Saturday, November 8, 2014

Anna Torma

I spent the afternoon at the St. Francis Xavier University art gallery in a workshop with Anna Torma.  The gallery is currently showing some of her recent work. The free (!) workshop was organized by the All-of-Us Society for Arts Presentation with a grant from the province of Nova Scotia.

Anna embroiders on multiple layers of silk and used the transparency of the silk to great advantage. Sometimes she puts coloured fabric behind the front layer so that the embroidered images appear 'painted'. At other times she uses actual paint and dye on the surface of the fabric and embroiders over the spots of colour. She also uses her needle and thread to draw in black on white.

She was a generous instructor. After a lecture on her inspirations she passed out kits which included two pieces of luscious silk fabric, a hank of hand-dyed silk thread, a needle and a piece of tracing paper which she had previously used to create one of her own pieces. We were encouraged to used the supplied 'pattern' or develop one of our own. After tracing images onto fabric we used coloured fabric to highlight some areas. Then we stitched. This was my first experience with hand-stitching. To some extent, that put me at an advatnage. Anna does not follow some of the common protocols for starting and stopping the line of thread. I was able to do as she suggested while other people found themselves falling back into their old habits.

I brought and used images which will allow me to tell a story that resonates in my household. I got the first part stitched and had enough fun that I will return and finish the small project - after Christmas presents are under control.

Anna Torma and Kate Madeloso

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