Thoughts on Thursday: Mixed-media stitch

Mixed-media artists are known for their adventureous approach to art making. One look at any Materials list in an issue of Cloth Paper Scissors will immediately show the vast array of items and products that can be found in a mixed-media art space. From paints, pastels, and papers to sandpaper, Dremel® tools, and soldering irons.

One tool that many artists are cautious about using in their mixed-media art is a sewing machine. No need to worry. Be bold.

Artists in Cloth Paper Scissors have shown time and again how much stitching can add to a piece of art, whether by hand or machine.

In the January/February 2010 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors, Sue Pelletier shows how stitching  adds personality to her Dropcloth Girls. 

Sue followed some of her sketched lines and did some free-motion stitching to add some interest to these colorful gals.


CB Bradley adds depth to her fused-plastic creations in the July/August 2011 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors. Outline stitching defines the colorful shapes and CB adds even more shapes with free-motion stitching.
Cathy Cullis uses free-motion stitching to create her stitched portraits.  She talks about her creations in Artist to Artist in the January/February 2009 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors.
Viv Sliwka uses hand stitching in her collages in the January/February 2009 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors. Whimsical flowers and buttons complete her stories.
If you’re nervous about using your sewing machine on your mixed-media art, here are a few tips.
  • Do a little planning as stitching on paper leaves holes, so you don’t want to have to remove stitching once it’s done.
  • Always keep your needles for sewing on paper separate from your fabric needles. Sewing on paper can dull the needle.
  • Do machine stitching first, before adding any dimensional embellishments like buttons and beads to prevent any mishaps.
  • Choose a contrasting color for emphasis or to outline. Black works well for this. 
  • Use a variety of stitches to add depth and interest.
  • Combine hand and machine stitching in one piece for a whole different look. 

Happy stitching!





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