Modern Tapestry: Erin M Riley

Whenever I look at a work of handwoven art, my heart sings. Seeing or touching something that has been worked so hard by hand is an amazing sensation; the intimate interaction between the weaver and his or her handwoven textile yields a product that a machine could never create.

The traditional art of weaving is rooted deep in history. In the past, woven pieces were viewed as crafts created by artisans, rather than by artists. Present-day artists such as Erin M. Riley are rapidly changing the way the world sees fiber arts and turning through the introduction of contemporary motifs and presenting their work in a fine arts setting.

Erin M Riley’s work bridges a gap between the traditional nature of tapestry weaving and the more modern imagery which she choses to depict. She focuses on contemporary themes, such as “selfies,” and other images one might take on a cellphone.

Erin M Riley, Nudes 16, 2014

Erin M Riley, Nudes 16, 2014

Erin M Riley, $20, 2013

Erin M Riley, $20, 2013

When asked about her work and the origin of her images, Erin told the Temple News, “What interests me the most about weaving images is… weaving an image that might be trash, that might be deleted off your cellphone or, these days, something that could be sent through Snapchat; taking an image that is sort-of a special moment, and recreating and taking the time to make that image real.” The concept of capturing a fleeting moment through the slow and contemplative art of weaving is highly innovative and makes Riley’s work exciting. She challenges the split-second relationship we would normally have with this type of imagery through the 40 – 80 hours (plus prep time) of intense work she puts into each piece.

Erin M Riley, Bruises, 2013

Erin M Riley, Bruises, 2013

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Her work, as well as the work of other selected TAC community members, is on exhibit at our Small Works Exhibition in the AIR Space Gallery at TAC Brooklyn (Mon-Sun 11am-5pm) from now until June 15th.

If you, like me, are fascinated by weaving, check out one of our weaving classes this summer!

Image Source: Erin M Riley

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