Global Spotlight

New Zealand

Sharon Hawkes, Sharon's Mystical Bears

Midnight Pegasus

Midnight is all the colours of midnight with hues of red-black

blue -black and golds.  All the colours were hand dyed Merino

and Mohair wools. His hooves and unicorn horn are made from

polymer clay.  Midnight's magnificent wings are polymer clay

and accented with 18 carot gold leaf pen.  He stands a whopping

11" to the tip of his wings.

Sharon's Mystical Bears
Sharon Hawkes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mastering the Niche

of Needle Felting!

Focus on Sharon Hawkes

Sharon's Mystical Bears

 

by Bobbie Ripperger

 

If I could request one special

power in my next life, it would

be to possess the gift to lift

a flap and peer into others’

minds, particularly, into their imagination.

I have the feeling that if it

were possible to look into

Sharon Hawke’s creative

core, I’d see fanciful trailings

and meandering pathways.

At the intersections that those

trails cross, seeds of creativity

would be budding like weeds

after a soaking rain.

According to Sharon, she

begins her projects with

simply a spark of an idea,

not an exact picture. 

Her instinct becomes her

guide as she first carefully

selects an appropriately

colored wool, then begins

to felt. 

Merino wools are her favourite.

According to Sharon, "The finished creation is soft and has very few holes.  Presently, I'm learning

to sculpt with polymer clays -

a medium I hope to combine

with my needle felting to give

my work a little different look."

The delicate balance that

Sharon manipulates between

soft and bright shades,

creates a harmonious blend

of the Merino wool, so that

her works almost breathe life.

Based in New Zealand, Sharon

launched her bear making career

in 1990, originally creating bears

from real fur.

Her foray into the needle felting medium, emerged just one year

ago, when her Mum gave her

a kit as a gift. 

Sharon quickly graduated from

that simple, easy kit to her own designs, incorporating prepared

fibers that have been cleaned,

carded and dyed.

"I have always had quite a liking

for wee, miniature bears, which

can be very difficult to translate

into fur," remarks Sharon. "After making my very first needle felted bear, I was hooked - no pun intended! Needle felting offers

me a freedom that allows my imagination to breathe life into astonishing creatures I could

not depict in fur!" 

"Since I am bored quite easily,"

confesses Sharon, "I dearly love

the constant challenge of learning new techniques and methods

to "sculpt" in needle felting!"

As far as favorite themes, styles

or animals, go, Sharon reveals,

"Mine involve the fantasy realm.  When I was younger, I would sit outside and quietly daydream

of dragons, princesses and all

the magicial wonders of youth. 

I guess those daydreams never

left.  To be able to make them

real brings so much joy."

Sharon believes her whimsical

and fantasy-related creations

"attain a soul that shines through

their faces."

Other aspects of her signature

style include big hands, feet

and eyes along with droopy

ears.

Sharon does not like, however

to completely box her style into

a corner, “I’d have to say, my creations tend to take on their

own shape, almost of their own

accord."

"I never know how they will

turn out.  They just evolve! If anything, I’m just the facilitator:

my role is to guide the needles

into the wool.”

Most artists who excel in their

fields have mentors and Sharon

is no exception.  She has two -

Kristen Canney and Barbara

Allen.

“I once emailed Kristen to

enquire how she got such

perfect sewing seams on her creations!! Well, she was very

stumped about exactly what

I was asking (since there are

no seams in needle felting),

and I still feel a little silly with

that one!", Sharon admits.

Sharon gives kudos to Barbara

Allen, from whom "I bought my

first needle felted kit.  She has

been a wonderful help and

friend ever since.”

Sharon has her own advice

to share with would-be needle

felters, "Don't underestimate

what you can do with a bit

of wool and a felting needle.

Just let your imagination take

you to wonderous new places

and create what you think you

can't!

She does issue this warning,
" Stabbing your fingers is a

huge problem. More so for me,

since I never use a sponge

as my work surface.  Once

you grow accoustomed to the

slant of your favourite needles,

it gets better, but there is an

initial learning curve which starts

fresh whenever you start using

a new needle."

When it comes to bear making, Sharon says she does have

one unusual quirk, " I'm one

of those extremely strange

people who just can't stand

create in chaos! So, the house

or at least the room in which

I am working, has to be clean

and tidy!!!"

"Same thing with my tools

and supplies.  They have

to be kept neat.  Plus, I only

use the 'bear' essentials:

a felting needle, some thread

and a pair of doll or bear eyes.

Oh, and I can't forget my trusty

manicure scissors that are so

fantastic for trimming all those

wee stray fibres."

Of her personal favorite –

Elle the Elephant, Sharon

says, “Elle is the epitome

of what I always want

to achieve with my creations.

