Every pet owner loves taking pictures of their animals, whether they’re just playing, sleeping, or resting. We do it to preserve the memories we have of them, so we have something to remember them by when they’re gone.
One talented artist—and pet owner—from Washington, DC, found a better way to immortalize people’s pets – by creating a miniature felt version of them.
Alyson Gurney, 23, took to needle felting after seeing it on Instagram. The medium uses needles to make wool into various sculptures of animals. She first practiced the craft by creating a felt version of her dog, Drift, a Carolina/husky-mix rescue.
“He was definitely the inspiration behind the whole thing,” Alyson told Insider.
As she got better, Alyson soon started making the tiny models for her friends’ dogs. The demand grew as more and more people discovered her works. Her passion project quickly turned into a business, and now, she runs the company Little Felted Friends, a service where pet owners can have teeny versions of their animals made.
To make the sculpture, Alyson asks for pictures of the animals from different angles along with a personality shot. Some owners also send videos of their pets in action. She learns as much as she could about the animal, a process that she enjoys immensely.
“It’s fun to kind of get to know the dog if you’re making them,” she said.
It takes Alyson about three to four hours to finish a single mini pet. She can create two to three sculptures each day.
“It’s something I can take everywhere with me,” she said. “I only need wool and needles. I’m not chained to the computer for eight hours of the day.”
Each tiny pet stands at approximately 3 inches tall and is sculpted with 100% wool and hand-painted glass eyes. Alyson also embeds a little surprise in each of them – a tiny heart felted within each one.
Because of the high demand for these sculptures, Alyson launched a website where she releases a limited number of slots at 10 a.m. during the first day of each month. Incredibly, they sell out in a matter of minutes!
“I feel bad for all the people I get messages from, ‘I couldn’t get a spot. I couldn’t get a spot,’” she said. “I always tell them to try again next month. I always try to get [the miniatures] out as fast as I can, but they do take a long time to make.”
Alyson maintains an Instagram account where she shares the little felted friends she’s made as well as videos and photos of their real-life inspirations. She features a different pet every week and showcases their unique personalities.
Aside from making dogs, she has also created tiny birds, bunnies, and even hedgehogs.
Alyson never imagined that her business would achieve so much success. Nevertheless, she feels honored to be able to do this for other people.
“My favorite part of the whole process is receiving pictures of the real pets with their little felted friend. It is such a joy to realise how much people love their pets, sometimes it’s the little things in life that bring us the most joy,” she said.
You can see more of Alyson’s little felted friends in the gallery below.
Want your own? Visit Alyson’s website every first of the month to reserve your slot.