How did you get started doing what you do?
I made wardrobes for my dolls when I was a child, and also created paper dolls: I could draw the body but the head exceeded my skills- needed to find a nice face with fabulous hairdo in the magazines, cut out and glue the whole things together. I often remember this time when I do my work.
How would you describe your creative style?
My works are textile objects, made with traditional hand embroidery and sewing, in close relationships with drawing and collage. I want to preserve the fluidity and freshness of the drawing which are the foundation of my work. In my soft collages I work with found pieces and household items to get the narratives more adequate and interesting.
What’s your inspiration?
The natural world: botany, every form of garden, human habitat with cultural aspects.
What is art to you?
Outsiders, untaught, raw vision artists as well as big masters. My interest is shifting with the project what I am involved in.
What does your typical day look like?
I wish I could work less; I wish my typical workday would be similar to those 9-5 people. I lengthen the day, wake up early or go to sleep late, my time is never enough. I need to make an extra effort to put activities other than work into my days. As an outside exercise, I tend a garden, growing food and flowers, enjoy my family, travel to see exciting shows in museums around the world.
How long does it typically take for you to finish a piece?
I work on a large scale, typical size of work often exceed 63″×53”. Hand embroidery is a slow process, execution time often requires several months.
How do you keep motivated?
The working process itself gives new idea all the time, one work comes out from the previous one. I like to work on a series, several pieces in a same time in close connections with each other. Lately I visualize my works as installation pieces hanging in the middle of the space, visible from all sides.
How would you say your surroundings have influenced your work?
I enjoy seeing naive people draw, paint and make handwork close to me. In a small village, where I was born, many relatives used to make embroidery, crochet or knitting out of necessity and try to make everyday objects beautiful.
I was lucky to see my talented kids using the pencil and brush from their early years, I worked with mentally handicapped artists, went to see people isolated by extreme weather, their approach to creativity refreshed me greatly.
What do you hope to accomplish with your work?
I want to offer new visual experience every time when they look at the same piece, discovering new connections between the colour, lines textures and layers of the work.
How have others reacted to your work?
They say they are happier than they were before
What do you want others to take away from your work?
Art practice can manifest in many forms, like embroidery or other overlooked or forgotten human activity.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
Work without interruption and be able to make at least one exhibition a year.
Any words of wisdom to aspiring artists who want to pursue a similar career?
Art making is serious, could be seen as glamorous from outside, but artists need to be hard workers with huge endurance against failure, good ability to start again and again.
What are your thoughts on art school?
Can be inspiring with good professors and fellow students. My impression is that art schools are preparing art teachers, not professional practicing artists.
Have any future aspirations that you’d like to share?
I would like to make an art book, illustrations, more exhibitions, but mostly work quietly every day.
What’s your dream project?
Curating family group show
What art supplies do you use?
I use Chinese pongee, duppioni and organza silk base for my latest works, embroidering them with hand dyed silk threads.
Check out Anna Torma’s website here.