The Playful Needle Felted Art of Hiné Mizushima

Hiné Mizushima describes herself as a slow crafter, her practice including needle felting, collage art, and stop-motion animation, amongst other things. Born and raised in Japan, Mizushima is now based in Vancouver, Canada, where she continues refining her craft, borrowing elements from Japanese art and a love for all things cute. “My work is a bit retro, twisted, fun, colorful, nerdy, and cute (but in questionable taste),” she observed in an interview with Frankie. “Luckily I usually make what I want. And I hope my work can make people smile!”

Making what she wants means her practice also includes a heavy dose of experimentation. Mizushima explains for instance how a stop-motion project required her to learn needle felting from all things. “When I started to work on my second stop-motion music video for They Might Be Giants in 2007, I needed to make needle-felted characters and props for the first time,” she relayed. “That’s when I found out that I really love to make 3D stuff with wool fibre, so I started making more, and then I opened my Etsy shop. If I hadn’t got the video job, I probably wouldn’t have started needle-felting.”

“It takes a long time to make a needle-felted piece,” Mizushima notes, “especially for me (I’m a slow crafter). It has also crippled me! (Seriously, I have been having a problem in my shoulder and arm for months!)”

With her artwork taking so much time and effort, her finished pieces are treated like delicate artworks rather than children’s toys. As such, they have been exhibited in galleries in the US, Australia, and Japan, and were featured in books and magazines. But you can find some of her felt creations and prints on her Etsy shop.