Inspired to Stitch – Round Up on Alternative Mediums

Inspired to Stitch, Exploring The Creative Journey with Olisa Corcoran

So few of us only stitch.

Needle and thread may be our primary creative mediums , but in my interviews with artists for this column, I ve repeatedly come face-to-face with wildly diverse artwork outside of (and along side) the world of stitch.

Iviva Olenick writes poetry. William Schaff plays horn, illustrates album covers and creates tableaux vivants. Nat Uhing paints and builds handmade books. Michelle Kingdom makes ceramic sculptures. These are only a few examples from the artists that I ve profiled so far.

Ceramic bust by Michelle Kingdom

It has made me consider: Where do other mediums fit into the creative lives of the artists? Does our work all draw from the same pool? I envision this source as a nighttime lake beneath a starry sky.

During my conversation with Michelle Kingdom, I was struck by her response to a question that didn t make it to the final column. I asked if she had ever started a piece in one medium only to find it worked better in another?

Michelle said no, that medium choice is usually clear for her.

Thinking on Josh. Mixed media diorama.

As stitchers and artists, do you find this is true for you? (Feel free to leave us a comment with your thoughts to keep this conversation going.)

What follows is a little gallery of paintings, sculpture and video stills by artists who also create in stitch . I asked the artists to share their thoughts about their work in alternative mediums. They were hugely generous in their replies.


Gina Matarazzo.

What other mediums do you work in besides stitching?

I make traditional pencil drawings colored in Photoshop, I paint in oil, and love to make crafty things out of anything I can find paper, clay, cloth, etc.


Insomnia. Oil painting by Gina Matarazzo.

Tell us about one of your favorite projects from another medium?

Here’s an oil painting I did a few years ago titled Insomnia. On a trip to Ireland, I was inspired by all the lambs I came across. It seemed like everywhere you went there were lambs frolicking about near the roadside. There was a “lambing” reality show on TV over there and they talked about how when you see lambs jumping and running, that they are literally jumping for joy!

I found it so endearing, that I had to put them into a painting. So this painting, partly commemorative of our Ireland trip, is also an homage to all those precious little lambs.

At the time of the trip, I was talking with my husband about really getting back into oil painting. It was the first major oil painting I had done in fifteen years or so, as I had give it up to work digitally. As an illustrator, I found it difficult to keep pace with everyone else working digitally. But now I really appreciate doing traditional oil painting, because of the “real time” working with your hands. It’s just a different feeling not unlike the fun of stitching.

Over time I intend to do more oil painting and maybe have a gallery show. Working as a commercial artist (which is what I do for most of my living) can really burn you out. Creating other peoples’ visions can get tiresome. To me, oil painting for myself is a way to keep growing as an artist.


Mo Powers

What other mediums do you work in besides stitching?

Currently, I love dabbling about with watercolors, metallic inks, and walnut ink. I’ve also been working on jewelry: cutting metal and antlers, etching glass, soldering, hitting things with hammers, etc.

ahplum. Painting by Mo Powers.

Tell us about one of your favorite projects from another medium?

Ahplum is the most recent paper piece I ve completed. I created it with watercolor, metallic inks/paints, and ink pens. Ahplum, and all of my figures, tend to lack upper arms and lower legs, having a dismembered and floating quality to them. I’m also all about tangled masses of hair.

For the first time, I am completely happy with what I’m creating, and I hope that others enjoy my creatures.


Spike Dennis

What other mediums do you work in besides stitching?

Film/video, puppetry, pen/pencil/paper, print, online digital media and mixed media sculpture.


Still from Conversations with Unicorns. Video installation by Spike Dennis.

Tell us about one of your favorite projects from another medium?

Conversation with Unicorns is a video installation piece I created last year. It s inspired by the Peter Carey short story of the same name and deals with issues relating to knowledge and understanding, mortality and morality.


My research has been focused upon the symbolism and significance of the unicorn for a couple of years. Peter Carey s story is a particular favourite of mine, so when the opportunity arose to make a piece of work in response to this story, I jumped at it. It was the first narrative-based video piece I had created and it sits alongside a larger body of work that encompasses my unicorn studies. (This includes other work in a variety of media including stitch, sculpture and digital media.)


Still from Conversations with Unicorns. Video installation by Spike Dennis.

Although a narrative piece the film borders on the surreal/abstract, it s designed to be shown as an installation piece on a continuous loop, reflecting the cyclical nature of rebirth and resurrection, themes that the film covers.


Victoria Crowder Payne

What other mediums do you work in besides stitching?

My first love was pencil drawing, followed closely by ink & watercolor.

Pastel figure. Drawing by Victoria Crowder Payne.

Tell us about one of your favorite projects from another medium?

I am mostly influenced by the work of Anne Blockley and her father John. I find that exploring line in pencil or ink and then moving watercolor over it is satisfying like few other creative endeavors. I like that watercolor especially takes time to dry and develop (much like stitching), so I can return to it as I find inspiration or motivation.

I keep several sketchbooks going at a time so I can explore and return to the same form over time. I often work in a single book for years until something about the thing I’ve been drawing or painting “clicks” and I know what it’s meant to be.

Some works turn into finished paintings, some into embroideries, some into wire work jewelry, some remain journal pages (or get cut out & collaged on to other projects). In any case, all of my visual art begins with pencil or pen and wash – from there, the adventure begins.


Bascom Hogue

What other mediums do you work in besides stitching?

My main mediums besides stitching and fabric are metals, wood, stone, plaster, paints, drawing, and paper mache.

Sculpture by Bascom Hogue.

Tell us about one of your favorite projects from another medium?

This is a polychromed wood carving. I made this because I love looking at pretty things and I like carving and painting. I like abstract art but I also like representational work.

I have two tendencies: One is when I feel blind and the other is when I depend on my mind’s eye. One is realistic and one ideistic.

Realistic art is an interesting aesthetic manifestation. It is a reflection of my thinking and feeling in the way that I deform objects when I represent them. I can affirm that my art cannot help being ideistic because it is representative of the materialization of the highest thing, the only thing existent the Idea. That is why ideas are supremely important in my art. If one does not know about Idea, one will never be any freer than in the people in Plato s cavern watching shadows.

Share The Love

Want More of the good stuff?