Starting out with a new hobby or attempting a new skill is hard enough. Doing that without any learning, training, or general direction is much harder. It takes far more self generated motivation, drive to learn more, and of course – that ability to force your way through failure and focus on turning it into growth.
When I started out Needle Felting, I did it on a whim. There was no real plan, no real understanding of how it worked aside from ‘Stab’, and make the thing. I wasn’t any good at sculpting, had no patience for sewing – so this could be the next best thing right? Possibly. I only had a very small bit of wool and no real direction, so in reality I started out just going for it.
This was the first ever needle felt I had ever done. The majority of it is Polyfill since I didn’t want to practice with the small amount of wool I had. It was rough, incredibly rough – but it was recognizable! That was enough for a little spark to continue on.
From this little felt I learnt not only to not jab myself with that needle, but also how much pressure was required, how each size affected the wool differently, how I could continuously poke and prod at certain places to get them to indent and form a shape. Which, lead to a head, ears, body and small tail. A tiny little approximation of my boy Smudge.
To Continue Forward
From this point I had that little bit of a spark to try again, with something new and to learn more. I found a few videos of the processes other felters went through and moved onto another project and another.
The only thing that really stood in my way was that nagging feeling in the back of my head that this would be another project I dropped for not functioning how I wanted it to. This had happened before with so many new hobbies as it does for everyone, but this was a little different.
When you catch onto something quicker it’s like everything clicks. I had that drive to do more and gain more – I just had to figure out how to properly direct it to actually improve.
My Steps Towards Development
- Basic Shapes: I started figuring out the basic shapes. I know this is so overplayed by just about anyone that starts to get into any form of art, but it worked well. Figuring out the shapes of heads, limbs, bodies – all these would come together no matter what type of creature I worked on.
- Plan It Out: Then came the planning. Now, with a lot of things I do I never really focused on the planning aspect; which is a mistake. Planning helped a good ton more than just winging it (surprise surprise). I went from sort of figuring out the shapes to:
- Sketching out the separate shapes
- Putting together an armature to stay within the proportions
- Sticking to the specific Sketch.
- Keep it Simple: Bad habits die hard, and I’ve certainly deviated off these steps. Especially given my constant predisposition for taking on more than I should and over complicating things, simplifying things became step three. Sticking with what I knew and figuring that out before I went and tried anything crazy
4. Don’t Stress: With most things it was easy to get discouraged, and I definitely did – but the thing about needle felting is that you can literally chop the head off whatever you were working on if you didn’t like it and start anew! Once I had that figured, it suddenly became a lot easier to feel some confidence come through.
5. Don’t Stop: Keep trying. Keep working on new things, working on old things, and practicing. Even if something hits a block and it can’t be finished; seeing it as a waste is a waste.