The Cutting (& Stitching) Edge – Leisa Rich

Contemporary embroidery art via Mr X Stitch

Leisa Rich is a textile artist and teacher from Atlanta, Georgia.

When Leisa contacted me about her work, I was blown away. I sought to find out more:

“My art works involve the continuous exploration and development of the ways in which man-made materials can create an alternate reality. 2D works interject personal storytelling into a broad visual commentary on dysfunctional society and installations intimate the impact of our human behavior on the natural world. Recent works physically involve the viewer, thus drawing them in to create their own story from my vision.

“In the 2D works, I create visual commentary on issues of personal frustration and disconnection, global uncertainty, politics in flux, unsettling social dilemmas, and environmental woes. There seems an increasing lack of control and little sense of permanence or stability in contemporary life. Jobs and relationships shift and change at frightening speed, egged on by technological, hyper-speed transformation.

The draw to look at my wall works might be likened to that of painting – an initial impression of color and form-but the viewer of my work is usually confused by a texture unlike that in painting and is (hopefully!) sucked in for a closer look, then surprised that what looked like drawing…is actually done with thread.

For several years now, I have been looking at the little bits in our world. They are wonderful. A small pebble stuck to my shoe, a wad of tough, chewed-up gum on the sidewalk, a shiny swirl of oil on a pond, a shard of twisted metal left from an accident, are sweet to my creative eye. Created by nature or by humans these bits are largely ignored by a society engrossed in the hyper speed, materialistic and byte-based life of today’s world.

“There is little time available for noticing tiny things or for enjoying small moments when there are dozens of emails to answer. As I began to create my own intimations of these bits the forms morphed, grew and banded together to create an alternate reality, thus ending up creating a similar multiplicity I sought refuge fromMy own on-going and growing disenchantment with the negative impact of humans on the world has led to my art practice of forming pieces that morph human detritus with Little Shop of Horrors-type, hyper-real, Nature-Gone-Wild soul.”

Leisa’s work blows my mind. Her creative output is remarkable. The 2D pieces are interactive installations that allow the viewer to respond to, and modify, the work as they choose. This creates an ongoing evolution of the work and allows a communal involvement in the work in ways that traditional embroidery often cannot.

The 3D works are mixed-media pieces of otherworldly creativity that are quite phenomenal. I love that they are extrapolations of the oddments and detritus that surrounds us but we often ignore. Leisa takes them and brings them to life, creating worlds, creatures and lifeforms that are often enchanting.

Leisa oozes talent and creativity – a truly fantastic artist. Please visit her website and explore her other works. You can also visit her blog, follow her on Twitter and buy works at her etsy store.


The Cutting (& Stitching) Edge is brought to you in association with PUSH: Stitchery, the contemporary embroidered art book curated by Jamie Chalmers. Featuring 30 textile-based artists from around the world, it’s a must have for needlework fans.