Tiny Creatures

By Karen Parr-Moody

 

GasLamp antiques dealer Di Summitt brings her hobby to the store with the tiny, needle felted animals of Showcase 2012. Needle felting is an artisan craft in which one or more felting needles is used by hand to create sculpture from loose wool fibers. Essentially, the felt artisan sculpts the fibers as one would sculpt clay.

 

Summitt’s showcase is a menagerie of tiny felted animals. Their diminutive size is perfect for a Christmas stocking, but they are more suited for gifting in one of the wooden cigar boxes included with each purchase.

 

“I just like life in miniature, the smaller the better,” says Summitt. “I think it’s more challenging to create something little as opposed to create something big.”

 

Summitt has been at the craft for three years, after buying a $10 kit on Etsy.com and getting “hooked on it completely.” It takes her 20 to 25 hours to create each tiny animal.

 

Each animal has its own character. In the photo at right is Wall Street Willie ($150). “I like mice, though I don’t know why,” says Summitt. “I put him together and he looked naked. I wanted him to look distinguished. So I titled his head up and made the little vest on him.” She then whittled him a walking stick, which adds to his distinction. And the coup de grace is the tiny “Wall Street Journal” newspaper that Summitt created for him in Photoshop.

 

 

Like Wall Street Willie, this little bunny, called Prince William, got his blue coat because, when Summitt finished him, he didn’t exactly right (photo, left; $95). “When I finished him, he looked like he needed something else on him,” she says. “So I just felted the robe on him, and it looked kind of plain with just the one color, so I felted the little lines around him.”

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

Amos, the little mouse at right, is not only standing on a star, he is also looking up to the sky and wishing on a star ($150). His little stick is a wishbone carved out of balsa wood. “I try to put my die charm on everything,” Summitt says of the tiny charm included in the mouse’s amulet.

 

 

 

 

The dog at left, named Scout, is designed in a straightforward style, but his expression is incredibly soulful ($95). “I’m trying to broaden a little bit, and I’ve had a couple of people ask me to do figures of their own pets,” says Summitt. “I saw a picture of Scout in a dog book and tried to get as much character out of the picture as I could.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Well, I am fascinated with little mice,” Summitt says of this grey cutie named Sissy (photo, right; $90). “She looked lonely when I finished her, and I was trying to figure out what to put with her to make her cute. As I was rolling her tail around in my hand, it went under her arm and stuck. I thought, ‘Well, she’s holding her tail, and she’s really little … she needs a binkie!’ So I sewed a little quilt and put it on there.”

 

This white fuzzy dog, at left, is called Bijou ($90). He is another of Summitt’s dogs created by looking at a picture in a book. “That one’s one of my favorites, because I think I’m starting to get better at the expressions,” she says.

 

As mentioned before, these diminutive cuties come packaged with a cigar box, which makes for a complete gift package. These animals are wonderful for gifts at any time, Christmas or otherwise. “Each of them are one of a kind, and would make a very special gift for someone you love,” Summitt says. 

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