The Cutting (& Stitching) Edge – Louise Riley

Louise Riley's embroidery

Louise Riley is an embroidery artist from London.

I was fortunate to see her work at Beware of Embroidery, currently showing at the PM Gallery in Ealing, and it blew me away. Louise creates large hand embroidered pieces on mattresses – the stitching beautifully captures the human form with vibrant strokes of colour.

Louise Riley's Dewleyweds

In her artist statement Louise explains her exhibition pieces:

This body of work explores the affair between nature and society. Are they symbiotic or opposing forces and which is the strongest? Societal fairness in return for great expectations, versus nature’s flippant yet mystifyingly complex system.

In particular how these phenomena affect relationships and the force of procreation… Discarded mattresses provide the backbone of the works for their inbuilt personal history, both corporeal and spiritual, to create a wonderland of human experience.”

Louise Riley's Dewleyweds

Dewleyweds, stitched onto a double mattress, was borne from a search for natural comparisons to the social construct of marriage – snails shoot calcium spears into each other while mating to ensure coital monogamy, and Louise felt this reflected the societal limitations imposed on traditional matrimonial partnerships.

Louise Riley's Mother of Pearl

Mother of Pearl seeks to illustrate the pressures of motherhood and the instinctual maternal needs to nurture and protect in the face of overwhelming and often conflicting information and advice on parenthood. A mother is wrapped around her baby – the pearl – in a cocoon of warm safety. It’s a really beautiful piece.

Louise Riley's Mother of Pearl

Louise is one of those artists whose work has an immediate effect on me. Her use of thread is akin to oil painting; the c0lours mix and work together to create form and yet she manages to maintain the sense of intimacy in the works. The use of mattresses contextualises the work and you are invited into these private moments of human experience.

Louise Riley Embroidery

These works are fantastic, and it’s great to be able to see them exhibited – you get the true sense of scale and it makes you realise that these are labours of love. I just think they’re fantastic.

Louise Riley Embroidery

You can find out more about Louise at her website, and Beware of Embroidery is on until 27th February at the PM Gallery in Ealing.

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