Craft for Misfits: An Interview with Michelle Riley

This month's special guest in my Creative Soul Circle is Aussie Artist Michelle Riley of Threefold Designs: 'Craft for Misfits'. Sign up here for the Creative Soul Circle ~ it's free! Michelle Riley: Craft for MisfitsInterview with Michelle Riley

What aspect of creating your art do you find the most enjoyable?

The design and execution of my art is the most enjoyable to me … especially stitching!

What originally got you started?

I went to Art School after high school, but although I knew I wanted to be an artist, I hadn’t found a medium I ‘clicked’ with.  It was only afterwards that I was inspired by the designs of Kaffe Fassett, and realized that needlepoint was the medium that suited me.

Who has inspired you the most creatively, and why?

The aforementioned Kaffe Fassett (, who is a creative and colour genius!  I am also inspired by hearing stories of other artists who have made a living doing what they love.

How did you decide what medium to work in?

I’m not sure why needlepoint struck a chord with me – I think it’s because wool is so earthy, grounding and textural.  I also like the fact that needlepoint isn’t considered ‘cool’ – it’s a challenge convincing people that it can be ;)

What message, if any, do you want to convey with your art?

To be honest, I’ve never really thought about conveying a message at all … I just do what makes me happy, and what is aesthetically pleasing to me.  If others love it, then that’s fantastic!  I do like to encourage people to learn cross stitch though.

If you had to choose a fruit or vegetable to describe yourself, what would you choose and why?

Rambutan – it’s weird looking, some people really love it and some people really hate it!  And yes, I can be a bit spiky at times ;)

Michelle Riley Stitching: Craft for MisfitsIf you had to choose one other medium in which to display your creativity, what would that be and why?

Woven tapestry!  This is what I am studying at the moment (in my second year of a 6 year diploma), and I hope to create one-of-a-kind pieces that complement my needlepoint kits.

What advice do you have for others who are just starting to develop creatively?

Seriously, just do it!  Don’t sit there thinking ‘oh, I’m not good enough’ – get out there are do what makes you feel happy!  Don’t worry about what other people think – the judgement is only as relevant as the judge ;)

What role does spirituality play in your creative life?

An enormous role!  My designs are ‘given’ to me by particular entities that want to make themselves known to me.  My very first design was Moon Phases, and I did this when I started studying Astrology.  Other designs came about after I was ‘visited’ by entities wanting their portraits done … for example, Hathor wouldn’t leave me alone until her design was done.  One day I set it aside to do something else, and the whole frame came crashing down (I still don’t know how!).  All was well when I started working on it again!

Do you have any business or marketing tips for other artists/crafters?

I’m probably not the best person to ask, since I’m still learning this myself!  If anyone reading this has any suggestions, I’d be glad to hear them ;)

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Life is all about doing what makes you feel good!  If you are thinking to yourself ‘I’d always like to be trying that’, then get out there and do it – you’re never too old, or not good enough to find your passion in life.

Michelle's Links: Threefold Needlepoint Shadowplay (Michelle's goth/dark wave radio show)

Each month in the Creative Soul Circle you'll meet a different guest and have an opportunity to interact with them in person. The Circle also features a Moon Musing Group; a support group for women.