Number of people living with a pet in South Korea is estimated around 10 million as of 2021. They have strong attachment to their pets and often lamented over the death of their pets near equal to their beloved passing away. Some experience the grief to the level of seriousness and it leads to pet-loss syndrome in which the owner blames oneself for the dying of the pet.
Needlencok sees this grief as if it is its own grief. And the company helps those who have lost their pets overcome the grief with replica doll of the pet. By using felt, the bereaved can make a doll of the pet to attach to their bags or keep it in a frame.
|▲ Needlencok / CEO Kim Sul-ah|
Felt is the material that can best express the real feel of the hairs of animals. The beauty of the felt craft is not only it gives remembrance when completed but the making process itself requires the love the owner shared with the pet.
“The whole making process is like a therapy session: a client brings photos of the pet and talk with me this or that of the pet how they were attached each other, how he/she is regretful by doing that and sometimes shed tears. I listen attentively and shared the sadness of the loss and guide them through the way to make feeling better. When the replica is completed, some even treat the pet as if it has come to a life again and order this and that they used to do it. What is more interesting is that the pet that has lost its fellow pet shows a great intimacy by licking and caressing the replica as much as us. In other words, animals also have deep emotional attachments” says Kim Sul-ah, CEO of Needlencok.
Kim used to make eco-friendly craftworks. It was by chance she knew needle felt craft for pets. Greatly intrigued, she made frequent visits to book stores to find information and to Dongdaemun Market to buy felt. As number of her works piling up, she uploaded them on her social media account. To her surprise, inquiries were poured in and she started organizing classes from the summer 2019.
“Not only the students of the class who heal their emotional wound but also myself through listening, sharing and crafting the pet together. I think this is the charm of the pet felt craft. We laugh together, we shed tears together and we heal together. I also feel good when the students find a new look of the pet which they didn’t know before.”
Each class is limited to maximum 6 students and the curriculum is designed to suit beginners, intermediate, advanced and certificate. Those who successfully passed the certificate course can receive a help from Kim whether they are working as an artist, running classes or setting up a business.
In an effort to spread this beneficial felt crafts, Kim has set to launch the Korea Needle Felt Association next month. Kim says that the association will play a role to gather strength of the felt crafters, promote their interests and above all to spread the beauty of the felt craft to more people. This is partly the fact that the inquiries for class also come from abroad which made Kim to see the need of a more systematic organization.
Serge Ciccotti said: men feel as if they have lost a dear friend and women as if they have lost a beloved son or a daughter when their pets passed away. The felt replica cannot replace the pet we loved but it is worth keeping the memory once shared together even if it is only a replica.
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