Animator Andrea Love’s Beautiful Needle-Felted World

Seven years ago today was the release of “Fear,” a multi-media animated short documentary in which one man tells his story about growing up in the midst of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Dr. Zenglo Chen’s words and emotions guide the visuals of the film, which capture his story with stop-motion and hand drawing. This unique animation was accomplished by the incomparable Andrea Love. 

Andrea Love is an American animator whose unique artistic style has captured the hearts of viewers worldwide. Her films are characterized by their stunning stop-motion animation, which she creates using intricately detailed felted figures. Andrea has an incredible ability to capture emotion in her felt-crafted subjects, using her animation to explore themes of love, loss, and the human psyche. 

Andrea’s work is heavily influenced by her upbringing in the Midwest, where she developed a deep appreciation for nature and its beauty. Her films often feature elements of the natural world, such as flowers, trees, and animals, which are intricately crafted with many lovely details and a soft, fuzzy quality that only adds to their charm and character. 

One of Andrea’s most notable films is “Fear,” a story constructed from interviews with Dr. Zenglo Chen as he describes his childhood, in which, at four years old, his parents disappeared as a result of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. The film explores Dr. Chen’s journey to healing from a traumatic childhood, his struggles with both his Chinese and American identity, and his attempts to grapple with feelings of fear as a result of his life story. 

With “Fear,” Andrea certainly showcases her ability to capture humanity in her animations; her figure for Dr. Chen, composed from a mixture of textiles, demonstrates a surprising emotional depth. This, paired with the vulnerability in his voice which narrates the film, makes for a uniquely poignant animated film. 

“While animation is often used to exaggerate movement and suspend reality, it can conversely be used to draw attention inward, to our more human qualities.”

As Andrea describes on the film’s website: “While animation is often used to exaggerate movement and suspend reality, it can conversely be used to draw attention inward, to our more human qualities.”

Andrea’s most recent film is “Tulip,” a stop-motion short film adapted from Thumbelina, about a tiny girl’s journey through the forest as she ventures home. In “Tulip,” Andrea utilizes needle felting to create Tulip, who is truly very charming, and to construct a beautiful little forest filled with mushrooms, butterflies, and more, for Tulip to make her way through. 

The detail in this film is stunning, especially considering the medium in which it’s made. In an interview with FF2 Contributor Dayna Hagewood, Andrea talks through the use of felting: “I am known for my needle felted animation work, and it was very important to me to prominently feature the fiber.  Both Phoebe and I love the wooly aesthetic and it lends itself very well to the whimsical fairytale world, as well as stories that take place in the natural world.” 

Andrea also has a very popular Tiktok account, with over two million followers, in which she posts short stop-motion videos that feature her well-loved needle-felting technique. Some of her most popular videos come from her “Cooking with Wool” series, in which she animates the process of cooking various foods, using miniature needle-felted figures. Of her “Cooking with Wool” series, Andrea describes: “I like being able to create feelings of calm for my audience. I have a hungry fanbase that loves when I come out with new cooking videos, and that has been a great motivator for me to continue making them.”

Andrea’s unique artistic style and storytelling abilities have made her a rising star in the world of animation. Radiating through any film that Andrea does is not only her love for what she does, but her love for the world. 

© Julia Lasker (4/17/2023) FF2 Media


Read Dayna Hagewood’s interview with Andrea Love here.

Learn more about Andrea and her work here.

Learn more about “Fear” here.


Featured photo: Tulip exploring her world. Courtesy of Andrea Love.

Bottom photo: Andrea and the mini kitchen. Courtesy of Andrea Love.

Tags: Andrea Love, animation, animator, Cooking with Wool, Dr. Zenglo Chen, Fear, felting, female animator, stop-motion, Thumbelina, tulip

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As an associate for FF2 Media, Julia writes reviews and features for films made by women. She is currently a senior at Barnard College studying Psychology. Outside of FF2, her interests include acting, creative writing, thrift shopping, crafting, and making and eating baked goods. Julia has been at FF2 for almost 4 years, and loves the company and its mission dearly.
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