Leisa Rich is a modern day creative archaeologist who pulls from fine art, fiber art and fine craft techniques and uses new materials, detritus, and found objects to unearth new concepts in her works. She employs the technique of free-motion machine embroidery – a method of drawing and building texture using a sewing machine and thread – and hand embroidery, sewing, dyeing, casting resin and more to form her dimensional 2D, sculptural and installation works. She continuously explores new materials in unusual ways and builds her repertoire of innovative approaches by using old things in new ways. Recent works incorporate 3D printing.
Extreme medical challenges, growing up in rural Canada, and a love for the tactile inspires her passion for creating art works and environments that focus on biological systems and that often create a Utopian “nature” in which to escape the demands of the frenetic life led today. Her work also often invites human interaction through the use of tactile materials and processes. Observations about social, philosophical, psychological, and other challenges humans face inform her work and sometimes lead in a direction that challenges the viewer to confront uncomfortable issues and speaks to personal or universal struggle.
Rich holds Master of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Education in Art degrees, has been featured on PBS, is in several books — most recently Textile Art Around the World, Mastering the Art of Embroidery, The Best of America Sculpture and Noplaceness: Art in a Post-Urban Landscape, in magazines and blogs, and on radio and televised programs. Rich exhibits internationally, and has won prestigious awards. She teaches in colleges, arts centers, educational institutions, at her studio, and also travels to teach. She writes about art for national and local art publications and has just finished writing and illustrating her first children’s book, constructed of 26 dioramas that she hand created. In addition, Rich curates exhibitions, most recently Invisible: VisAble, an exhibition featuring the informed art works of artists dealing with invisible medical and mental challenges.
Other experience includes international fashion designer, set designer, a wearable art business, and art school director. Leisa installed a permanent interactive art piece in 2011 in the Dallas Museum of Art, and also has works in the permanent collections of The Kamm Foundation; The University of North Texas; The University of Texas- Pan-American and in private collections. She is past state representative and current member in the Surface Design Association, past board member of SEFAA- South East Fiber Art Alliance, and a member of Sculpture, TAFA, and the American Craft Council.