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Arts Mid-Hudson Blog

Marilyn Grieco on Her Work as a Textile Artist

I have always been fascinated by textiles. I love the feel of various fabrics, from the roughness of wool to the shine of satin, to the delicacy of silk. And color! I’m excited by the way different textiles take color and the way that they add their own texture to a solid color. And pattern! Pattern adds so much visual texture to an art piece, beyond anything I can do with paint.


I started out at seven years old, learning to hand sew doll clothes, and when I was nine, my mother taught me how to use her old Singer sewing machine to make my own clothes. I loved roaming through the wonderland of bolts in the fabric store, designing something no one else had and modeling my art for my family and classmates.


Over the years, I taught myself embroidery, crewel, cross-stitch, beading and home-decorating skills.  Then I found quilting and worked at that for more than 20 years. When it came time to retire, I wanted to explore more of my artistic instincts. I turned to the skills I had accumulated through my life and combined them in a new way.

My work is becoming much more mixed media, but still incorporates textiles and machine sewing. Using free-motion quilting in the design adds visual texture to my expression. I’ve also been doing more textile painting. Instead of dyes, I’m using Derwent INKtense Blocks and pencils. The effect is often like watercolor, to which I then add raw-edge applique, also hand-painted.


I’m completely self-taught, although I read about techniques, tools and products that I eventually try out.  I’m fortunate that I seem to have a pretty good sense of proportion and color. Looking over my body of work, I find that most of my pieces are quite whimsical. For instance, I decided that I wanted to incorporate zippers into an artpiece, and I wanted to use soda-can metal as a background. I ended up with a set of three pieces referencing fashion, i.e., a dress, purse and stilettos, with titles that are a takeoff on fashion designers. Trees and birds are a recurring theme. The endless diversity of nature is always a source of inspiration. Sometimes, I just want to bounce certain colors against one another, and the motifs are just a way of expressing the result.

For me, exploring what I can do with color, texture, found objects and household items, new tools and products is the most exciting part. I love the collaboration with my best friend, my sewing machine! I can’t wait to see where all of this will lead me next!


About the artist:

Marilyn Grieco’s work can be seen at the Artists’ Collective of Hyde Park, where she is president, and at other group shows by the Collective at Coppola’s Restaurant in Hyde Park and Clove Creek Dinner Theater in Fishkill. She will have a show at the Hyde Park Free Library in October, and is participating in the Art Studio Views 10th Annual open studio event Sept. 2-3. She has done many commissions which are in private collections in Virginia, Florida, California, New Jersey, Saugerties and Salt Point.

About the column:

Arts Mid-Hudson has served up fresh arts and culture across the region for over 52 years. This biweekly series of columns showcases arts, artists’ work and arts events across the region presented with the support of Arts Mid-Hudson. For information about its services, events and grant opportunities visit, call 845-454-3222 or email