Maryssa Capelli, one of the DGY Pride Scholarship winners, is an inventive media-mixing artist. Here, she shares some of her experimental techniques and advice for anyone looking to craft outside of the box.
Maryssa took a deep dive into fiber arts last year, using fiber found around the house and a loom made of cardboard and a bobby pin.
This resourcefulness began in her childhood when she’d upcycle whatever materials she could find into mixed-media works. Upon entering the world of fiber art, Maryssa saw opportunities to combine traditional techniques with her own experimental ones.
“I love using strange fibers, sewing in beads, incorporating weaving in my embroider and embroidery into my weaving,” says Maryssa. “I love the tactile nature of this art form and how limitless and transformative fiber art can be as a medium.”
Maryssa is clearly unafraid to spend time in the space between mediums. Inspired by Italian folk magic and its intersections with Catholicism, Maryssa has crafted spiritual trinkets, like protective talismans, pocket oratories, and soft witch wands made by wrapping various fibers around twigs and adding small wire-wrapped crystals.
More recently she’s embroidered a canvas painting to add depth and texture to her signature “fantasy dolphin.” Maryssa stitched around the outline of the dolphin itself, and to add another layer of texture, she cut out bubbles from plastic packaging materials to embroider onto the canvas.
When stitching on canvas, Maryssa uses regular embroidery floss, or thinner yarn like the DGY sparkle yarn. Stitching on canvas requires patience and deliberate stitching, says Maryssa, as poking needles through the canvas, especially through paint, creates a noticeable hole and mistakes can be obvious.
Avoid stitching too close to the edges, where the canvas is stretched tightly over the wooden frame—it can be difficult to maneuver the needle and fiber there.
“I wish I realized that earlier,” says Maryssa. “But at least it was a learning experience!”
Having somewhat recently entered this world of fiber art, Maryssa advises newcomers to allow themselves to explore established techniques while also making up your own as you go.
“It’s really important to be forgiving with yourself since it’ll be messy at the start,” she says. In general, Maryssa is a big believer in compassion for oneself and others.
“Introspection and empathy can transform how the entire world works, in little ways and on a massive scale,” she says.
You can check out Maryssa’s work on Instagram @maryssacapelli. If you try embroidering on canvas, be sure to post photos of your creations and tag @darngoodyarn!