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The Making Of Maxey

I’m heading to the ocean side today to visit the Wetlands Institute for their Wings And Water Festival. They’re revamping the programs this year, so I’m hoping to take some nice photographs and see some amazing creatures. Before I leave I wanted to share the promised work in progress snap shots for Maxey and talk a little about how I created her.

I started by felting together the rough body and head form in a white core wool fiber. It looks a bit like a duck in this state! Quack. The start of needle felted border collie pet portrait


Next, I added and shaped the back legs. I could have turned her into a tyrannosaurs if  I’d wanted to. I love how flexible wool sculpting is.

Adding and shaping the back legs of border collie needle felted sculpture


This photo is actually from a wolf I am working on, but I wanted to show how I add the legs. I first felted long cylinders of wool that were loose at one end. Then I attach them to the body, then felt them into shape, adding more fleece for the thicker thighs and shoulders. Attaching two cylinders for legs on a wool sculpture dog pet portrait


Here you can see all the legs shaped and Maxey can finally stand up properly.
Raw needle felt dog body


Here is the other side. There is absolutely no wire used. I do however have a glass marble tucked in the rear as a counter balance. This allows her to stand with one raised paw. I am looking for something better than a marble to use though. I need something small and heavy (and heavy is relative terms, something 6 grams and up will work). The smaller the better so it won’t interfere with the needling and it can’t be lead. Any ideas? Raw needle felt dog body with raised paw


Next I refined the head shape, added ears, tail, tongue, nose, and eye sockets with sewn in seed bead eyes. I also began blocking in the coloring and added her special freckles. Border Collie sculpture with colored head


Here is a close up of her sweet little face. I love her freckle pattern.

Coloring and shaping the head of my needle felted pet portrait


Here you can see I’ve blocked in the rest of the body coloring The coloring for my wool sculpture needle felted dog pet portrait


Another view of the blocked in coloring.
Blocking in the fur colors for the needle felted border collie


Now begins the really hard part, the furring! This was my first time creating a long-haired animal. I learned a lot, though at times it was really frustrating. I think I need to take some dog grooming lessons so I can trim fur better next time!  Adding needle felted fur to a wool dog sculpture


I start out with super long poofy fur, that I felt into the body form one little section at a time.

Needle felted fur on a dog sculpture before trimming


Then I would trim the fur and brush it with a carding brush (aka a cat’s brush). Wash, Rinse, Repeat until she has all her fur. I felt very sturdy bodies and felt the fur in as firmly as I possibly can because I want it to stay in even with handling and play, however I don’t recommend my clients brush my wool sculptures once they are finished since if you do it for a long time the piece will eventually go bald. Trimming Needle felted fur on a dog sculpture


Eventually, she was completely furred and finished! Voila!

Needle felted border collie


If you haven’t seen them already, make sure you check out her finished detail shots and the “Maxey & The Lamb” series here!

Have a wonderful weekend everybody.
– Joules

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