Tilleke Schwarz interview: Art is in my genes
Textile artist Tilleke Schwarz was born in 1946 in the Netherlands and developed her craft at the Academy for Arts and Industry, Enschede and the Free Academy for Modern Art, The Hague. Until 2004, her career as an artist was combined with working for the Dutch National Government.
She is a member of several respected textile groups including the Schilderkundig Genootschap Pulchri Studio, the Rijswijkse kunstenaarsvereniging Arti Shock, the European Textile Network, Surface Design Association and the 62 group of professional textile artists.
Her work combines the use of mixed media with a clear focus on embroidery on linen, as well as drawings and paintings. She sites her Jewish heritage as one of her major influences, which is one of the areas she explores in this fascinating interview.
TextileArtist.org: What initially captured your imagination about textile art?
Tilleke Schwarz: Textiles: Like the feel and looks. Art: It is inherited and in my genes.
What or who were your early influences and how has your life/upbringing influenced your work ?
The first American Pop Art exhibitions, graffiti, traditional samplers, and some Dutch artists of the FLUXUS movement.
What was your route to becoming an artist? (Formal training or another pathway?)
Learned to stitch from my mother, had art training in mixed media on paper and slowly developed my stitching.
What is your chosen medium and what are your techniques?
Hand embroidery on linen.
How would you describe your work and where do you think it fits within the sphere of contemporary art?
That is up to art critics. I have tried to describe a bit in my book New Potatoes, March 2012 (can be ordered by writing an email to email@example.com).
Tell us a bit about your process and what environment you like to work in?
I work anywhere and just need a comfortable chair to stitch.
What currently inspires you and which other textile artists do you admire and why?
Daily life, cats, samplers etc. Do not exactly know why, but I assume that I see the oddities of many things and enjoy to expose that (out of context).
How has your work developed since you began and how do you see it evolving in the future?
My work has slowly developed from more traditional to contemporary. No idea how it will develop in the future.
Do you give talks or run workshops or classes? If so where can readers find information about these?
Yes! It is mostly on my website www.tillekeschwarz.com and people who are interested to invite me can just write an email.
How do you go about choosing where to show your work?
Usually I get invited and as long as the venue and the context does right to my work I am inclined to accept. All depends on the costs too, of course.
Where can readers see your work this year?
Several group shows all over Europe, please check my website. In the autumn of 2013 a solo exhibition at the Knitting and Stitching show in London, Dublin and Harrogate. There is also a lot to see at my website and in my new book.
For further information on textile artist Tilleke Schwarz visit: www.tillekeschwarz.com
Let us know if you’ve enjoyed this article by leaving a comment below