Needle felting a toadstool

Needle felting a toadstool

Is it too late to wish you all a Happy New Year?

I haven’t properly picked up my felting needles in quite some time. I can’t tell you why, but my mind just hasn’t been “in the right place” to make anything particularly unique.

Things changed when I got commissioned to make a mushroom sculpture. It was just simple yet challenging enough for me to see if this would finally open those creative doors. The client wanted something similar to what I’d made before, so all I had to do was look at an old photo and start felting. I’m not copying something that needs to look exactly like something else, but it’s also not mindless felting. Perfect.

This is the old mushroom she saw in my online shop and wanted another of (sorry the resolution isn’t the best):

I really enjoy looking at past work because I’m often surprised at the fact this is mine. Do you get that feeling with things you created a long time ago? I am particularly chuffed when I get that “oh, that’s pretty” feeling before it registers it came from my brain.

Now, for the new sculpture. I gave my client a few fabrics to choose from, but she went for the same as the first one. Not surprising, as she really liked the original item and was very motivated to have a mushroom like it.

I started with wire wrapped in wool to make the stem. The top was created with leftover wool felted into shape, then I sewed the fabric to the top and some tea-stained gauze to the bottom.

The base looks very messy, so I’ll be adding some wool to cover it.

Then comes the fun part: assembly!

I chose some hand dyed mohair locks, plus some natural Wensleydale ones and put it all together. After that, I sewed the beads and stones here and there. Here’s the finished item:

The finished object is just different enough for me not to feel I made a complete copy, and the familiarity helped make the felting process easy enough for my Lockdown Brain to not feel too flustered.

Finally, not related at all, but here’s a photo of a lovely Edinburgh sunset for your enjoyment.

Have a lovely weekend and thanks for reading!

21 thoughts on “Needle felting a toadstool

  1. A lovely mushroom, definitely from the same patch of mushrooms. I am sure she was very happy with it. Did you wet felt the stem after needling it? it looks so smooth, with no poke holes.

    1. Thanks, Ann! I didn’t wet felt it, no. The poke holes happen when you use a very large needle and/or poke with a lot of gusto (and the type of wool also helps, wool tops tend to show more marks) πŸ™‚ I use spiral needles and do it at an angle, gently. Usually the end result is pretty smooth, if I do say so myself!

  2. Lovely mushroom and the stem is vary smooth looking! the due drops of beads are grate. the sun set reflection is amazing too. there is nothing quite so inspiering around Ottawa, unless you would like some of our snow? the window frost is pretty here but it looks much warmer in Edinburgh.

    1. Thanks, Jan πŸ™‚ It’s the needles I use, they barely leave a mark (and the wool batt).

      Ha, no need to send snow, we had it! I’m sure nothing as dramatic as in Ottawa, but it still made us careful of falling on our behinds. Right now it’s raining, but at least with the Lockdown it means we get to stay indoors and enjoy the central heating πŸ˜‰

  3. Love your mushroom. At first I thought it was all needle felted and couldn’t figure out why you were talking about fabric. Duh, but your results are fantastic. Beautiful sunset too.

  4. The mushroom looks lovely! Adding muslin is a great idea for gills. Also, as it is still January, I don’t think it is too late to wish people a Happy New Year! πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks! It was the best fabric I could think of to use. Oh no, does this mean I’ll have to stop wishing people a happy new year come tomorrow? πŸ˜€

  5. That is just fabulicious! The use of muslin underneath is absolutely inspired! Also love the
    bling with the beads and putting it on a round wood plinth is awesome. I am a fungi enthusiast from the point of finding those used for natural dyeing so to see this is just fantastic! Are you entering this sculpture into any competitions? If not you really should.
    All the very best.
    Carol

    1. Thanks, Carol! I’m envious of your fungi dyeing, I’ve seen some stunning colours coming out of them.
      This mushroom is already on its way to its new owner in Oregon, US πŸ™‚

  6. Ooh, love everything about that mushroom: the sculptural form, the tweedy top, the scrumptious gills and the cascading locks. I’m glad you found something to inspire you too. That you liked the previous one before realising it was yours really made me smile. It reminded me of the time I heard someone giving a tour of the studios where I work and saying β€˜we also have a textile artist’ and me thinking β€˜how exciting, I wonder who that is’ . It was several seconds before I realised they were referring to me!

    1. Thanks, Lindsay! That mushroom was truly a balm for my creative mind.
      I love your story πŸ˜€ Isn’t it fun when we realise we’re excited for something that we don’t immediately know comes from us?

  7. Love, love, love.
    The use of tweed & muslin is inspired & I can see this mushroom (if it didn’t already have a home) sitting next to the hares.
    πŸ€ͺ

    1. Thanks, Antje! Maybe the hares can have another mushroom πŸ˜‰ We need to get together and felt once this is over – mark my words, madam, we have lots to do together after this Apocalypse!

    2. Absolutely, no question about it. I know exactly when you should be venturing to these parts! Gloved fingers crossed πŸ€ͺ

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