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Summer 2005

Anna Torma: Artist in Residence

Anna Torma, Playground 7, 2004; hand embroidery (silk thread) and reverse appliqué on linen; 33 1/2" x 33 1/2". Photo: Balint Zsako.

In our Summer 2005 issue, writer/art critic John K. Grande and artist Anna Torma discuss her complex work, in which she layers drawings and text using the process of hand embroidery. Her work is collagelike in its integration of experience and memory and materials. It’s been exhibited internationally.

As we were preparing the article, Torma was serving as an artist in residence at Cooperations (, an arts and culture organization in Wiltz, Luxembourg, under the auspices of the UNESCO-Aschberg Bursaries for Artists Programme. She was there to work with mentally disabled young adults, “drawing and making embroideries together,” she wrote in an e-mail. “I introduced them to a quiet, low-tech activity that needs attention and patience.”

In the residency, dubbed The Embroidery Project, Torma worked with a group of five young adults for two months. They drew plants and flowers first, then each prepared designs and embroidered two 20″ x 16″ panels. “Everybody worked individually on the project, with amazingly different approaches and big enthusiasm,” wrote Torma. “Then I made an assemblage from the five group members’ works. We stitched it together and ended up with an exciting 57″ x 49″ hand-embroidered wall hanging.”

While in Luxembourg, Torma learned a new approach to applying colors and patterns on linen that allows her to use threads, forms, and drawings with increased spontaneity. She will exhibit this new body of work at the Art Gallery of Hamilton in Ontario, Canada, in fall 2006.

Below are images from The Embroidery Project. The two women shown are social-work interns who participated in the project.

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Photos courtesy of the artist and Cooperations, Wiltz, Luxembourg.

This article first appeared
online in:

Summer 2005

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