Nilay Emek: Amazingly Life-like Wool Figures

By Cassie Rief in Featured Artists > Other Mediums

Nilay Emek’s wool dolls and figures will fascinate you, delight you, and most likely, make you want one of your own!

This unique artist from Turkey uses a needle felting technique to create wool dolls with a stunning resemblence to the people who inspired them. By using multiple photos of a real person, Nilay pieces these dolls together using 100 percent pure wool with no wire armature or filling materials.

“Creating a needle-felted human sculpture is a very long process,” Nilay says. “Just making the face takes about seven to eight hours, and one doll takes at least one week to create.”

Our first glimpse of Nilay’s wool figures brings us to this sculpture of a man sitting on his desk. Now, the doll alone is enough to stun, but here are pictures of the actual man and some up close shots to really wow you.


It’s amazing how accurately Nilay is able to depict even the smallest details, right? It blows my mind every time! From those wire-rimmed glasses to his facial hair to the creases in his forehead, every detail is there and accounted for.

(Don’t even get me started on that tiny bell on the desk, which took me a moment to realize were also made out of wool!)

Nilay has created a few animals and cartoon figures, too, such as this little lemur below, whose name is Bobo. Do those eyes melt your heart or what?


Her color choices are so natural that Nilay was able to fade the brown patches around the lemur’s eyes to a soft, muted russet just above its cheeks. That, and the rest of this little guy’s adorable features—nails, pink nose, long fingers and toes—make him of my favorites!

Lastly, another fantastic idea of Nilay’s was to take children’s drawings and replicate them in a super fuzzy three-dimensional wool.

nehir kolaj2

With her silly, googly eyes and tongue sticking out, we see how lighthearted this wool figure is (despite her long red dress and tiara!) Nilay did an incredible job recreating a two-dimensional drawing into a doll that someone is going to love for a long, long time.

Admit it—these dolls are COOL! Tell us you’re going straight to Nilay’s website to contact her into making your own—if not for yourself, for a quirky friend who would fall in love with such a spectacular gift. Peruse, ponder and enjoy!


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