She evokes a big smile on the

faces of everyone who sees

her!"

Sharon continues, "All artists

want their creations to evoke

a response, even if it is just

a second glance.”

Sharon’s Mum would have

become the recipient of an

elephant on her birthday,

as she too loved elephants.

Unfortunately she did not live

to receive that most precious

gift.  Elle was to be Sharon’s

"Thank You", for jumpstarting

her into a new direction -

a full fledged, constantly

evolving career in needle

felting.

"The high point of my felting

career so far," exclaims Sharon,

"was winning the First Place

ribbon and Best in Section

rosette for my very first needle

felted creation!"

When asked what her next

project will be, Sharon is most

likely to answer, “Anything

that springs to mind that

NEEDS to be created!”

Sharon work can be seen

quite often in Bears&Buds

photo galleries, on eBay (her

User ID is mysticalbears), and

on her website:

www.mysticalbears.com

Sleepy, Teddy Boy

This very sleepy boy's eyes show

all the emotion of that young child

who stays up way past bedtime. 

Sleepy was made with a cloth body

then needle felted with beige-coloured

Merino wool accented with two kinds

of blue for eyes and brown for feet.

5-way thread jointed with a slip knot

neck so his head tilts just right.

Sharon's Mystical Bears
Sharon Hawkes

Lady

6" tall, regal Lady of fawn New

Zealand Corriedale, hand stitched

flouncy dress, matching puff bag

and hat trimmed with handmade

roses, sports lovely suede shoes

and pretty heart necklace.

Sharon's Mystical Bears
Sharon Hawkes

Bazzle & Carrot

Sharon's Mystical Bears
Sharon Hawkes

Amethyst Dragon

8" tall, available as a full kit or

pattern from Sharon's website.

Sharon's Mystical Bears
Sharon Hawkes

Mrs. Claus and Snuggles

Mrs. Claus dons her finery for all

those seasonal parties! Lovely

flowing dress topped with luscious

red velvet cape trimmed in super

soft long pile synthetic fur.  Mrs.

Claus (5-1/4" tall), is firmly felted

of fawn color merino wool, hand

stitched thread nose.  Her precious

Snuggles, the polar bear, is 1-1/2"

tall, felted from white/cream Merino

blend.

Sharon's Mystical Bears
Sharon Hawkes

Pirate Pete

Sharon's Mystical Bears
Sharon Hawkes

Wazzle

Wazzle is one of my Fun creations.

I'm not sure exactly what he is but

he's certainly kinda cute! He sits

a whopping 2-1/2" to the tallest

bobble on his head.  Don't you just

love the neon  lime green coloured

Corriedale? The tangerine accents

are the perfect final touch!

Sharon's Mystical Bears
Sharon Hawkes

Lavendar Fairy

Sharon's Mystical Bears
Sharon Hawkes

Molly

Sharon's Mystical Bears
Sharon Hawkes

Soilshey Shee

Soilshey Shee is Gaelic for Faerie Light. She was designed

especially to celebrate all faerie magic! Wherever faeries, pixies,

and elves Faeries, abound, that is where Soilshey Shee is to be

found! Prancing and dancing, she flutters about, carefree and

happy as the birds in the trees! O nly 3" high sitting with wing

span of nearly 7" wide. Completely needle felt sculpted from

lovely white New Zealand Merino, embroidered blue nose and

mouth, wings handmade from iridescent cellophane.

Sharon's Mystical Bears
Sharon Hawkes

Germima, the Giraffe

7" tall, full wire skeleton covered

in off white Merino wool from Australia,

rusty colored English Merino spots,

beautifully sweeping eyelashes,

polymer clay boots embellished

with a silver fern (New Zealand's

emblem)

Sharon's Mystical Bears
Sharon Hawkes

Caramel Twist

Made from super soft English Merino

in warm honey color, slippers and

bear of off-white New Zealand Merino,

8" tall, slippers topped off with tiny

teddy heads.

Sharon's Mystical Bears
Sharon Hawkes

Madonna & Cherub

Sharon's Mystical Bears
Sharon Hawkes

Bobby & Bug

Bobby made from two beautiful 

English Merinos in rusty brown

and lovely butter color, whopping

2-1/2" tall.  His little friend, Bug,

is just a wee 1/3" big.

Sharon's Mystical Bears
Sharon Hawkes

Wedding Party Sleigh Ride

Reminiscent of a wintry romantic sleigh ride in a snowy park pulled

by a Polar bear instead of a horse! All characters are firmly needle

felted.  The two lovers snuggle closely, enjoying each others' company

and staying warm and toasty.  The couple and the Polar bear handler,

are fully thread jointed and range from 3" to 3-1/2" tall.  Polar Bear is

felted over a full wire skeleton and stands 4" tall.

