She has custom made art by appointment for the Royal Family of Norway and spent years of her life in the metropolis San Fransisco and Rio de Janeiro. But no matter how many miles from home, textile artist Benita Tornholm always long back to what inspires her the most - the Norwegian nature.
With a sewing machine, colourful fabrics and creative stitching Tornholm creates what she describes as “textile paintings”. The motives are her impressions of the Norwegian nature and architecture - always with a humorous and naive undertone with an aim to make people smile.
“My wish is that my pictures get people in a good mood. I wish for my work to be a contrast to all the sad and painful things happening in the world,” says Tornholm.
Art in the blood Creativity is in Tornholm's blood and her career started already when she as a little girl got a sewing machine and started to make her own clothes. “My mother, Thornhild Augersen, is a landscape oil painter, and her father did the same. I choose to express myself in a different manner, with textile, a scissor and a sewing machine,” she says.
Tornholm is educated as a teacher, but after working for 13 years in the school system, she choose to take a leap and focus on her lifelong passions: textile and art full time. “I haven’t regretted that decision for a second,” she says.
Tornholms pictures are created with a blend of textiles, paint and stitches.
“Through 30 years, I have developed a personal technique.
That technique is what leaves a unique mark on my work,” she explains.
Tornholms favourite motif is the Norwegian coastline with its old, white houses and many
lighthouses. “I love the lighthouses along the Norwegian coastline and have an aim to sew them all.
I have upon till now sown about 30 of them.”
The artist gets inspiration everywhere from the mountain to the sea, and capture what she sees with her camera.
“I take photos of houses with interesting windows, doors and wrought iron details.
Through a transformation process in my head, what I see comes to live in my textile paintings.”
With a steady hand and creative mind Tornholm recreates everything from fences and windows to
flowers, flags, waves and trees. Instead of using people as motives, she gives the houses an almost
humanlike personality. “I sew small houses that lean onto each other and that tell each other that
life is good.”
Tornholm rarely makes sketches, her pictures evolve as she works. “I always start with the sky,
which I paint with a brush and textile paint, and then I mix it together with the textile. It is an exciting process, I never know how it evolves,”
Tornholms pictures have earned awards and over the years she has participated in hundreds of exhibitions in Norway as well as Denmark and Germany.
Her art technique is so unique some people even mistake them for beeing made on a computer at first glance. " I normally carry the sewing machine with me whenever I am invited to an exhibition because people are curious to see how the pictures come to life"
This summer Benita Tornholm's work can be seen at various galleries throughout Norway, and a selection of Benitas Pictures are always on display in Galleri Kunstverftet in Stavern.
Facebook : benitas Bilder
Instagram : @benitatornholm
Galleri Kunstverftet in Stavern
Staubø Kultursenter 23-26 july
Glesvær Café - Sotra (July and august)
Dyrsku'n i Seljord 11-13 september