Anja Kooistra is a Dutch sculptor living in Sunderland, Ontario. She immigrated to Canada from The Netherlands in 2000. Ajna creates one-of-a-kind sculptures (usually fairies) by transforming vintage mannequins into extraordinary art pieces for homes, gardens and cottages. Every work of art has its own unique design crafted from recycled fabrics, doilies, laces, jewelry … anything she can find to repurpose.
With an innate connection with nature and a love of art nurtured by Anja's father, who loved to paint; her mother, who taught her to sew; and her grandmothers, who knotted, knitted and crocheted beaded purses.
Fabric + Sculpting + Nature = Passion
You can tell by the models’ poses that Anja has a love of films and musicals, and is always in search of materials that will help her create whimsy. She uses a non-toxic, environmentally friendly hardener that works slowly to result in a finish that withstands the elements. Each of her fairies is truly a work of art, designed to bring joy to your home and garden. The sculptures can remain outside for most of the year.
Already familiar with fabric sculpting, Anja brought a mind full of ideas with her when she immigrated and has become well known in the Canadian (garden) art market. In 2011, she opened her studio in the countryside of Sunderland, Ontario, one hour north of Toronto. While she is continually developing her skills as a sculptor.
One day in 2015, she was standing in front of a fashion store window looking at the poses of the models and experienced an “AHA” moment. She looked for her authentic signature style to emerge naturally, and the idea was born to use vintage mannequins as the base for her garden sculptures … her life-size fairies.
Passion + Innovation + Caring = Environmentally Friendly Art
Fairy tales have resonated in human imagination since the beginning of time, and people have a penchant for stories that take us to another world. According to Anja, “I notice adults are fantasy starved, so I’m helping them with modern adaptations to these age-old fantasies. I am using the slogan The Fabric of Fantasy.”
Anja’s sculptures showcase the fantastic world that lives just at the edge of our vision. Her work lifts the veil between our world and the one in which her imagination thrives. With a preference for the female form, she creates unique, opulent sculptures with distinct personalities. She also has a love and deep respect for nature and wildlife, especially birds. She creates life-size birds with comical appearances.
Anja’s pieces have won many awards and have been featured in newspapers, magazines and online. In addition, her work has been displayed in several Studio Tours, Art Exhibits, Juried Art Shows and Art Galleries. She also does commission work for private art collections, often her life-size fairies for gardens and cottages. Many of these fairies have been part of Canada Blooms, North America’s largest home and garden show, which occurs every March in Toronto.