August 9, 2017

Needle Felted Frannie

Instagram is a great place to discover insanely talented artists. I'm not sure how I first found Dani Ives a.k.a. @begoodnatured, but her felted wool artwork is incredible. From dogs and cats to mice, toadstools, and even slices of pizza, Dani creates the most realistic portraits with only wool fibers and felting needles. If you're not on Instagram, you can check out her work and watch time-lapse videos of her pieces coming together here.

In celebration of National Pet Day back in April, Dani posted an auction and a giveaway. For the giveaway, she asked people to share about the pet they would like a portrait of. I had a little free time and wrote about my cat, Jack, who I had for around 12 years and said goodbye to in 2014. It turns out that I WAS THE RANDOM GIVEAWAY WINNER! I couldn't believe it - what a great prize to win! I communicated with Dani and tried to find a good photo of Jack for her to use as a reference for the portrait, but I just didn't have any that would have worked. So I asked her if I could use my current cat, Frannie, instead. I had the perfect picture:

We agreed that Frannie would be a good subject, and after a lot of agonizing, I chose a coral-colored wool felt background. Dani shared a few peeks of her process on Instagram, and I saved screenshots because I was so excited to see the progress. She always starts with the eyes and nose and then works outward.

The portrait finally arrived, and after admiring Dani's thoughtful packaging, I was floored when I saw the portrait up close. The level of detail is incredible, down to the reflection in Frannie's eyes and the little hairs in her ears.

Dani captured Frannie's personality so well -- she looks so serious (and maybe a little judgy?) but really she's just intent on getting your attention and compelling you to give her a good head rub or throw a toy for her to chase. This portrait was such a surprise to win, and I feel so lucky to have a piece of Dani's artwork in my home.

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