Erin M Riley’s Selfie Weavings
What are your thoughts on selfies?
They are so fascinating! Life is so connected and yet humans are living their lives untouched. We have the urge to reiterate to the world that we exist and I find that charming and curious.
Do you take a lot of them?
Not really. Maybe?
What made you make a series of selfie weavings?
I had been working with found images of other women and I had wanted to embed my body/real experiences/images into those works.
Do you think technology has benefited female sexuality?
I think it has. I discovered porn, sex toys, forums to connect with other LGBT people, I was writing erotica and figuring out how to handle rejection, reject lovers and express wants and needs through chat rooms. I think it’s been good to have safe spaces for girls and women to experience and share their experiences with others. You also see the dark sides of people quite fast, and it lets you grow up a bit to the realities of being a woman, which are both positive and negative.
How long have you been weaving for?
How long do they take you to make?
They take anywhere from two weeks to a month. I work all day.
Do you sketch up drawings first or just launch in?
I work from sketches of blown up photographs or drawings. The scale is determined by the loom I plan to weave on.
You went to art school thinking you’d be a painter, what made you change to weaving?
I discovered the fibers major after wrestling with fashion or painting as a major. I learned weaving and was instantly interested and intrigued. It allowed me to be process oriented and still work with representational narrative.
What’s the best or most interesting reaction you’ve had to your work?
I had a woman come up to me after doing a lecture about my work, and she was clearly offended and angry. I saw the look in her eyes so I knew what I was up against. We talked about slut shaming, victim blaming, feeling comfortable in your sexuality and how society treats girls. After a few minutes she wasn’t so upset and started to understand where I was coming from, and that was the best interaction I’ve had.
What does your family think of your pieces?
My family is supportive; they mostly see my work online and they are always curious to hear what it is about.
There’s a raw honesty to them, what are you looking to capture with your work?
I am trying to recontextualise moments that are personal or confusing where the subject is being vulnerable and reviewing a side of themselves that people don’t normally see. By weaving them I hope to slow down the viewer to appreciate the image in a way that they don’t normally do when seeing them online.
You’ve made some revealing tapestries of yourself, was it hard to put yourself out there?
I didn’t find it that hard. I am trying to be sex positive and body positive with my work so it doesn’t feel that revealing in the end.
Do you think you’ll ever move to another medium?
I don’t think I’ll move far from weaving. If I go into a mixed media direction it would likely include weaving.
What do you search for the most on the internet?
I search “drunk driver accident” a lot, overdoses – I’ve been obsessed with weaving STI testing setups, but these are things you can’t really find online. I have to remember next time I get my checkup to photograph the HIV and STI testing setup.
What do you want to achieve this year?
I am working on more large pieces, trying to establish details in those similar to the ones I’m working on that are smaller. I’m slowing myself down to accept that work might take two to three months to complete rather than trying to fit a piece into a month.