08 Feb 6th Grade – Needle Felting!
Needle Felting is a great process for many ages. I have needle felted with 5th grade and at home with my nieces when they were younger. I learned some serious teacher lessons the first time I bravely handed needles to my students. Here are my best tips I share with my students before every lesson…
- Safety – Needles are considered weapons, they are taken from you as you pass through a security line at the airport. They are considered a weapon here too. If you make the massive mistake of poking a friend to be funny, the consequence is removal, write up, phone call home. Maturity is required. I know you can do it.
- Safety – The needles draw blood if you catch a finger. To prevent this from happening, use a safety stick or pencil to hold down your yarn or roving. If you do catch a finger, it will likely be the second or third day when you are feeling more confident… keep your eye on the needle! And you MUST wash your wound with an alcohol wipe. MUST.
- Safety – Always leave your needle in the foam, you will not loose it, or cut yourself by laying your hand on it. And when finished, it comes back to the foam block on my table.
- Form – The bend at the top of the needle is not a handle. Hold the needle just beneath it and keep the needle vertical and your wrist firm. Do not twist your wrist as you felt, you may break a needle. Straight up and down!
- Form – There is a speed limit…. If I hear you exceed the speed limit, I will issue you a ticket! Or…. you might break the needle….
- Form – Boys… stabbing at the foam with force does not felt better or faster, it just breaks needles…. no macho needle felting!
The first day of this lesson, I show a detailed slide show and demonstrate how to use the materials. I share my list of do’s and don’ts and let them experiment with the material and practice “good form” on small 4×4 pieces of felt with small pieces of yarn and little pinches of roving. The next day we start brainstorming ideas. I have found this medium to be a great one for giving my students a lot of create choice. I show many ideas from other artists and former students. I encourage students to create a natural composition. Landscapes, animals, birds and trees…. anything natural translates well in this natural material. However, there are some great abstract and less natural compositions that have turned out well too. Before students start on their 8×8 piece of felt, they are required to have their 8×8 sketch approved by me. Then we discuss how to start. Some need to work on background first, or use the black wool yarn to “draw first”. Others just can jump in and see where it takes them!
I love a lesson when everyone has a very different composition and has mastered the craft in the process! Here is a variety of successes! Enjoy!