Halloween is pretty much my favorite holiday, it’s creative and fun and it inspires me; this year I’ve needle felted several Halloween puppets. Most of these puppets were time intensive and they have lots of details; I want to share some of my techniques and thoughts about needle felting faces in this post. Not all portraits have to be photo-realistic, cartoon techniques and-caricatures are also good ways to make needle felted portraits. My needle felted portraits tend to be realistic. NOTE: This is an advanced project but it can be simplified. This puppet is not a toy because of the hair and eyes which can be choking hazards for children. If you wish to make a puppet as a toy, needle felt the eyes (don’t use glass or plastic eyes or fake eye lashes) and felt the hair firmly so it can’t be pulled out.
These puppets can be used for puppet shows and they can also be conversational pieces of sculpture for your home or business.
I decided to change my Laura Lee Burch Studio Facebook page photo to something fun, so I donned my Marie Antoinette felt wig and asked my oldest daughter Lili to shoot some photos of me. She must have taken 50 photos of me or more, none of which I thought did Marie nor I justice. I just felt like I had a plastic face (my girls make modeling look so easy-it’s not), then Lili told me she thought I looked like a drag queen in this wig, which made me laugh really hard and voila-I like this picture. My kids say the darnest things to me like, you know mama, if you dyed your hair you wouldn’t look so old and if you put more cream on your face you wouldn’t be so wrinkly! My youngest daughter asked me recently if I voted for Abraham Lincoln and she asked if I had ever seen a real dinosaur!!! She also once told me that I was a real mother felter, which I wasn’t sure was a compliment or a misguided insult disguised as a compliment.
Are those train tracks around your eyes? Lili assured me that I didn’t look bad and that I’d be 28 this year on my birthday (since I was 29 last year-I have a Jack Benny/Benjamen Button thing going on). We decided that if the wig was blue, I could pass for Marge Simpson; that gives me an idea for the upcoming Halloween costume! All I need now is a doughnut for Doron and we’re set as Marge and Homer.
Marie Antoinette has played a major role in my artwork for the last several years. I made this wool wig for Emili to wear in a fashion show; it was so big she could barely walk in it! The Marie Antoinette dress was the most popular princess costume in my shop.
I think it’s the elegance and excess that appeals to me about Marie, she was something that I’m not. I don’t wear makeup or big puffy dresses. The last time I wore a big, puffy dress, the girls were little and they crawled up under it and used it as a tent, while I was wearing it! Even my puppets have gotten into the action.
This Marie Antoinette puppet is one of my favorite pieces; I woman bought her last year after she persuaded me to sell her. I was paid a pretty penny for her, but I had this emotional attachment to her. I felt terrible after I sold this puppet. I said I’d make another one, but I haven’t yet…..I will.