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! Interview 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 (www.kaffefassett.com), 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 ;)
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.
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.
1. How does you zodiac sign influence your life and your creativity?
Libra, ruled by Venus is a very creative sign – we love pretty things! I have quite a few planets in Libra apart from the Sun … Mars, Pluto, Uranus and Mercury – so I guess you could say I’m a bit over-loaded! Consequently, I’m the sort of person who needs to do something creative every single day.
Despite all these planets in Libra, most people don’t pick me for a Libran … I project my Ascendant (Gemini) and my Moon (Aquarius) most of the time. But I think it’s my Libran nature that inspires me to quiet my mind and let the ideas come to me.
2. What do you like best about your sign and least?
What I like the best about Libra is balance … something I haven’t quite figured out yet! I’m very much an all-or-nothing person, so I’m still learning the peace, harmony and balance of my Sun sign. I see Libra as being very calm – another quality that I’m aspiring to!
On the negative side, Libra can sometimes lack confidence … it’s very hard being confident as an artist because art is so subjective! This is something again, that I’m learning as I get older – you have to put your work out there and not expect everyone to love it.
3. How has being a Libran helped you become a better artist?
I’ve never really thought about this until recently … I’ve always thought it was other areas in my chart that drove my creativity, for example Saturn in Cancer and MC in Pisces. But now I’m aware that, as well as being a creative sign, Libra is also about seeing things from another person’s point of view. In the past I created designs that were completely self-indulgent – I was selling a few, but I really needed to stop digging my heels in and look at what my potential customers would like. I feel I’m starting to do this now. Also, I was given some spiritual advice last year that I had to ‘come out from behind my needlepoint frame’ and promote myself as well as my work. This is something I’m trying to do too, since the art and the artist can’t really be separated.
4. What kind of creative activities are best suited to your zodiac sign?
Traditionally Libra/Venus is associated with arts such as theatre, fashion and music. But personally I think Libra rules all forms of creativity and self expression – as does Cancer and Pisces. I personally enjoy working with wool and I think this may be because I’m lacking in earth signs in my chart – this provides some balance in my life. I tend to have an ideas-oriented personality so working with wool is very grounding.
5. What advice do you have for other Librans who are just starting to explore and develop their creativity?
Stop talking about it and just DO it! There are a lot of people who are armchair artists, but not many who actually create every day. Talent means nothing if you don’t practice … so don’t waste time wondering if you’re good enough – seriously, it doesn’t matter. The joy that creating art brings you is more important!
I’ve always wanted to be an artist since I was young but it took me a while to find my perfect medium - wool! I’ve been designing needlepoint kits since around 2000, and haven’t stopped. I started Threefold Designs in 2003, launched my website and have recently started an Etsy store for more exposure. I am also in my first year of studying woven tapestry. When I’m not stitching I co-host a goth/darkwave radio show called Shadowplay