My journey started back in late 2013 when recovering from serious illness. I wanted something something to do that didn't require too much moving about. I discovered needle felting and decided to give it a go. I was unable to find any information about the craft here in the UK, so purchased some needles from America and managed to persuade my local sheep shearer to give me some raw fleeces to process. There were lots of YouTube videos showing how to do this.
I then had to learn how the felting needles worked. That proved much more time consuming and required some patience, but with time on my hands I was able to perfect their use. Each sculpture teaches me something new, which might be a different shaped nose, or coat colour and texture, or unique eyes, resulting in pushing my boundaries of knowledge and experimenting with different mediums to enhance features. One of my favourite mediums to add to my felting is polymer clay, a form of clay that can be baked in a home oven. With the clay I can create noses, mouth parts and accessories, such as bones, bowls, brushes etc. I also use leather to create miniature replica collars, leads, harnesses or in the case of horses, bridles and saddles. They all add to make a fully finished product.
I was raised with the family business of boarding kennels, breeding Irish Wolfhounds, running our own competitive dog training club, training dogs for security and handling the stray dog contract from surrounding police stations. We also rehomed dogs that were strays or sometimes dumped at our gates. So my years growing up were surrounded by all things dog, from day to day care of dogs, breeding, exercising, training and dog shows. Many dogs shows! So I knew a good dog when I saw one. Left is a photo of me at about 4 years old with my first dog "Whippy" instructing her not to chase the sheep. This photo was taken at Rushden (Northants) Scout Hall during one of our training club meets.
As an only child living in a very small village in Bedfordshire I would have to amuse myself. One of my favourite past times was creating dogs from pipe cleaners. I would fashion the breeds then colour them with felt tipped pens and hold my own dog shows. Little did I know that these skills would be the basis of my felted creations some 50 years later.
To date I have won international awards and have sold to 15 countries making "Chicktin Creations" the
Home Of The Needle Felted Dog