help, just leave a comment!

About Leonor

Textile artist, indie dyer, conjurer of fluff.
This entry was posted in 3D, Guest Artists, Guest Writer, Made From Felt, natural wools, Needle Felting, sculptural felt, Wool and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Chico the needle felted dog

  1. Kathryn Luciana says:

    Very beautiful! And love how you captured his personality.

    • Leonor says:

      Thanks, Kathryn! This sculpture has since turned into something even more special, as I only became aware yesterday that Chico passed away last year… I’m really glad I managed to do him justice and capture his quirky self šŸ™‚

  2. tracey2008 says:

    Wow and wow Leonor. Love your animals, superb talent. What a special present to remember a loved member of the family. I am sure they will be thrilled with him. I have just remembered I have needle felted an animal, I made a penguin on a beach pincushion with a fish! – as you do. I sold it last weekend so someone thought it looked ok I’m guessing!

    • Leonor says:

      Thank you, Tracey, that’s very kind of you šŸ™‚ I’ve already received the OK to send him, so I guess my client is happy!

      It really makes me happy to know needle felting is such a popular activity! Well done for selling your pincushion – I’m sure they thought it was more than ok if they bought it šŸ˜€

  3. ruthlane says:

    Thanks for the wonderful post Leonor! Chico is wonderful and has such a winning personality. I think you are spot on with the open mouth and tongue. He will be treasured, I am sure.

    I have made quite a few needle felted animals but as needle felting isn’t my favorite activity, I haven’t done any recently. I think I used a variety of wool breeds including Gotland, mixed 56’s and I’m sure others.

    • Leonor says:

      Thanks for taking the time to read it, Ruth šŸ™‚ I’m really glad I had the courage to try the open mouth, I’m so pleased with the end result.

      Every time someone tells me they don’t like needle felting a fairy loses its wings! I joke of course. What about it doesn’t please you? Anything in particular? Just being nosey but since I love it I like knowing how other people’s brains work!

      Batts are my favourite type of felting source – I even liked working with alpaca in this case, which I normally don’t!

  4. Gay says:

    A truly beautiful piece of work, and so very realistic. Congratulations. I used to do a lot of needle felting but gave it away as it was too tough on elderly wrists

    • Leonor says:

      Thank you, Gay! I’m really sorry you had to give up on needle felting. Were you making your sculptures very dense? Mine are not too packed to they’re gentler on my hands šŸ™‚

  5. Amazing Job Leonor, You have areal talent for capturing a likeness. You did a great job of the lower jaw and tongue.

    • Leonor says:

      Thanks, Ann. I’m really glad I took the plunge and gave the lower jaw a go, it really brought this little guy to a new dimension šŸ™‚ He’s now off to a Spanish island!

  6. zedster66 says:

    Aaw, he is gorgeous! I love his chin šŸ™‚
    Nah, I’ve never tried animals, I’m sure they’d be pretty funny looking if I did though!

    • Leonor says:

      Thanks! I’m in love with his smile, I’m in awe I was the one making it šŸ˜€

      I’m sure you’d be great at needle felting if you wanted, it doesn’t have to be animals – my nemesis is owls, I could never get one decent enough!

  7. Chico is beautiful! Right down to his tiny paws! The open mouth makes him seem ‘alive’ doesn’t it?

    • Leonor says:

      Thank you! The tiny paws get me every time šŸ™‚ The open mouth is my favourite feature of his, because I just love the way Chico smiles with it. Glad I tried it out!

  8. Chico is as beautiful as my Paige and Nova! Great job.

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