QuickPHX: Heart Felt

With her sweet twist on taxidermy, Amanda Williams has turned the idea of a hunting trophy on its head. Instead of a gun, she wields a scary-long six-inch needle soldered to another equally long needle to turn piles of felted wool into a fox, a raccoon, a deer.

Williams is a needle-felting maestro. She takes out a regular old kitchen sponge and balances it on her lap. She pulls a clump of auburn wool and begins to shape it by repeatedly poking it with the needle. The sound of the needle poking in and out of the felt makes a light tap-tap-tap-tap, like a brushed beat on a snare drum.

The cool part is that she turns the wool into animals with personalities that would fit right in among Disney theme-park animatronics. But there is handmade, honed-in uniqueness to them. "I always loved stuffed animals growing up," she says.

At 18 (and a senior at Miami High School), she's hardly grown up. When she graduates, Williams plans to move to Phoenix to go to school and continue to make her art. For now, you can see (and buy) her work at Switchblade Salon, and she will be in the Mutant Piñata Show at Bragg's Pie Factory, opening March 5 and running through April. — Sativa Peterson
Switchblade Salon: 4215 N. 16th St., Ste. 10, 602-265-2523, switchbladesalon.com
Bragg's Pie Factory: 1301 Grand Ave., 602-391-4016