Anne-Marie Nygaard Eilertsen
I am autodidact as a tapestry weaver and have been weaving tapestries since 1977.
Since childhood I have loved working with yarn. At the beginning mostly knitting and crocheting. But I have been around many different techniques concerning yarn - from hand spinning (all sorts of fibers -dog- and human hair, yak, linen, camel, silk, hemp, cotton etc.) to tatting, macramé, sprang, old-style lacemaking. I have always been fascinated by the fact that one thin thread can become into something solid - and even a picture. In my childhood home, there was a lot of picture-making. I think that combination of interests might just have hit me. I love the process of turning yarn into pictures. It is a very delicate, sensual process.
I want my work to be beautiful, but a bit scary or at least serious, too. The pictures must not leave the viewer untouched. Often people have a hard time coping with that - but I think it is important to be brave in your life: too see what there is to see. Even if it is terrifying. Closing your eyes to the truth comes at a big price.
It is also important to me that you can keep on finding new aspects in my pictures. Keep on looking - some things, stories and symbols are hidden very well. In fact, I do not decide on a theme - the themes attack me! At least this is how it feels. I have been through many themes: in the beginning surrealism with focus on human interaction. Then a long period of naturalism, where I focused on the balance between nature and culture. Fascination of the human body, all its layers and secrets took over. For some strange reason, I then got totally hooked on sumo-wrestlers´ bodies and dance - their bodies being contrasts in so many ways. For this theme, I invented "calligraphy of movement", a way to catch the elegance and lightness (yes, even though they weigh 200 kilo!) of the wrestlers. I then had a period, where I described the dance of the corrida. This was followed by "El lobo interior", the inner wolf, where I began to close-in on fragile matters, going on inside of my head and body.
In the series "Bonfires of Internal Affairs" I am taking the step in full: I am addressing and revealing some of the most private matters of my life. I am using the wolf a lot as a symbol because of its positive, strong and clean significance.These last 2 themes are not random, they are the expressions of a very conscious choice. Be brave - or at least try to be brave.
Nowadays the preliminary part of the work goes on only in my head. There are a huge number of symbols, words, stories, discussions, layers in my pictures. I find a form in my mind - of expressing this during the start-up of a new tapestry. Then I am sketching, studying all the elements of which the picture will consist. Afterwards - or meanwhile - I am doing a large sketch, one part of the picture at a time. The course of the lines in the picture is very important to me - it has to flow, infinitely. It involves a lot of gazing, thinking, evaluating and re-doing.
When things seem to fall in place, I copy this sketch into the "cartoon". I color-code this cartoon and put it behind the warp of the loom. The colors are all in my head. Before weaving, I blend the colors of yarn into "butterflies", to be able to get the right hue, the exact world of colors that I want. The butterflies are compositions of different yarns - from about 6 till 20, amongst which for instance sowing thread. The yarns are very thin and this way to make a composition with several colors makes it possible for me to work with sliding transitions of colors. From soft-soft till hard contrasts. Colors vibrating!
Working with the idea, the pre-sketches, completing the sketches and making the "cartoon" takes from a couple of months to half a year. The size that I am currently weaving (1,6 m x 1,2 m) takes about half a year to finish. Of course, it also depends on how complicated the tapestry is. But it is a pretty long process. It is indeed a form of slow art. What makes it even harder is that I am only able to see about 40 cm of the tapestry at the time. During the last years I have actively chosen not to make many exhibitions. Knowing that I am going to exhibit my works means, that I automatically am censoring myself in my way of expression. And I do not want that. To me making pictures is a very intimate, fragile process. The years of no exhibitions/ promotion have meant very much to me and my process, honesty and integrity.