Fabric & Mixed media artist Anja Kooistra creates expressive sculptures from different fabrics incorporating clay and natural materials. Her unique pieces are perfect for indoors or garden.
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STUDIO 24 > Details
S 10445 Sideroad 17, Sunderland
Uxbridge Studio Tour
I often focus on the female form for its limitless variety, with each having a personality and ethereal life force of its own.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Born and raised in The Netherlands, Anja Kooistra grew up in a creative family. She learned a lot from her grandmothers as she watched how they knotted, knitted and crocheted. One of them made miniature purses out of beads.
Anja's mother was a wonderful seamstress who taught her how to work with needle and thread and the sewing machine. From her father, she learned patience as she watched him hold a steady hand when he painted houses in his spare time. He was also an expert in seaming wallpaper with complicated designs. All of my family members instilled in her pride in a job well done.
Just before Anja immigrated to Canada, she happened upon a craft show in Holland. There she saw a demonstration of someone doing “fabric art” and I experienced an “aha” moment. She hadn't seen anything like it and thought it was so different and unique.
In July of 2000, Anja, her husband and Jack Russell started a new life in Uxbridge, where she soon discovered a vibrant arts community. Sculpting is now her passion, and through training and exploration, she has elevated this medium to new levels.
Anja found a unusual way of working with recycling materials she finds in and around her gardens such as birds nest and sheep ‘hair’, plus other materials like natural fibers, vintage lace and doilies, which she then use in her work to give lasting life for many years to come.
"I often focus on the female form for its limitless variety, with each having a personality and ethereal life force of its own". Another favourite of Anja is animals. Fostering the love of animals that began in her childhood, she has a particular fondness for birds, which play an important role in her spiritual life and her sculptures.
Working with various fabrics and other natural materials presents unique challenges and possibilities – and it has given Anja an unusual freedom in creating sculpture and art. The medium she uses to sculpt her large and small figurines is a non-toxic, environmentally friendly fabric hardener.
Many of her pieces are on display in private homes and gardens around the world, in Canada, the United States, Europe and South America. She attends several art and garden shows throughout the year. For the past two years, Anja has been invited to bring one of her life-size pieces to the Canada Blooms garden show in Toronto.
Now settled in rural Sunderland, Ontario, Anja joined the Uxbridge Studio Tour in 2014 as guest artist and was accepted as a site artist in 2016. "My studio is my 'happy place'. It is where I escape the stresses of daily life to wind down and get my creative juices flowing". This special spot provides the perfect backdrop for her creative spirit.
Anja also facilitates workshops in her studio so that others can experience the artistic magic that keeps her engaged. "Teaching workshops really charges me, as I offer many different one-day and half-day courses, from bare bones beginner to more advanced techniques".