Wool roving, needles, foam, glass eyes, polymer clay, and scissors are the basic tools of felting artist Megan Nedds of Marion. In 2012 Megan, during the summer between high school and college, picked up a hobby that would change her life. It was needle felting, creating amazing sculptures. This was her first experience working in three dimensions. Today, Megan has a full-time job operating her own business called The Woolen Wagon, where she makes and sells her life-like felted animals, kits, and supplies like her favorite kinds of wool. Animals are her specialty, creating mostly miniature commissioned pieces that look like they are real.
Megan was always involved in art and she took drawing and painting classes at Harding High School. Megan attended The University of Findlay for children’s book illustration and graphic design, with photography classes and design that helped her in marketing her artwork. In a short time, she has been able to create a business to sustain herself while creating one-of-a-kind pieces of art. There is no denying she has an eye for design and what it takes to build a business.
Felting is a slow and detail-oriented process. There are two methods. One consists of stabbing wool or fur into a thick wool needle-felted base wrapped around wire that allows her animals mobility and posing. The other is wet felting which uses water and soap to felt the fibers. As Megan shared, “You can’t rush the process. Felting takes time and effort.” Megan can spend anywhere from 50-220 hours on each project she creates.
The majority of the animals that Megan makes are commissions of people’s pets. Some include the pet’s own fur mixed into the wool. Not only does she create the felted part for the pieces but she also incorporates mixed media when needed. Often that medium is polymer clay, allowing her to create more realistic noses, claws, and other body parts. She purchases glass eyes which she paints to add realistic details. Each of the body armatures she creates has been researched to build a realistic muscle and skeletal structure to begin the piece.
Although a majority of the animals Megan makes are dogs, she can do any animal, including exquisite birds, magical woodland creatures, majestic big cats, a life-size meerkat, and a variety of other animals and crafts. There have been a few extinct animals as well as a dodo and dinosaurs. She loves creating all sorts of animals, but her favorites are parrots. They are her favorite because she gets to use a variety of bright colors she wouldn’t normally get to use in her other animals.
There are many different types of wool and furs used for felting. Megan gets some of her fiber locally. She doesn’t just use sheep wool, but also fur from other animals such as angora rabbits and alpacas. Her favorite to work with is the Suri alpaca’s fiber. “I love what I do and I enjoy a new challenge of making an animal I’ve never made before or trying to match the pet, I love the challenge it gives me.”
Megan doesn’t just keep her passion to herself, she also teaches classes at her home. These classes normally take a couple of days to a week to complete. In these classes, students learn how to felt different animals, including their own pets in certain classes. Classes bring people to the community with people attending from across the country. Some are regulars from Dayton and South Carolina. Each of those people are spending money in our community with overnights, meals and more. And Megan’s over eight thousand Facebook followers see more about Marion and this talented artist.
For anyone who has any interest in felting, Megan has some words of wisdom. “When it comes to felting, don’t get discouraged. You don’t have to start with big projects, you can start out small.”
And of course, “Practice, practice, practice! You can’t just start out good, you have to practice. Don’t be discouraged if your pieces are not at the level where you want them to be; if you work at it and practice it long enough, you will reach your aspirations. I am still constantly working and practicing to improve my skills”.