These foxes are made of wool and wire. This craft is called sculptural felting or needle felting. Wool fibres have microscopic barbs that grab onto each other which is why sweaters felt and shrink if you throw them in the washing machine.
With clean carded wool that looks a bit like fibreglass insulation I pull off thin strips to wind around the wire armatures. Then stab stab stab with a barbed needle to push the outer fibres inward where they grab onto the insides. Then add more wool and keep sculpting. The more I stab the firmer the piece gets.
I'm learning this art form from artist Sara Renzulli who provides fun and free tutorials on her website. Most of these creatures start out as her designs but each one turns out quite differently than those of others following the same tutorials. I have been needle felting sporadically for 2 years.
Here is a fox from start to finish.
First the raw materials.
Then a wire armature. It is wound with pipe cleaners to make the wool hang on.
These are felting needles with tiny barbs at the tips. (Pictured here with a human tooth for scale.)
Wool is wound around the armature and stabbed with a barbed needle.
More fibre is added to give shape and texture. Every breed of sheep has wool with different characteristics and several types are used in one sculpture. The coloured wool is added last.
The shapes for the face are formed separately on the felting surface and then stabbed into the head and sculpted with the needle. The felting surface is foam so I can stab into that without breaking needles or jabbing my hand.
And Voila! Foxes!
Jay Rainey is an artist living on an island in British Columbia, Canada.