Louise Riley Embroiders Mattresses with Portraits, Changing Narratives

by Andy SmithPosted on


Louise Riley, an artist based in the London, began sewing because frankly, she was “too fast at painting.” She found that embroidery, in particular, gave her a chance to really immerse herself and understand what she was creating. And then one day, she tried a new experiment, using a mattress as her canvas.



“I began to sew people on found mattresses to give a corporeal and spiritual sense of their history and tried to put them in emotive situations to capture one moment of their lives in an almost, albeit abstract, diagrammatic way,” the artist says, in a statement. “As time would go by and I began travelling overseas for shows, dismantling sculptures for ease of travel, it was frustrating because they would get damaged and limited. I realised I could use this to my advantage and that they could become new sculptures, based on their new weaknesses and strengths.”


The results are portraits that give an intimate, vulnerable, and absorbing life to otherwise overlooked objects. Each of these works seem to carry a story, one that through time, changes and acquires new stains and trauma.

Comments are closed.