Please introduce yourself. Who are you? Where did you grow up? Where do you live?
I'm Vera Totos, I'm a handweaver and textile artist. I grew up in Hungary, and have lived in the US for 17 years. I live in the East Bay near Berkeley, with my husband, two kids, cat and a dog. A lot of what I do in art is influenced by the relationships around me - some of my works start as art lessons for kids; or with an idea about a community project, school fundraiser, a wrap to make a friend battling illness feel better; table linens that take on additional meaning after being used for particularly memorable holiday, and so on. I couldn't make the same art in a vacuum; it's all about people and experiences together.
Tell us more about what you create. What style(s) do you work in, mediums, etc.
I do weaving, felting, spinning, dyeing, and whatever techniques my current project throws my way. Right now I am experimenting with 3D structures in weaving and through fabric sculptures using stiffened fabric.
How long have you been creating?
All my life! I started fiber crafts around 7 or 8, when my great-grandmother deemed I was old enough to start learning sewing and embroidery. I have been "collecting" fiber crafts since then, adding knitting, spinning, weaving, shibori dyeing etc. Right now I am flirting with paper sculptures and woven basketry fiber sculptures. I have never done basketry, but it sounds intriguing!
When you're not making your art, what do you do?
I teach weaving to adults and integrated STEAM to young children. What that means is that we use art (the A added to STEM) to explore art and craft techniques along with scientific concepts. It may be a project using colorful lights, creating light play and explore additive color mixing at the same time; or an engineering challenge to build the most stable structure out of common art materials.
Is creativity a luxury or necessity for you? Tell us more about that.
I tried to put aside making things by hand for a while in college and graduate school and focus on reading and writing - I didn't last very long! I picked up knitting to keep myself sane, because it was portable and could do it during lectures.
Where do you find inspiration?
People and important events in our relationships. Weddings, shared meals, friendships, babies and children, bouts of anxiety, pandemic isolation have all inspired pieces I made. I rarely separate art from functional art - a wearable shawl commemorates a wedding; and set of napkins becomes backdrop for important memories; a jacket carries self-expression, fabric designed for a garment ends up mounted on a panel and hanging on the wall - things become experiences and experiences become entwined with things.
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Recommended Artist Resources
Frames - Cheap Joes
Matboard - REDImat
Paint - Blick Art, Cheap Joes
Plastic bags - Clearbags
Shipping supplies - Uline
Shoe Making - blog
Supplies - ASW Express
Postcards - PS Prints