Friday, 24 January 2014

Needle Felting Betty Heppner's Creations



 Soft Forest

My name is Betty Heppner, I am 62 years old and a grandmother.  I have been married for 37 years to husband Ron. I live in a small rural area near the town of Edgewood where I was born.

My mother taught me to crochet and to knit, I remember her washing her own wool and spinning it to make homespun socks and mittens which she sold to local loggers. I get most of my creative spirit from her.  About four years ago my daughter-in-law got me interested in learning to needle felt. 
Where to purchase
Needle felting is a very specialized form of sculpture that uses a barbed needle and wool. The wool is stabbed many times with the needle to felt or bind it together.  She bought me my first set of needles and some nice roving or wool to use, and a great beginner’s book called Little Felted Animals, I was totally hooked! 
 It is one of the most fascinating things I have ever learned to do and I discovered that I have a real knack for sculpting animals!  Over the years I have seen deer, bears and even a raccoon in my yard, as well as squirrels and skunks. I love to browse through magazines and books for pictures to work from. There is always a new animal out there to create!
OOAK Mama Polar Bear
One of the more fun things about working with raw wool is the dyeing, my daughter-in-law once again was my guide, we were visiting them in Victoria when she was dyeing her wool with Kool-Aid, I watched and learned from her, then went home and purchased a whole unwashed fleece that weighed 9 pounds. I washed my first batch and dyed it with orange, green, blue and red and hung it out on a drying rack on the porch.   
Since then I have experimented with dying wool with beet juice, red spinach juice and even powdered sage and turmeric.  I have had a few disasters along the way, gotten some pretty hideous colours but always have used them in some way never throw anything out I say!


I have also learned how to wet felt from a book, I like to use some wet felted pieces on my sculptures like wings and horns.

Over the past few years I have had some interesting commissions, one was for a red FarmAll tractor, and this was something very different from animals and dragons and gnomes! Once again I discovered I had a knack for designing machinery in wool. 


My next commission was for a small school bus, the lady was a bus driver and was in visiting, she saw me in the process of creating a yellow John Deere bulldozer that my husband thought I should do - he owns a 1958 John Deere dozer! She asked me if I could do her bus that she drives, so once again I said yes and she sent me pictures to work from.

    I have a small shop on Etsy called SoftForest. You can visit it here 

Click here to visit Betty's Etsy Store




I first saw Betty’s creations on Pinterest and immediately fell in love with her Magical creatures.  Thank you Betty for sharing your journey as a crafter with us.

Grandma Snyder
©2013-2014 twosnydergirls

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