Botanical Needle Felting
by Judy Thomas
Needle felting is an old craft, but it is on the cutting edge in botanical art. I just finished teaching another session of "Needle Felting with Botanical Subjects" in the Art in the Garden program at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens http://www.lewisginter.org/adult-education/adult-educationhappeningnow.php#Art and what a fabulous class it was, with wonderful students! Below are some samples of their amazing work! The only other botanical needle felting class I have ever heard of is in Scotland, and I think this is the only such class in the US.
Works by CVABA members, Anne McCahill and Kay Linfberg
In the class, we discussed tools of the trade and how to use them, felting methods and techniques, suitable wools for needle felting and some ideas about botanical subjects, composition and dimensionality. We follow some of the same rules as other visual arts in regard to composition, but color theory and use is different in needle felting than with other media, as it is less like color mixing, and more like pointillism, where colored wool fibers are laid side by side to create an illusion of a color blend.
The next confirmed class is in November, but I am working on some other options. In addition, I will be demonstrating needle felting at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden this weekend, Feb 23 and 24, from 11AM to 3PM, so come on out! The orchid show is in the conservatory, and there will be a "petal pounding" activity for children too! Judith Towers will have a loom for visitors to use to try their hand at weaving with natural dyed yarn of many colors. She will also demonstrate spindle spinning - how to make yarn by hand - and how to use flowers, fruits, leaves, nuts, bark, and even mushrooms to make dye. My students and I will also be demonstrating needle felting on April 27, 10 to 3 at the Powhatan Festival of Fiber, http://www.powhatansfestivaloffiber.com/