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Featured Artist - Eileen Williams

Our featured artist for this month is Eileen Williams and she is a feltoholic!! She came across needle felting very late in life, totally by accident when she visited her cousin in Ireland three years ago!

Eileen left home at the age of 16, therefore she had to make a living for herself pretty much straight away. Then she married and had a beautiful daughter who later moved to Australia.

Following the loss of my husband after 28 years of marriage, I decided to give up my job to paint and craft when I was able to. I felt that I was pretty good at some things but I wasn't sure what I was really good at, I was feeling more like a Jack of All Trades and Master of None!

Feeling the need to find out where her strengths lay, Eileen applied for and accepted a place on a Foundation course in Art and Design - but before that could happen she met her current husband on Match.com! So her foundation course didn’t happen and she ended up living happily in Anglesey! Shortly after they were married, she was introduced to needle felting by her cousin in Ireland and although she didn't know it at the time, this is when she found her inspiration!

Since then, I have felted pretty much every day. For some strange reason, I find that stabbing my wool has a weirdly calming effect which means that I have endless patience for my felting, although in general I have very little patience at all!

Over the last three years Eileen has pretty much taught herself by using books,  free tutorials and talking to other needle felters. Whilst she feels that she’s come a long way from being a complete newcomer to felting, Eileen has lots more to learn and look forward to by trying out so many new felting techniques and methods.

My husband, Will, has been enormously supportive and he encourages me to get out there and do all I can while I can and I can't thank him enough.

Eileen’s work is mostly commission based and she has created quite a lot of memorial dogs and cats, as well as some 3D needle felted portrait sculptures. Although she has received some strange requests, including a duck enjoying a large glass of wine, reading a book whilst taking a bath, a 3D portrait of their local butcher with his bike, a 3D portrait of a young chorister and many more....the stranger the better, Eileen loves a challenge!

Presently, Eileen is working towards her contributions to an exhibition, The Birds of Wales Project, (funded by the Heritage Lottery) to be held at Oriel Mon, Anglesey's main gallery https://www.birdsofwales.org/. There are 18 invited artists, all working in different mediums, who are exhibiting their works from 16th Sept until the 5th Nov, and she is very excited that her work has been included in this fabulous project! Why not pop along and see Eileen’s amazing work?

I was delighted when I came across World of Wool for the first time because it's my first 'go to' place when I get a new commission.  The wide choice of wool and finishes mean that I can usually find a way to produce what the job requires.  
The 'chat to us online' tool is very helpful although I haven't used it yet and the 'What Can This Do?' feature is brilliant because I can tell just from a glance whether the wool is suitable for felting. World of Wool, you have just done it again for me, I have just received notification that my order is on its way...I only ordered it the other day!
Felting has given me a new way of looking at the world, I'm always looking at things and thinking, 'I could felt that' or 'I wonder if that would felt?' Wool is the most adaptable medium! I never before realised quite how much could be done with it....thank you sheep of all shapes and sizes and thank you World of Wool!

Q&A

What do you enjoy most about your craft?

Needle felting allows me to give free rein to my imagination and I can inject humour into my pieces or just keep things as realistic as possible. Wool really is a very adaptable and an amazing medium to work in.

What is your favourite fibre?

I haven't really got a firm favourite as yet but I have learned that I prefer carded batts to work from and only use roving for fur or top coats.

What is your favourite breed of sheep?

I love them all!!! I want to try every wool and probably will do given enough time and money!

What do you like most about the company?

So far, everything I have ordered has been fantastic quality and I LOVE receiving my orders. I also love that there is so much choice and I'm learning as I go but the new tool 'what can this do?' is extremely useful!

Do you have a top tip for your fellow crafters?

Beginners to needle felting often give up too soon! Perhaps they've tried to continue using just one needle for too long with the result that their work looks pockmarked and holey so they feel that they are rubbish felters.....not necessarily so! Therefore my top tip is start with a coarse needle, stab until the needle starts labouring a bit, then change to a medium needle and keep those very precious fine needles for finishing the top coat and use the finest needles for finishing.

Thank you Eileen for the wonderful comments! If you would like to view Eileen’s work, you can do so in our gallery below, which details names of her characters and the materials used from World of Wool or you can visit Eileen’s Facebook page here.

If you would like to see all of our previous featured artists click here.

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