Meet the Maker: Wolf and Bee
Lizzy Kyriacou from Wolf and Bee makes needle-felted art, fun decorations and gorgeous, tactile pieces inspired by the seasons. Here she talks to fellow Folksy maker Bev Seth about her creative journey, the comfort and distraction needle-felting has given her during the past two years of uncertainty, and the happiness that can be found creating shape and form from a fluffy pile of wool…
Shop Wolf and Bee on Folksy – folksy.com/shops/WolfandBee
Hello Wolf and Bee! I think it’s time for introductions – who are you, where do you work and what do you do?
Hi Bev, I’m Lizzy and I run my small business, Wolf & Bee, from my attic studio in Hertfordshire. Wolf & Bee is predominantly needle-felted art and fun, seasonally inspired pieces.
It’s something I fell into by accident after being invited to a local ‘Create Conversations’ gathering where we were asked to take a piece we were currently working on. My work at the time was large textile art pieces and paintings that would have been a struggle to transport, so I grabbed a needle felting kit from my daughter’s bedroom and, while chatting all things creative, happened to absentmindedly make a little dog. It was very therapeutic and satisfying to create shape and form from a fluffy pile of wool. I was hooked!
Can you tell us how you make your lovely pieces? What techniques do you use? Are they traditional or have you developed them to suit your work?
The joy of needle felting is there aren’t any hard and fast rules and you need very few tools. Wool, barbed needles and a felting mat are my three main tools. It’s very low maintenance and can be taken with you anywhere. I’ve created pieces on trains and planes. It’s the equivalent of taking your knitting around with you.
Like any art form, we all create our own signature style. I think, in my work, this is best seen in my pet portraits where I get to use wool like paint, blending fibres and applying them with a needle rather than a brush. It’s very satisfying to see a form coming together.
When creating my pet portraits I use wool like paint, blending fibres and applying them with a needle rather than a brush.Lizzy Kyriacou, Wolf & Bee
Still thinking about the process, how do you get to the finished piece? What stages of inspiration and design development do you go through?
I think my work is quite eclectic and I have lots of ideas buzzing around in my head all the time.
Every day gives some inspiration in one form or another. I have 26,000 photos on my phone at the moment (not good for storage capacity and definitely needs some housekeeping!). I snap away when I’m out with my dog Daisy, walking in the pretty Hertfordshire countryside. I also love stark urban landscapes and wide open seascapes – all very contrasting but each sparking something that might end up in a felt or art piece.
I also try to take a sketchbook on my travels, mostly using oil pastels to draw plants and insects that catch my eye, or a detail from an interesting building.
As we emerge from the pandemic I’m feeling I can look forward with more clarity, which opens up some new and exciting options… I’m now feeling ready to spread my wings a little more.Lizzy Kyriacou, Wolf & Bee
If we agree most of this productive effort we all undergo is a journey, a) where do you think you are now, and b) how did you get here?
I fully agree that our productive effort is a journey.
Right now I’m at a junction where I’m considering, more than ever, my next creative step. As we emerge from the pandemic I’m feeling I can look forward with more clarity, which opens up some new and exciting options, including bringing my painting and illustrating more to the foreground. Needle felting has been a great therapy and distraction over the past two years of uncertainty. I’m now feeling ready to spread my wings a little more and bring some new pieces to my Folksy shop, using paint and ink as well as wool.
I’ve had a pretty long and winding path to get here! I studied Multi Media Textile Art at Chelsea School of Art and then Loughborough, and from there had some interesting jobs in fashion and the interior design industries. Also, parallel to this, I qualified as a massage therapist specialising in oncology.
After a hiatus and having my two children, with a big push from well-intentioned family and friends, I decided to take the plunge and start my own business using my creative skills and experience.
I’ve just had a wander through your shop. As I write these questions it has a lovely autumnal feel to it. Is it important to you to work with the seasons?
Thank you for taking a wander through my shop, Bev!
Yes, I love the beauty and contrast of each season. Working with different colours that reflect what Mother Nature gifts us – from autumnal shades of orange, red, brown and yellow, to spring’s warm greens and peachy pinks. It motivates me to keep changing and evolving. A few of my pieces do roll over, like my bees that swarm every spring and summer and don Santa hats at Christmas time, or acorns that I forage and use in hanging decorations and garlands through autumn and winter.
I also saw you had a kit for people to try needle felting at home – what a great idea. Can you tell us about how you came to this?
My DIY needle felting kits came about during the pandemic. Pre-pandemic I was about to launch some workshops called ‘Felt & Feast’, where I was to teach some felting basics, making bees or flower garlands with a Wolf & Bee veggie lunch thrown in. This is still in the pipeline, but bee kits came about as a way of spreading the needle felting love to people during the difficult time of lockdown when crafting became so popular as people had the time to unearth and enjoy their buried creativity.
As the kits have been so popular, I’ve continued them and am in the process of developing a new garland version.
What is it that being creative gives to you? What do you take from it all?
I love this question and could jabber on for far too long! In a nutshell…
Ever since I can remember I’ve been drawn to some kind of creativity or other. I wasn’t conventionally academic at school but had a wonderful art teacher who saw I could draw a bit and possibly saw I was an odd-shaped peg struggling with the very square-shaped hole of school. He encouraged me and I found great solace spending time in the art room with other creative friends. I suppose it became my happy place at school and has continued to be my happy place ever since.
Being able to access my creative self every day simply makes me feel whole and happy.Lizzy Kyriacou, Wolf & Bee
As an adult, and trying not to sound too cheesy, being able to access my creative self every day simply makes me feel whole and happy. If too many days pass and I haven’t been able to take time in my studio, I feel my shoulders tensing and my mood dropping. Five minutes with some needle felting or a paint brush in my hand and all is well with the world again.
Finally what does Christmas look like in the Wolf and Bee house? Is it a handmade Christmas? Do you have any special family traditions?
I do like my traditions,and I love Christmas time!
One thing I particularly love about Folksy is everything is handmade, often at a passionate maker’s kitchen table or equally in a fancy, well-established studio. Nothing is mass produced and you can select to buy from your local area, keeping your carbon footprint to a minimum.
The Wolf & Bee household gets festive from the very beginning of December, with the tree and decorations going up. Fairy lights go everywhere! I was given a book all about the Danish concept of ‘hygge’, and finding comfort in creating a cosy atmosphere, especially during the winter months. We go full ‘hygge’ for Christmas, and enjoy all the simple pleasures… and quite a lot of mulled wine!
Shop Wolf and Bee on Folksy
Meet the interviewer
Lizzy was talking to fellow Folksy seller and potter Bev Seth from Seth Ceramics.
Find Bev on Folksy at folksy.com/shops/SethCeramics
Read our interview with Bev here – Meet the Maker: Bev Seth