Artist, Vicki Sullivan, is bringing the unique art form of needle felting to the upcoming Encore Art Show and Sale.  

Throughout her life, Sullivan experimented with drawing, pastels, water colour, acrylic painting, clay modelling, and even glassblowing, but it wasn’t until she was introduced to wool needle felting that she found her true passion.  

“A friend of mine had a ladies evening at her house and introduced us. She gave us some wool, a foam pad, and a needle, and we were supposed to be making lantern covers,” Sullivan said. “I did not like the project I made, but I loved the process, so I took my piece home and tore it apart so I could salvage the different colours of wool, bought some of the materials and started just exploring and having fun with it.” 

When making a new piece, she takes inspiration from a photo she’s seen, or one that she’s taken. 

Once she finds a reference photo, she outlines where the image will be placed on a craft felt background, and then lays out the different colours of wool to ensure they are fluffy.  

“I'll take a needle that has notches on it and jab it in and out of those fluffy fibers and the notches on the needle will grab the fibers and kind of rub them together,” Sullivan said.  

She explained that each fiber has scales on it at a microscopic level, that cling to each other.  

“It sounds wild, but it creates a painted effect even though it's made of wool,” Sullivan said.  

When working on a piece, Sullivan said the most significant challenge is composition and ensuring she has the right tones and values in the right places.  

Although there are challenging aspects of needle felting, creating landscapes and animals is what brings Sulivan joy. 

“Nature is the thing that lights me up.  I couldn't say I wouldn't just want to always do animals, but I love doing animals,” she said. “I wouldn't always just want to do mountain scenes, but I love mountain scenes, flowers, and big bold skies. I love all of those.” 

Photo of needle felt art.Photo provided by Vicki Sullivan.

What initially drew Sullivan to needle felting is having the versatility to makes changes to the piece easily.  

“What sets this apart for me is that if I misplace something, or place something just a little off, I can pull it up and move it,” she said. “I just love being able to explore and experiment with different things because of that.” 

Sullivan is now preparing for the Encore Art Show and Sale by cleaning all the pieces and ensuring they have a certificate of authenticity. 

“I just keep making pieces as I go,” she said. “I've also started a mentorship program where I am being mentored in my art business, so I will have homework and I will use the homework as pieces for this show as well.” 

Going forward, Sullivan is hopeful that more people will try needle felting.  

“It's a lot of fun and it's so versatile,” she said.  

The Encore Art Show and Sale is April 26 from 1 p.m. until 8 p.m., and April 27 from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the Lacombe Memorial Centre.