WALKING IN A FELTED WONDERLAND: Behind the scenes with Filipa Estrela

For any of my felted works, I start with rough sketches of what I want to make as it’s nice to have a plan to follow, but I keep the sketches very loose as a lot of the details and choices I make for the pieces come out naturally through the process of working with the materials.

For the felted comics, I work on colored felt sheets on which I embroider panel borders and then felt on top. The felting process happens in layers, I work with merino wool roving in lots of fun colors and I build the scenes by starting with the background and then I slowly add more and more until I have all of the characters and foreground pieces. I usually add non-felted elements like glitter, beads, or sculpted air clay pieces last as they just get carefully glued on and are hard to adjust after the glue.


Meandering Realms anthology cover

For dioramas with felted figurines, like the piece I made for the cover, the process is also layered in a way. I usually start with the backdrop set, working on the most basic elements of the background first – stuff like the landscape and sky. I use a lot of felt and wool roving but I also bring in a lot of recycled mixed media materials, including the bases of the dioramas themselves, which I made out of cardboard.

Excerpt from Grow

For the felted figurines I give them all pipe-cleaner skeletons so they can be poseable and then felt them, also in layers. You start with the core shape of the figure and then add the colors and details on top. Once I have the figures I’ll set them up in the diorama set, pose them in different ways and then craft smaller foreground pieces and props as needed to fill the space and bring the scene to life.

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