Have a Stab at Needle Felting: Countryside Creatures

81 TUTOR: Erica Hemming (BA (Hons), MA)

Needle felting is an absorbing and rewarding activity, described by participants as relaxing and enjoyable. You will learn techniques to form and sculpt wool into shapes that join together with the special barbed needles and then apply coloured top-coats and details to achieve realistic sculptures. The tutor works to a small scale up to 15cm or 6 inches tall. The kits are for Fox, Red Squirrel, Hare, Badger and Otter. More than one project may be created during the week.

3 PM
PM course

Course Notes

Needle felting is an absorbing and rewarding activity, described by participants as relaxing and enjoyable. By learning to wind and stab the wool into shapes with a specialised barbed needle, an unlimited range of 3D sculptures can be achieved.

Materials provided: Project wools are included to take home if necessary to finish the project/s. Students to take home mats and needles that they have used, and paper or digital course notes.

  • Organic core wool: Undyed, carded, springy and fairly coarse wool.
  • Merino: Very fine, expensive wool commercially dyes into a rainbow or gorgeous colours, from South American high welfare flocks (un-mulsed).
  • Dyed carded batts from Scandinavian &/or New Zealand breeds
  • Natural, undyed British breeds wool tops &/or batts.
  • A selection of felting needles - these vary in section and thickness and are appropriate for different stages. This will be described on the course. *Breakages are expected when learning.*
  • Wooden needle holders - if required.
  • Foam mats to protect the working surface.
  • Wire, where appropriate for armatures and legs/tails.
  • Wooden sticks and skewers for shaping.

Project: "Country Creatures” Animals of the British countryside
I work at small scale, making sculptures about hand sized, up to 15cm / 6inches tall.
The individual projects are achievable in 6 -8 hours and can be taken away to be worked on between sessions. Aim to work to amaximum finished size of 15-20cm on the largest dimension.
*More than one smaller project may be created in the week as we will work through how to create various postures for your creatures.*

*Your design - Please contact me in advance so that I can make sure I have appropriate materials and colours!
Bring along initial ideas and develop these with reference materials and images.

Have a stab at Needle felting” - Course Plan (subject to some fluidity, depending on students' projects)

I will teach a number of techniques over the sessions, aiming to build up a repertoire of skills and experience with different wools and construction techniques.

Day 1: An exploration of the different wools, their properties and preparation processes. Handling of the material and experimentation with the tools to explore some shapes relevant to the theme.

Examination of different completed sculptures and the stages in their construction.

A brief history of needle felting.

How to plan and break down your project into manageable shapes that will join together.

Day 2: Technique exploration by demonstration and practice - how to achieve different shapes and decoration. Applying this to the student's projects and plans, identifying problems and solutions at this stage

From Day 3 the students will work at their own pace on their project/s.

I will demonstrate to the class any additional techniques as required by individuals.

Day 3: Working on personal projects. Demonstration of surface decoration techniques.

Day 4: Review of class progress so far with evaluation, questions and problem solving.

Day 5: Review of class progress so far with evaluation, questions and problem solving.

Working on personal projects to a finished level as far as possible.

General: I will be giving verbal, visual and 'Hands-on' practical assistance.

Reference and resource material in the form of finished projects, reference images and books will be on hand for browsing and I will do my best to answer questions as they arise.

Toolkit / To Bring:

Definitely: Pen & paper or sketch book for taking notes.

Reference photographs of your own project, sketches, images, field guide book, etc

If you are worried about pricking yourself with the needle, or need to take extra care for medical reasons, bring a supple leather or gardening glove for your non-dominant hand.


You may find an old cushion/ piece of firm upholstery foam useful for working on in addition to the pads and mats I can provide - it's important to be able to work to the table at the correct height for you!

A flat-backed bristle brush of the body -massage type.

A needle and thread, beads and any other embellishments for your project; for example if you wish to add to the surface decoration with artistic embellishments..

Risk assessment - My Health & Safety talk will cover the following:-

The main risk is stabbing oneself with a felting needle. These are very sharp and thin. Risk is minimised by -

  • Concentration on the task, self-awareness, looking at what you are doing, and crucially, maintaining the fingers of the holding hand away from the direction of the needle (just as you should never cut towards yourself with a knife).
  • Taught techniques on how to hold the project at different stages.
  • Alcohol gel to apply topically to any pin pricks, and advice on hand washing before and after class.
  • Wool contains lanolin - anyone with a lanolin sensitivity should bring 'surgical'-type gloves if they wish to attend.. However, the itchy-scratchy reaction some people get when wearing wool is generally not felt when handling un-spun wool.

Course Tutor

Erica Hemming

Erica Hemming

BA (Hons), MA

About Erica

Erica has been an archaeologist (BA hons, MA) archaeological illustrator/ reconstruction artist, chair seat weaver and craft tutor among other things.

She learned traditional chair seating techniques from her grandfather, in the late 1990s while working as an Archaeologist.

From her workshop in Wilton she restores rush and cane chair seating, working with traditional and modern weaving patterns for bespoke restoration of customers' furniture, and offers tuition in chair seating and workshops in arts and crafts, especially Needle Felting.

She is designing a range of Needle Felting kits called "Through the Rainbow", inspired by British wildlife, birds and from her own illustrations influenced by dreams and folk/fairy tales.

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All courses run for 5 days

WK 1 8 Jul - 12 Jul

WK 2 15 Jul - 19 Jul

WK 3 22 Jul - 26 Jul

WK 4 29 Jul - 2 Aug

Morning Courses

9.15AM to 12.15PM

Afternoon Courses

1.45PM to 4.30PM

All Day Courses

9.15AM to 4.30PM