Needle-Felted Wool Sculpture
Written and Posted by Sarah on March 28, 2015
This doll is based on Thorin Oakenshield as played by Richard Armitage in Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit" Trilogy. Thorin weighs 3-1/4 ounces, stands 9-1/4" tall and took 61 hours to complete. He is needle-felted out of Merino and Cotswold wool roving, using .40 and .42 gauge needles.
I've been making Middle Earth themed dolls for Elizabeth over the past two years, so I thought that it would be fun to make a doll for myself. Being the year of the final "Hobbit" film coming to disc, it seemed like a fun idea to have a Hobbit character of my own! We're also a bit "Hobbit crazy" right now, and it's always fun to work on a character that you are really inspired to make. Bilbo and Thorin are my two favorite Middle Earth characters, so it had to be one of them. I was in the mood to do something a little challenging, so Thorin was the logical choice.
Thorin's boots were the first part of him to be made. They are made of felted brown Corriedale wool, and they are finished with Rabbit fur and leather thong. He has a light-blue shirt (visible at the collar and the slit near his knees), then a grey-leather piece of "chest armour". His short sleeves and the bottom of his armour tunic are felted Merino in two layers with two different colors. The dark blue is put on the bottom and felted up into the light grey wool to give the modeled effect. His next layer is a sleeveless coat felted from dark blue Merino roving. His belt is navy blue leather that Elizabeth painted to match the designs on Thorin's belt in the film. His "arm guards" are made of black leather with real metal "buckles" (also made by Elizabeth!). The wool in Thorin's pants and overcoat is a navy blue and black Merino/Silk blend. The overcoat is felted and features real Mink trim sewn on and trimmed to shape. His face is completely felted wool (no paint or anything), and his hair is made from Mohair Kid Locks. Elizabeth made the metal bands in his hair, which I think make the perfect finishing touch to this doll!
I've included a lot of photos in the column at right. The first fifteen show the completed Thorin doll from different angles. Photos 16 and 17 show the doll "in progress", first with the legs and torso connected and all other pieces partially worked. The second photo shows the doll put together but lacking the belt, overcoat and head. The head and hair are the last pieces to go on a doll. The final photo shows this Thorin doll standing with the Tauriel doll which I made for Elizabeth. The photos don't quite do Thorin justice, but he did actually photograph pretty well!
We have made Thorin dolls in a variety of sizes. A Thorin Minikin stands just over 4" tall, while a 1:12 scale needle-felted Thorin Doll stands 6" tall. See the last two photos in the right-hand column for all three doll varieties.