2008 Anna Torma

Portrait of Anna Torma, Strathbutler 2008 (photo - James Wilson)

Portrait of Anna Torma, Strathbutler 2008 (photo – James Wilson)


Fibre artist, Anna Torma won the Strathbutler in 2008. She was born in Tarnaors, Hungary in 1952 and immigrated to Canada in 1988. Her interest in working with textiles goes back to early childhood. Graduating with a degree in Textile Art and Design from the Hungarian University of Applied Arts, Budapest in 1979 Anna has been a practicing, exhibiting artist ever since.

Large scale hand embroidered wall hangings are her main body of work. Anna translates contemporary content through traditional hand embroidery. Each piece is rooted in this heritage but equally relate to other visual art mediums like painting and drawing. The layering of textile fragments, found fabrics and clothing found in her work represent the layers of daily life. Anna’s work has been profiled in numerous publications as well as exhibited throughout Canada, the United States, England, Hungary, France, Germany and the Netherlands.

In 2005, Anna received a UNESCO Aschberg Bursary to attend a two months residence at Cooperations in Wiltz, Luxembourg to complete her embroidery project with local, mentally handicapped artists. In 2007, she spent four months in Paris, France as a recipient of the Canada Council’s Paris Studios Grant. In 2008 she exhibited at the Owens Art Gallery, Textile Museum of Canada, Workshop Hanover and Tapisserie et Arts du Tissu.

In the artist’s words

I am a devotee to genuine hand crafted work. I produce images and narrative elements that relate to collage and sketching while retaining the sensations and implied touch of fibre art.

My recent work is influenced by visionary art, children’s drawings and contemporary art.

Their expressive directness and ability to communicate an emotion to a wide range of viewers is an important aspect of my choices. I move between figuration and abstraction, between the decorative and the literal in texts, images and narratives of my digital prints on fabric and hand-stitched wall hangings. My work also deals with the possible variations of male – female characteristics and the connections they have with each other. Through my collection of writings, texts from different sources such as friends and family members, from the diverse cultural scene of my home: Baie Verte, New Brunswick or from my well-remembered early experiences from my Hungarian traditions I create my new work.

I translate the contemporary content through traditional hand embroidery. Working in a large scale, I compose hangings, which are rooted in this heritage, but are equally related to other visual art mediums like painting and drawing. I have elaborated on my previous works with digital prints on fabrics, with the use of strong colors, coarse threads and large stitches. In some cases I make a patchwork underlay from old textile fragments, found fabrics and clothing. Layering, constructing and fabricating I create a visually exciting base for my embroideries and often finish the work like a traditional Kantha quilt (a rural Indian embroidered hanging) filling the background with tacking ­stitching to produce a consistent and even surface.

Occasionally I like to exhibit my textiles as installation pieces, make them visible from back and front, organizing a possible interaction with public, asking them to collaborate with their stitching, drawings and texts.