Handcrafted, adorable needle-felted animals are the creation of Russian artist Anna Yastrezhembovskaya. When the mother of two first started felting, she was inspired to try making some of her own wool toys after seeing some that others had made. Her expanding collection of handcrafted toys pays homage to the numerous creatures that live in the artist’s nearby forests, from tiny fuzzy hedgehogs to textile birds.
Yastrezhembovskaya admits, “My first toy wasn’t nearly as pretty, it was rather funny.” However, I kept trying because I found the process to be so enjoyable. Even at night, I would felt in my spare time, and I got better with each toy I produced.” The talented artist’s perseverance has obviously paid off because she has not only honed her craft but also established a business selling her felted animals on Etsy.
The most well-known woolen creation by Yastrezhembovskaya may be a super-cute bat toy that she originally created for her daughter. Interest increased when people saw it online, and Yastrezhembovskaya soon had a backlog of orders. I am flattered that my bats have captured the hearts of so many people, but the volume of orders I received was terrifying, she admits. Since the artist is a one-woman show and it takes ten 12- to 14-hour days to make one felted bat, it’s understandable that she feels a little overburdened. Naturally, I’ll keep felting as many bats as I can, but I want people to realize that since these toys are entirely handmade, the process takes a while.
Despite the difficulty, Yastrezhembovskaya takes great care to create beautiful and elegant felted animals. She says, “Wool is a very soft and cozy material for me. “I put my soul into each toy when I sort the fibers between my fingers and shape them with a needle.”
Yastrezhembovskaya makes adorable felted animals, some of which you can see below and buy from her Etsy shop.
Russian artist Anna Yastrezhembovskaya crafts adorable, needle-felted animals by hand.
Her growing portfolio of handmade toys pays homage to the many creatures that inhabit the artist’s nearby forests.