By Victoria Gaither
Did you know Easter bunnies come from North Chittenden, Vermont? “These bunnies come from my house. They are all my babies,” fiber artist Lynn Jensen said.
Jensen is referring to the bunny rabbits she creates from 100% wool by needle felting. She takes un-spun wool and sculpts it with a special barbed needle into a solid figure.
“Bunnies will take at least two or three days even if I’m putting in three or four hours. Since everything is by needle, it’s a very long process,” Jensen explained.
Ten years ago, she started making wool balls for her cats to play with, and it progressed from there into animals like bunny rabbits, bears, squirrels, owls — anything Jensen sees in the woods — even acorns and mushrooms.
“I live in the woods, so I make a lot of creations inspired by the woods of Vermont. They are fairy tale and whimsical,” Jensen said.
The bunny rabbits will end up in an Easter basket or sitting on someone’s table to enjoy.
Jensen said she gets joy out of creating the furry creatures, and it’s relaxing. “It forces me to slow down. It’s very peaceful and calming. Otherwise, I would be running all over the place.”
Jensen loves the precision and control that needle felting allows. Plus, it allows her to give each animal’s face its own personality.
Working with different fibers of wool gives the right mix for her woodland animals. “Several different types of wool could be Merino, Romney, Mohair locks, threads that are twisty and turn, so it’s different types. Some work better for different things than others,” Jensen said.
She has also noticed more people getting into needle felting. On Saturday mornings at the winter farmers’ market in Rutland, Jensen sits at her table surrounded by all types of animals, gnomes, witches, and wreaths, chatting and needling as onlookers watch her in action.
Watching her fingers move back and forward, it looks like she is playing with a tangled-up ball, but eventually, it forms into a recognizable shape. The former New Yorker smiled and said, “My husband said I’m selling happiness.”
The business has been slow this winter, but she hopes things pick up in spring and summer. Just in time for summer critters come out of hibernation to inspire her. To learn more you can follow Jensen on Instagram at @feltedforestvt.