Alyson Gurney never expected the response that she got to her felting hobby. When the 23-year-old artist from Washington, DC, was browsing Instagram, she came across the technique of felting. Immediately she found a passion for it and began making felt replicas of animals. Her very first project was to make a little model of her pup, Drift, a Carolina/husky-mix.
Sharing insight to Insider, Gurney cited Drift as her inspiration to follow her newfound passion for making felt animals. The work that she did on her first project was enough to make her want to keep going. Soon, she began to make little felt animals for her friends. And soon that snowballed from a hobby into the small business, Little Felt Friends. Her business provides other pet owners with miniature versions of their own pets – and they’re so cute.
Gurney likes to personalize her commissions as much as possible, which is why she asks her clients for as much information about their pets as possible – not just appearance but personality traits as well. The way she described it, “It’s fun to kind of get to know the dog if you’re making them.”
Gurney usually asks for owners to send her several pictures of their pets from different angles, as well as a video of their pets being their active selves in order for her to better replicate their personality. She usually takes sometime between three or four hours to complete one of her miniature felt pets. She manages to make between two to three felt pets per day.
What Gurney enjoys most about her business is that she can do it from anywhere since all she needs to work is some wool and her pair of felting needles. She has expressed happiness at not having to sit at a computer for 8 hours a day and can just do what makes her happy.
Gurney’s felt animals are proving to be quite popular, and the demand for them is high. Because of this, Gurney only releases a limited number of spaces for commissions through her website. On the first of every month, at exactly 10:00 am, she’ll release the slots for that month – and they are usually gone minutes later.
While she is grateful to the support, she does feel bad that she can’t fill everyone’s order wishes. She has said she often getsmessages from hopeful customers who couldn’t secure a space. She feels bad having to tell them to try again the following month.
Gurney does her best to complete her felting projects as soon as possible. But she has stated that the process can be very time-consuming.
While Gurney does her best to get her felting projects done as quickly as possible, the process is actually quite time-consuming. She shared with Insider that the entire process is almost the same as sculpting, but rather than working with stone she’s working with wool. But one of the best gestures that she includes in her process is a very personalized touch. Each animal is given a little felt heart on the inside as a reminder that the miniature animal was made with love.
She now uses Instagram to share her creations with her followers. All her posts have gotten a lot of attention, and her Instagram page has accumulated more than 41,000 followers! She’s very active on her page, sharing lots of content surrounding her felt creations. She will even post pictures of the real-life inspirations for her designs. She is very invested in her designs, knowing that they mean a lot to the people who buy them. While she does a lot of replicas for live pets, she also does them for people who have lost a beloved pet. And she is happy that she can at least give them a small comfort to remember their pets by.
Gurney is used to doing mostly dogs and cats. However, she has created other animals, such as rabbits, birds, and even hedgehogs. Currently she’s running her business alone, but she has mentioned she’s not opposed to expanding in the future or taking on an additional felting artist should she require the help. At the moment, Gurney has stated that she’s just happy to see where this felting thing leads her. But given her Instagram’s popularity, we think she’ll be going far!