Needle felt miniature waders hand fashioned using plant-dyed Cumbrian wool

Holly Thompson uses the dry needle felting technique to sculpt these felt miniature waders. This requires stabbing the wool with a barbed needle until it felts and shaping the form over time.

She uses locally sourced Cumbrian sheep wool and, to achieve the colours, she hand dyes the wool using natural plants – eco-friendly and sustainable. Dyes include onion skins, tea, coffee, sloe, avocado seeds and more!

The wood is foraged from naturally fallen branches. The beak is hand sculpted from a polymer clay and painted, and the legs are made from wire.

My work is as natural, eco-friendly and zero waste as possible to be kind to the environment and all it’s wonderful creatures. I use fully reused, recycled packaging to post your item to you.

Holly and her work featured in Wader Quest The Newsletter Vol 7 Issue 1 2020

For each painting sold through Wader Quest we will receive a donation (30% of the value) from the artist.

Orders can be made by email

OOAK Needle felted miniature Common Snipe – £38.00 + £4.80 p&p (UK)

Materials – recycled card, acrylic paint, polymer clay, glass eyes, wire, wood, plant dyed wool, wool

Dimensions – Height: 8 cm; Width: 9 cm; Depth: 9 cm

Description – Unique, one of a kind, handmade miniature needle felted bowing snipe sculpture on a wooden base.

While watching an elusive snipe from a hide at spurn point, I was mesmerised by its deep and regal bow before it took flight. Glimpsing this several times fairly close, I just had to recreate this momentary stance one doesn’t often see, with snipe often being flushed from the grass.

OOAK Needle felted miniature Eurasian Oystercatcher – £40.00 + £4.80 p&p (UK)

Materials – recycled card, acrylic paint, polymer clay, wire, sheep wool, wool, reclaimed wood

Dimensions – Height: 8 cm; Width: 11 cm; Depth: 8.5 cm

Description – Unique, one of a kind, Handmade miniature needle felted oystercatcher sculpture on a wooden base.

Needle felted Eurasian Curlew brooch – £18.00 each + £2.50 p&p (UK)

Materials – card, metal, brooch, plant dyed wool, polymer clay, glass eye, wool. The back has an ‘antique bronze’ metal brooch pin. The card backing is upcycled card and paper, typewritten.

Dimensions – Height: 6.4 cm; Width: 6.5 cm; Depth: 1.3 cm.

Description – First created in honour of World Curlew Day (April 21st). These brooches can be made to order needle felted British EURASIAN CURLEW brooch.

To look after your brooch, I recommend keeping it out of direct sunlight and protect it from dust and insects. When not wearing for a long period of time, keep in an airtight container with cedar wood or strong dried herbs.

Note: being handmade, your curlew brooch will differ a little from the one pictured here as it will be made especially for you. It will therefore be unique but will still have the same attention to detail as the pictured example.

Commissions accepted – If you’d like a different species making, please contact Holly Thompson

All photos on this page © Holly Thompson – .
Ilex Wild Arts available on: Instagram, Facebook & Twitter

Further information.

Due to the natural dyes I use, the colour may alter over time. To look after your felt wader it is recommend to keep it out of direct sunlight (this may bleach the colours). To protect it from dust and moths, you might like to keep it under glass e.g. A bell jar, and cedar wood nearby can discourage insects and moths.

These sculptures contain glass eyes and are not toys.

Shipping details

Cost to deliver: p&p shown is for UK only elsewhere please ask.

Ready to dispatch in 1–3 business days.

Dispatched from the United Kingdom.