Sharon's Mystical Bears
Sharon Hawkes

Hobo

Needle felted from white New

Zealand Merino, topped with red

Corriedale nose and shoes, black

Merino hat complete with squirty

flower (doesn't actually squirt but

don't tell him!), 6" tall to the top

of his hat.

Sharon's Mystical Bears
Sharon Hawkes

Dolly & Muffin

Sharon's Mystical Bears
Sharon Hawkes

Patches & Apple Blossom

Sharon's Mystical Bears
Sharon Hawkes

Rumplestiltskin

Sharon's Mystical Bears
Sharon Hawkes

Pegasus

This first Pegasus and the start of a Pegasus series,

stands a whopping 8" tall to the tip of his ears and 9-1/2"

to the highest point of his wings.  Lavish coat of white mohair

roving firmly needle felted onto a cotton fabric cloth body.

Beautifully detailed facial shading, hooves and wings sculpted

in polymer clay then black paint added to his hooves and a wee

bit of glitter for his wings.  Pegasus has no thread joints unlike

most of Sharon's creations.   

Sharon's Mystical Bears
Sharon Hawkes

Flower, Flying Pig

Sharon's Mystical Bears
Sharon Hawkes

Autumn Faerie

Made from New Zealand Merino

in light beige, hand stitched nose

in wine colored thread, wings made

from fine curtain netting, a transfer

then liquid polymer clay baked over

to protect the lovely colors, stands

4 1/2" tall.

Sharon's Mystical Bears
Sharon Hawkes

Wally

Sharon's Mystical Bears
Sharon Hawkes

Pugsley & Kitties

3" tall, made from light rusty

colored New Zealand merino

wool, lovely full head of hair

and tail tip is blend of dark

rust, light rust and black. 

1" tall, kitties from Black

New Zealand merino wool/

orange Corriedale mixture.

Sharon's Mystical Bears
Sharon Hawkes

Jack & Horsey Pony Ride

Sharon's Mystical Bears
Sharon Hawkes

Kitty

Kitty started life from a piece

of cotton transformed from a

five-piece head pattern.  It was

then cut out and stuffed very firmly. 

Needle felted in a lovely yellowish

gold Corriedale wool and highlighted

with tangerine and black Corriedale.

She is fully thread jointed and stands

just over 4" tall .

Sharon's Mystical Bears
Sharon Hawkes

Dudley & Picasso, the Puppet

Dudley made from light rust

English merino and stands 4"

tall.  Picasso made from red

Corriedale wool and stands

just a little over 1" tall.  Is it

time for another puppet show?

Sharon's Mystical Bears
Sharon Hawkes

Kitty Playtime

Sharon's Mystical Bears
Sharon Hawkes

John & Wayne

John made from rusty colored

Merino, hat crocheted from

Teds From Threads pattern. 

Trusty steed, Wayne, needle

felted of same rusty colored

wools blended with white for

that Appaloosa look. John

stands 3" tall and Wayne

is 4 1/2" tall.

Sharon's Mystical Bears
Sharon Hawkes

Keiko

He has such a sad face, reflected

in his big green eyes.  10" long and

3-1/4" high to his tallest part.  Keiko

has been constructed with a cloth

body that was stuffed, then lavished

in black Merino and his white markings

in off-white mohair.

Sharon's Mystical Bears
Sharon Hawkes

Elle, Bathing Beauty

5" tall Elle has a wire skeleton

covered in silver grey New Zealand

Merino.  She has donned a rather

skimpy yellow polka dot string bikini

made from red corriedale wool.

Sharon's Mystical Bears
Sharon Hawkes

Ruby, Red Dragon

Made of cotton material, stuffed

and then wool is needle felted

over the fabric.  Stands 8" tall,

available as a kit or pattern

from artist's website.

Sharon's Mystical Bears
Sharon Hawkes

Snowflake

Snowflake is a bit of a funny fellow trying his luck at ice sKating

as any Snow Dragon would, but he seems to be having some

problems with balance!! It may have something to do with the

slightly pudgyness of his tummy!  Instead of using wool wings

and crest he has polymer clay Faerie wings and crest, topped

off with fine crystal glitter for a wonderful mystical shimmer.

Snowflakes are spotted all over his body arms and legs (hence,

his name!).  He is constructed from a basic shape cloth body,

which is then firmly stuffed, smothered in wool with features

needle felted into the wool.  Thread jointed arms and legs help

him pose.  He sits beautifuly with his tail draped over the edge

of display area. His removable skates are made of polymer

clay.  Snowflake is the biggest needle felted creation I've

made, measuring 14" from the top of his crest to tip of tail.

Sharon's Mystical Bears
Sharon Hawkes
 
 

 
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