Leisa Rich draws from art and fiber art techniques and uses an array of new materials, detritus, mixed-media and machine stitching - called "free motion" - to form her sculptures, 2D works, items for body and home, and in her massive installations.
Illnesses have been the motivators in her life-long passion for all things fiber, and the human impact on nature the catalyst for subject matter. As a baby, Leisa had a satin-trimmed blanket; the only way she could fall asleep was by working her fingers from one end to the other. At age four, while in the hospital for deafness, her mother made clothes for her Barbie. One particular dress, made of a fiery red satin and lace, provoked her tactile infatuation. At age 15, while attending Interlochen Arts Academy for piano and dance, Leisa developed thyroid complications from Mononeucleosis, causing weight gain and getting kicked out of the dance department until she lost the weight. A friend suggested she take weaving (“an easy “A”, man!”) Leisa LOVED it and switched her major to art. 36 years later she is still hooked and has done almost every form of fiber art and art imaginable!
Growing up in Canada surrounded by lovely, wide-open spaces--the land mass of Canada exceeds the United States’, yet it has less population than the state of California--with its fabulous lakes, mountains and a very low human population, I feel most at peace in the natural world. I spent my childhood communing with nature; ice-skating outdoors on natural creeks and days spent alone sifting the sand on the beach of Lake Huron in quest of a perfect fossil or wandering the massive lake ice caverns in winter. In recent work I made humans disappear due to their never-ending quest to conquer and consume, resulting in a Post-Apocalyptic Reclamation state whereby the organic matter left unchecked morphs with the detritus left behind by humans. My Neo-Surrealist art quilts, massive installations and sculptures, fantastical gardens and morphed trash creatures create a wonderful world… without us. Current work is viewer interactive; multiple pieces can be pulled off and placed on by viewers, giving them the satisfaction of entering my world and altering it to create a new story of their own; we create together! I have also been working with a lot with new and recycled plastics, and am always experimenting!
I hold Master of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Education in Art degrees. I've been featured on the PBS artist special "In Context", in the books " Mastering the Art of Embroidery" “NOPLACENESS- Art in the Post-Urban Landscape” “Studio Quilt: No. 6” “Modern Sculpture” "Hand to Hand: 195 Artists Witness the Iraq War" “The Best of America Sculpture Artists and Artisans” and “Quilt National 2009” and more, and I exhibit internationally. I've won awards such as bestowments from The Barbara L. Kuhlman Foundation and the Distinguished Juror Award from The University of Texas. I am past Board of Director of the South East Fiber Arts Alliance in Atlanta and state rep for the Surface Design Association. I teach in colleges, arts centers, educational institutions, in my studio, and I travel to teach. My previous experience includes international fashion, set design, wearable art business and art school director. I am very serious about my professional career, but I also make lots of fun, lighter "sculptures" to wear and put in your home!