The Soft & Subtle Art of Mary Little

New works on display March 19 through May 1 by appointment at Estudio Persona.

Mary Little, Whitechurch from her Moss series 2019

Mary Little, Donagadee from her Inch series 2018

Mary Little, Islandmagee -triptych from her Inch series 2018

Mary Little, Turney from her Inch series 2018

Mary Little, O’Halloran from her Ennis series 2016

Artist Mary Little. Photography by Sydney Brown

Born in Northern Ireland, Mary Little brings the lush, rolling hills and soft, rocky formations of her native homeland to her Los Angeles studio. 

Formally trained at London’s Royal College of Art in Furniture Design, Little’s work balances a designers sensibility with an artists touch. Her work is comprised of unbleached artist canvas cut, sewn and molded with a delicacy that is reminiscent of the childhood sweaters her mother used to knit in Ireland. 

These works exist outside the normal confines of minimalism with a playful, introspective, spiritual discourse. What transpires is an alluring, emotional landscape that allows light and shadows to dance across the fabric always changing as the sun rises and sets. (traverses across the sky) The subtle, soft quietness of Little’s work allows the viewer to experience a compelling and meditative personal narrative written in cloth. 


March 19 – May 1

Estudio Persona

665 N Berendo St, Los Angeles, CA 90004
[email protected]

I studied furniture design at undergraduate level at art school in Belfast and in London at post graduate level. I then worked in Milan in various design studios. Back in London, and with my own studio, I made one of a kind furniture; sculpture really. From exhibiting in London galleries, I was discovered by American collectors – and their interest brought me to the US. I continued to practice as a furniture designer until I moved to Los Angeles six years ago. Once here I knew I wanted a new direction, but one that kept the core of what I had been doing with my design work.

I create reliefs in neutral color that cause patterns in shadow and light which change slowly as the day passes. With my artwork I am still using the disciplined thinking and aesthetic as in my design, though now I've made the choice to use just one color, so that the forms dominate. My aim is that the work engages emotionally, just as it did with the furniture. It's important to me that the work has that kind of presence.

I make the work myself in my studio. Having practiced as an artist for 5 years, I can see my interests change incrementally, with new work building on earlier work. Whatever ideas I experimented with before I'm going deeper now, with a clearer sense of what I'm looking for. Though don't ask me to express this in words—my medium is cloth.
I develop paper patterns on a 2-D drawing program, cut the patterns out in canvas and then sew them together using a 30-year old Bernina sewing machine. It's a very slow very meditative process.

In essence I'm inspired by natural landscape. I have a love for the low hills, soft land formations and well-worn boulders in the Irish landscape where I was raised by my extended family of farmers. This formed my sensibility. And I'm also inspired by the simple cloth I've chosen to use; the handle of canvas, its matte finish and the ivory color of unbleached cotton.

Other Posts We Think You Might Like

Inspiration + Ideas The Impeccable Style of Dorothy Draper

As our Designers We Love column proves, we absolutely love learning what today’s leading professionals have to say about kitchen and bath design. But what about some of the leading designers of yesterday, what were their thoughts on kitchen and bath design?

View Post
Brand Spotlight The Latest from Miele

Founded on the promise of “immer besser” (“forever better” in English), German appliance company Miele has remained one of the most coveted brands across the globe for 115 years. The family-owned firm’s range includes everything from vacuums and dishwashers to cooktops, refrigerators and coffee systems—all of which exemplify the luxury, minimalist styling for which the brand is known...

View Post
Brand Spotlight Fabulous Faucets from KWC

Meet Zoe, one of the latest additions to Swiss firm KWC’s illustrious lineup of faucets. Zoe, whose domain is the kitchen, embodies the venerable firm’s commitment to precision, functionality and ecology, all while exemplifying the craftsmanship for which Switzerland is known.

View Post