Art Elements Blog Monthly Theme: Birds of Prey

Welcome to this months Art Elements Blog hop: Birds of Prey theme picked by Cathy. As a child I loved watching birds. In college I took a few Avian Biology classes that established a firm base knowledge and appreciation of many kinds of birds. My passion has kept my field guide and binoculars at the ready.

My 20 year old, well loved Avian Field Guide.

These days I keep an eye on the nesting pair of Red Tailed Hawks in our back wooded area and the competition with the Great Horned Owl that showed up a few winters ago.

I have been working on getting better with my 3D needle felting skills over the last month. Working part time at Sarafina Fiber Art allows me direct access to Sara (the artist behind the business) and she is helping me along so I can teach some beginning classes in the Sarafina Art House so she can focus more on the advanced classes. So this Birds of Prey theme was the perfect way for me to practice some Owls.

Here starts my journey…

The first thing I do when I am about to launch into some creative time is find some inspiration: Pinterest is a great visual place to go. Knowing I wanted to brush up on my Sarafina Needle Felting Techniques, I headed to watch some Sarafina Videos: Sarafina Mini Tutorial: Owl and Sarafina Baby Owl Tutorial.

I picked up some scraps of Sarafina’s Merino Prefelt: Flat Matt at work and cut it in small bits that I pulled into some owl head shapes. I was just adding layers of top coat roving and fooling around with wool sculpted shapes loosely based on the Sarafina Owl Mini Tutorial. I ended up with two flat ornament size Great Horned Owl (inspired) heads.

Moving on from the flat 2D owl head I thought that I should try to make it in 3D. I was a bit freaked out as it looked like a decapitated owl head – not really what I was thinking… However it did spark an idea! I love Jim Henson’s Labyrinth especially the Fireys. “Hey Lady! That’s My Head!” Yes – I had to attempt a Fireys head! I plan on making that one better again when I’m not so tired from felting everything else that day.

I ended up making this Mini Owl (minus the sheep curls/locks from the tutorial). I like making a few of the same kind of pieces and tweeking them as I figure out things. The last image with the small green owls are made in a similar way to the larger owl – but at 1/3 scale and with lots of colored locks.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post and for checking out the other artists participating this month:















Team Members: 










Marsha (you are here)



35 Responses to “Art Elements Blog Monthly Theme: Birds of Prey”
  1. Cat says:

    Adorable fuzzy little creatures! <3
    The "firey" head is a great idea (another "Labyrinth" fan here ;-))!

  2. Oh, great felting Marsha! I love all of them, but especially the baby owl at the end!

  3. Catherine says:

    Love them! They’re so whimsical and full of personality. ♥

  4. Oh my!! I love all your needle-felted owls!! I watched the Sarafina video while trying to felt mine but gave up watching and just did my own thing. I should go back and re-watch it. The 2-d are lively but I really love the 3-d ones you made!

    • Marsha says:

      Thanks Cathy! I love watching the videos to get the techniques down. I want to be able to teach her techniques (requires a good understanding, seeing, and being able to carry them out) then go further and put my own twists on it… It’s fun and yet a struggle!

  5. Caroline says:

    I started to read your post and thought they looked like extras from the Labyrinth! It made me smile to see your version of the Fireys, they’re all brilliant and so full of character.

  6. I mentioned Labyrinth in my post too! But, I was referencing the owl. Your owls are so great. It looks like you got a lot of practice. What a fun job!

  7. Lindsay Starr says:

    I took an avian bio class in college too! It was one of my favorite classes and one of the most memorable too. Our “labs” were bird watching field trips. Seeing everyone’s raptors this month really brings back the memories. I’ve done a tiny bit of needle felting, but never aimed for something detailed. I’m just blown away by the level of detail and character you’re able to render in stabbed wool!

    • Marsha says:

      I can vividly remember those field trips too. We saw a black rat snake 20′ up in the air getting into a tree hollow where there was a potential bird nest. Another time, I was leading a group of 20 kids around the local nature center and we saw an American Crow pick up a 2′ black snake out of the grass in the path ahead of us. SO cool!

      I’m still figuring out the needle felting. I need to do a lot of practice which is a bit hard with the bead making, work and kids. So I try as I can :)

  8. Lesley Watt says:

    Your owls have such great character…I have a vision in my head of them all interacting as a slightly dysfunctional family :)

  9. Alysen says:

    Oh, Marsha .. those last 2 little green owls remind me of the little Troll Dolls we had as kids. With their spikes :), so cute. Your felting is coming along nicely, and the students will be lucky to have such a dedicated teacher. I thought the same thing about my Carny Vore, that he was decapitated … shiver!!

  10. Claire says:

    Such cute little owls! I have to admit I had to laugh at the “decapitated” part! It really is strange how changing the shapes and sizes can create this impression! They all turned out so lovely but Firey stole them all the show! :)

  11. Laney Mead says:

    eheheh Fireys is sooo cute :P Love all of them but Firey just melted me :)

  12. Anita says:

    These fuzzballs are so cute, and so adorable, Marsha!

  13. Kathy Lindemer says:

    I look a class in felting because I love the results of the process in all forms. I love felted handbags, jackets, dolls. I decided after the class that I would have to just buy the felted objects I loved. I still have wool and a wonderful book that keep calling to me. Your owls are very cute! It sounds like you have a perfect job.

    • Marsha says:

      Maybe one day this summer we can meet up down at the beach when you are in town! I will bring my felting stuff to Rehoboth and then maybe steal away from the family to meet you for a beer, lunch and felting! :)

  14. Beth says:

    Oh…I love your felted pieces.
    I especially love the little green owls!

  15. Your comment about the decapitated owls made me chuckle. But decapitated or not, they are all adorable and full of personality. The “firey” head put a smile on my face!

  16. Each of the owls have such unique character. Their faces are so expressive. They are completely charming. And the Firey is too cute.

  17. Marsha says:

    Thank you Tammy!

  18. The felted owls are so cute, they look like they didn’t have coffee yet :) Your playing with materials and looks turned out gorgeous!

  19. Jenny says:


    and I like your owls too! Flat Matt is the best.

  20. Jennifer Cameron says:

    I love the heads. At first I thought maybe you were going to do a faux taxidermy, which would be sort of awesome and creepy. Firey is just too cute!

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