Born and raised in The Netherlands, Anja Kooistra has an innate connection with nature and a love of art nurtured by her father, who loved to paint; her mother, who taught her to sew; and her grandmothers, who knotted, knitted and crocheted beaded purses. Anja’s hunger for creativity continued after she immigrated to Canada in 2000. She was already familiar with fabric sculpting and admired the simplicity and power inherent in the art form.
Fabric + Sculpting + Nature = Passion
Inspired by a course she took from one of the leading fabric sculpture experts in Ontario, Anja went on to sculpt a series of female garden figures from old T-shirts and fabric hardener. Each figurine has a unique personality that invigorates her surroundings with an ethereal life force, transforming her environment’s aura, as well as physical landscape. Throughout this period of awakening, Anja dreamed of one day having her own studio in the country where she could teach and create garden figurines.
Passion + Innovation + Caring = Environmentally Friendly Art
Anja has a unusual way of working with recycled materials she finds in her field and gardens such as rocks, wood, bird nests and sheep hair, and around the house in the form of vintage lace and her grandma’s old doilies. Taking her connection with nature even further, Anja works with a fabric hardener (Powertex) that is non toxic and environment friendly. Working with a variety of fabrics and natural materials brings with it unbridled creative opportunities. By incorporating these items into her sculptures, she creates beautiful works of art and lasting memories. Her work reflects a deep connection with nature, and in particular with birds, which often show up in her pieces. From small to life size, Anja’s garden spirits are exquisite works of art.
Art + Sharing + Fun = Success
Anja’s dream is now a reality! At Rolling Hills Studio, she revels in the midst of nature to sculpt stunning fabric figurines and teach workshops so that others can experience the artistic magic that keeps her engaged. Anja’s passion is contagious when she hosts workshops for everyone from beginners to experienced fabric sculptors. Testimonials continue to roll in, citing praise such as: “Thanks so much for the Best class I have ever taken,” “The day was beyond our wildest expectations,” and “You are a gracious host and a wonderful teacher.” Anja’s own work is now on display in private homes around the world, in Canada, the United States, Europe and South America.
‘Fairy with an Attitude’ is the Ontario Writers Conference Story Starter for Feb 2016
Anja Kooistra’s work was featured as the inspiration for the 2016 Ontario Writers’ Conference February “Story Starters” competition. Her fairy sculpture spurred competitors to write a short piece (100 words maximum) exploring how she captures their imagination.