Photo By Jude Ratcliff
The satisfaction as the wool slowly comes together with each thread while the needle entangles it into the shape of the sculpture. This is the process Junior Jose Tovar has decided to stick with for his artwork
Junior Jose Tovar is currently in the process of needle-felting a sculpture of a spider for his art three class. Jose has made three different needle-felted sculptures since learning about this obscure type of artwork.
“Whenever we’re finished, it’s like ‘Wow you made that, that’s really cool’,” Art teacher Rebecca Harrison said. “With the felting, it’s really interesting because I get to watch it from the beginning.
The type of artwork that Tovar uses is known as needle felting. Needle felting is the process which uses barbed needles that interlock the wool fibers to form a more condensed material.
“Ms. Harrison [brought the idea of needle felting] up but I started doing it more,” Tovar said. “It’s [more fun for me] and it is something that I can create in three dimensions like a sculpture.”
Since learning about needle felting last year in art he has made three different pieces including a wolf, a clownfish and is currently working on a spider. Each piece, depending on the size, takes Jose around four weeks to complete.
“He gets to choose all of his own concepts [for class projects],” Harrison said. “[At first] he begins with nothing except a needle and some wool and makes this amazing sculpture from it.”
Harrison originally taught Tovar how to do the needle felting and the process of it in her art two class last year. Tovar has been one of the only students though that has continued to work with needle felting specifically.
“Needle felting is really cool,” Harrison said. “It’s something not a lot of schools participate in, and it’s something a lot of students really enjoy because sometimes it’s a lot more tedious than they enjoy, but it’s a really interesting and amazing way to make sculptures.”
For his most recent sculpture, Tovar used something called a wire armature, which is basically a flexible aluminum wire that can be used as the underlying structure for sculptures. Tovar plans to continue working with the needle felting and continue to get better at his skill.
“One of the that we love to do, and we’re doing in our advanced art class is we focus on different techniques and so it gives a really wide array of opportunities for kids to try something they’ve never done to see if they like it and not everybody does, but every now and then you land on a kid like Jose who loves something that kind of obscure and does really well with it.”