COMPLETED 9 January 2009
The wizard came from a kit I gave myself for Christmas some years ago. The tag on the present actually said that it came from the sons, but I picked it out myself at the December open house at my friendly neighborhood sheep farm. I had never done any needle felting or felting of any kind at the time, so it actually took over a year for me to get up the nerve to even start making it. I started it during the first year of The Fifty, but it was one of those things I'd work on for a couple of evenings then put away for nine months or a year. Since one of my New Year's resolutions was to finish five of the remaining items in The Fifty, and I knew that the wizard was close to being done, well, this is the first of the resolved five.
Here's the wizard in all his glory. There's nothing in the photo for scale, but he's about a foot tall. Needle felting involves sculpting with fleece by poking it with a special needle, barbed so that it gets the scales on the wool to hook together. Because the needles (they come in different sizes) are so sharp, needle felting is not something to do while watching television or with your attention otherwise diverted, a fact that contributed to how long it took me to do this. The wizard's body started as a cone of fleece, needled until it became firm, with layers of more fleece needled on to give it some shape.
Some of the details are pretty fine and might not show up here, but he even has the whites of his eyes, as well as a nice mouth in the midst of the beard. I also tried to add some nice detail to his cloak and hat. I may do some more work on the wizard, because he doesn't stand on his own as well as I might like. I put a broad base on his staff to help support him, but I can still make the bottom by his feet a bit flatter. This would help if I decide to replace the felted staff with a branch to make the staff more realistic. Having finished the wizard, I see various things I could have done differently. I could actually re-do these since needle felting is a somewhat forgiving technique. I think that I'll leave him as he is, though, except for possibly replacing the staff. He's a fine first effort at needle felting, and I know from finishing him that there will be more such efforts. I've got some fleece left over from the wizard and some newer fleece to go with it. Felt on!