Copyright © Needle Felted Art by Cherie' Davidson. All rights reserved.
Handmade, hand sculpted
Needle Felt collectibles
Handmade - handcrafted - from the heart
What kind of material/fiber are your sculptures and dolls made from?
All of my pieces are made from 100% wool, generally Norwegian or Icelandic breeds and Merino, with rare exceptions. My sculptures are all sheep's wool, with occasional accents of (goat) mohair, alpaca or rarely, some other living animal (such as angora rabbit). Sometimes I might include a wire, usually stainless steel, for a piece to be posed a certain way, but I always note it in the item description if I have, and it's rare.
What kind of wool do you use, and how are the animals treated?
Great question! It's extremely important to me, being a big animal lover, that I only use wool that is humanely and compassionately harvested, where the sheep or other animals are treated wonderfully (even spoiled!). Therefore, I source my fiber from mostly small or family business vendors that either grow their own sheep, or clean and sell wool from small U.S. family farms. This is very, very important to me. I won't use commercial wool that treats animals like commodity products. I won't support that in any way. I love to support small, humane, sustainable and wholesome family businesses and farms, where the sheep have names and are as special as the dogs, cats and even children that live there!
Is your wool bleached or are any toxic cleaners used on it?
Very clean and NO toxins! My sources are very good about picking out 90% of the vegetable matter ("vm" or plants, twigs and things found on farms) that the animals get in the fleece before shearing. I have tweezers and fastidiously pluck out the rest! I don't use carbonized wool, which is harshly processed, and I source from vendors who choose soaps, dyes and cleaning agents that are gentle, non-toxic and natural. No chlorine, no bleaches, no chemicals. I only want clean, healthy wool from clean, healthy, content animals...the end product is all the better for it, and so is our enjoyment!
When we love something, it's human nature to want to share it. I think that is why I get so much enjoyment from sharing what I do, and the knowledge of it, how it's done, etc. I also love having answers to questions. If I don't know the answer, I'll search to find it. The creative mind is always searching, watching, learning.
How do I keep my new felted pieces clean and moth-free?
Ideally, display your new art piece in a closed (air tight) display or collector's case. Since that's not always practical, the next best thing is to remember these tips: 1) Don't let it get wet. 2) Don't feed it after midnight... oh, wait, ... I mean, don't keep it in the dark unless it's air tight. Fresh air and good light will keep most moths and pests away. But if you need more, essential oil is a great deterrent to pests. Cedar, Eucalyptus, Lemon, and Peppermint are all great at keeping little bug and insect invaders away. I don't recommend putting essential oils directly on your sculpture, as the oil will draw dirt and quite probably cause a stain over time.
Can I play with it? How do I dust it safely?
Given that it is a hand needled "soft" sculpture, the fibers will tend to come loose on the surface with too much handling, so keep that in mind. You can trim loose fuzz with small manicure-type scissors...very carefully...to maintain the smooth surface. Remember, the more you handle it, the more your natural skin oils will transfer, which attracts dust and turns it more into dirt, which is hard to remove. The best ways I've found to dust them is to either gently vacuum, or use a gentle air source to blow the dust off. To vacuum, use an attachment hose or extension, and put a thin sock, nylon stocking or something similar over the end (and use a drapery setting if you have one), but don't set the hose right on the piece. The other method, a popular choice, is blowing the dust off, but some argue it can blow dirt deeper into the fiber. I think if you keep it a fairly gentle air stream and not blast it straight into the piece, it should be fine, especially for light dusting. You can either use canned air, like for cleaning out computers, or, my personal favorite, a manual air blower for cleaning camera lenses, like a Rocket Air Blaster, that can shoot out nice, quick bursts of air. I use it all the time. Makes it a quick (and kinda fun) little way to clear dust.