Maria Filipe Castro, know best on the internet by her alias Droolwool, is a toy artist who creates incredibly beautiful and highly collectable figurines using the needle felting technique. She designs each project herself, using needle felt as a creative medium and always selects the fibers and colours that best serve her needs. She also runs courses teaching her art which is rife with wonderful humour and irony. In short, behind Droolwool there is a woman absolutely bursting with energy and talent who loves bringing joy to the world.
Maria has chosen to create two toy figurines using two of our most suitable products for needle felting. Viscose tops, that give a project that shine, and "Maori" our now iconic blend of New Zealand carded wools designed specifically for needle felting.
We'll now let Maria recount both her story and the inspiration behind the two clouds that she has created by drawing inspiration from our products.
"Hi! My name is Maria Filipe Castro, and I'm a Toy Artist from Portugal. Under the name droolwool I design and make needle felted Art Toys that are humorous, cute and filled with color.
Needle Felting technique played a big role in my identity as an Artist as it contributed immensely for me to become a Toy Artist. I began Felting in 2012 and two years later my first Art Toy came to life.
I've always loved working with textiles, and have been exploring this material for many years. I've always tried to incorporate sculptural details in fabric, mainly Felt, when I created illustrated accessories for children, and when later I created plush jewellery. One of my most important turning points was when I discovered the Needle Felting technique in a short course about Textile Arts. I immediately loved it and I just felt the need to know all I could about it. And that's something that I have been doing since then, trying to evolve and perfect my technique.
Working with wool brought me a new perspective and a new way to sculpt, something that I had been searching for so long. With this new skill I've decided to start designing my own characters and that's how I entered the fun and wonderful world of Toy Art.
My inspiration comes from the things I love the most: food and nature. I love to watch what surrounds me because I never know what might spark my imagination, it may be a simple picture of an ice cream or a beautiful sunset. What I love most about Art Toys is that I am able to tell stories through my characters, and I have a lot of fun playing around with stereotypes and commonplaces and giving them a new twist.
As I said color is very important in my work as it's a big motivator for me to start a new piece. When DHG invited me to create with their fibers, I actually felt like a kid in a candy store! So much variety of fibers with so many colors! I ended up choosing two types of wool that I don't usually have the opportunity to work with: "Maori" blend of New Zealand carded wools and Viscose. The "Maori" carded batt was a pleasure to work with, it's super easy to use and comes in many and beautiful colors. The viscose is super soft and has a lovely shimmer which is a very interesting characteristic for wool. And finally, I've also chosen the wadding that I use as filling for my pieces, and I must say it is a fantastic material, super soft and super easy to felt.
So I ended up creating two Clouds with two completely different moods. So here they are "Super Duper Rainbow Cloud" and "Smoke Cloud". "Super Duper Rainbow Cloud" is an overly excited with superhero vibes cloud that creates beautiful Rainbows, for this piece I used soft colors of "Maori" blend of New Zealand carded wools. "Smoke Cloud" is a pestering cloud of smoke with the annoying habit of appearing when she's not wanted, especially on happy occasions, like when you're with your friends camping and just want to gather around a fire to eat melted marshmallows. For this piece I've used viscose for the fire and cloud and "Maori" batt for the logs of wood."
If you enjoyed Droolwool and his Art Toy, then you may also be interested in needle felt robots by Comì Lab.