Bozena Wojtaszek: Featured Artist
Home: Lodz, Poland
If you want to see textile art, spend some time looking through Bozena’s blog posts. She is skilled at making the ordinary exquisite. She has a passion for textiles in all their colors and textures. She adds to this a fearless design style. I’m pleased she took time to answer some questions.
What were your first memories of doing art or having an interest in art?
I really have to go back in time to answer this question! When I think about it now, the first thing that I made that had a trace of art in it, must have been collages. I was a little girl then, in primary school maybe. I can recall finding all kinds of materials that fitted together, photos, scraps from magazines, anything, and putting it all together on a board which hung over my desk. Nobody called it art back then, but now I understand that the feeling I had while making it was the same I have when I sew now. I mean, patchwork is somehow similar to collage. You create something that looks great from pieces that somebody wouldn’t think could go together.
You do such a good job of making things go together. I noticed that you used a lot of everyday themes: trees, chickens, kitchens. What kinds of things spark your inspiration?
What kinds of things don’t spark my inspiration! I get inspired by so many different kinds of things it is hard to tell. But the reason for this is that I keep my eyes wide open. The beginning of my creative process is often in the kitchen. I see many ‘kitchen landscapes’ in there, created by real vegetables and I try to translate them to textiles later (I have a whole series of this title). And just as easy, I get hit by the beauty of my window view. Or sometimes I am inspired by medieval illuminated manuscript, botanical illustrations, or… you can name anything; the key is to look at it the right way.
I love the way you make trees, using different forms and seasons. Some artists take classes, some have mentors, while others are self-taught. In what ways did you learn your present skills?
I’m definitely self-taught. I’ve never been in any art school, never finished any course. My grandma taught me basic skills in all handcraft techniques. The rest I drew from books, magazines and trying. I started mixing different techniques when I felt urged to do it and I developed my own style of creative process.
Would you be willing to share your creative process?
I would like to share a bit about the process of creating “Spring birds.” Probably because I had so much fun sewing it. When the idea came to my head, I just couldn’t stop until I made it real.
And I like how linen greys in the background go well with little brightly colored silk birds.
There are also elements like pieces of checked textile which is not a pattern you would think of for this design, but it turns out the final effect is simple and fresh.
I also like the shape of trees – they are just simple dark lines, yet they give quite the impression of where the birds are. I just really like it.
I, too, like all the work you do with trees. They become so much more than simple dark lines in your hands. If you had unlimited funds, what kind of work space would you have, where, and on what would you focus?
A big window! A giant window is the only thing I need. The place must be bright; I need a lot of natural light. Then, I would love a spectacular view, but it doesn’t matter what is outside. As long as it has a lovely view, I don’t mind where my work space is. And I don’t need anything apart from that. There doesn’t have to be much space. Just a sewing machine, materials and a few books is enough for me to create. I don’t need a computer in my work space. In fact, I would rather there was no computer, so I could fully concentrate on art and leave the business behind.
What experience stayed with you relating to some piece of art that someone admired?
Certainly one of the greatest experiences I’ve had concerns my artwork “Poet in the kitchen.” I created it after reading “Recipe for the cabbage,” a poem by Dorota Kiersztejn Pakulska. I put a lot of heart into catching the poet’s story in my work. It was more than satisfying to hear how the poet herself admired the result. Then later I was contacted by her daughter who decided to buy it and offer as a gift to her mother. Although, I hadn’t planned to sell it, I was more than happy to do this, because I believed that the poet was the right person to have it. Whenever I get so much appreciation, it is always a very positive experience. I always preferred my works to be recognized rather than myself as a person. This is the nicest thing.
I think your work is delicate and powerful, common and extraordinary all at the same time. Thank you for sharing your art work with us and being this month’s featured artist.
*Two thumbs up for Bozena’s blog being written in English and Polish.