Annamaria Atturo was born in Fano and she trained first at the ISA of Urbino and then the Academy of Fine Arts between Rome and Urbino. Her works hand-woven on a four-heddle loom, embroidered on ancient canvases or worked in felt have been exhibited in national and international exhibitions. One of her works exhibited at the Vajro Imbiancheria in Chieri is part of the city’s Fiber Art Civic Collection. Among the exhibition projects in which she participated we also find the International Biennial of Textile Miniatures in Vilnius, Lithuania and Continere, the International Triennial of Contemporary Textile Art in Tournai, Belgium. She lives and works in Colli al Metauro (PU).
Il segreto dell’oro, (The secret of gold), 2021, manual weaving and gilding, linen, broom fiber, gold leaf, 110x70x10 cm. Detail. Ph credits: amaneraphoto
Ancient and contemporary – the two souls of your work. How much and what is there of one and the other in your work?
My work between ancient and contemporary is a path in which I think of my works as memories that take on new forms.
I work exclusively by hand using the technique of weaving on an ancient four-heddle loom, embroidery and felt. In the various procedures I observe my gestures and feel in the manual skills like the voice of an ancient soul in which I am interested in the primitive aspects and the sensations they suggest to me. I am interested in the “pure matter” which in my case are natural and raw fibers and how much of their “ancient world” can be preserved in my work, or rather, how much the dialogue with this archaic dimension suggested in the interior is transformed through the creative process in a new idea.
My sensitivity for fiber as a sentiment of antiquity and my interest in textile art originates in personal and affective memories, in fact, my training is first and foremost a consequence of a family environment of female figures linked to the textile sections of Institutes of Art and even before that early twentieth century embroidery workshops, a world that has profoundly marked me. Motivations and influences that led me to work with traditional techniques such as the recovery of a completely forgotten ancient lace reworked in some works.
I am currently working on the experimentation and interaction of some works and studies using virtual technologies.
Il segreto dell’oro gioiello (The secret of gold jewelery) 2021, manual weaving and gilding, yarns, broom fiber, gold leaf, 20×50 cm. Ph credits: amaneraphoto
What does weaving mean to you?
The loom has always been present in my life, deposited in my memories and more deeply, since I was a child I played with my mother’s loom, I liked to observe the meeting of the threads converging in infinite variations and balances of weaves. I feel that for me weaving means interpreting emotions and when I work I always start asking myself what is a shape in its essence? The thread, the fiber and the materials are the starting elements of an indefinite, unclear point of view, where the manual work that deals with the plasticity of a fabric is a moment of universal creation, a state of thought, an intimate impulse that dialogues with the weave and builds the shape. Weaving like embroidering or working felt is for me an exploratory research in which I instinctively choose yarns and prefer fibers that suggest rural sensations, sometimes I leave them as they are, sometimes I paint them, they become material textures that alternate contracted or stretched textures, in density or lightness.
Mani senza acqua, 2010, felt working and hand embroidery, native wool, yarns, broom fiber, copper, 100x85x25 cm. Detail. Ph credits: Paolo Rosso
What do the hands and the footprints that recur in several of your works evoke?
Handprints are symbolic gestures embroidered on wool felts and are inspired by cave paintings where these instinctive gestures can be interpreted as the need for man to leave a mark on himself through the use of his hands. In 2010 I exhibited Hands without water for “The Climate is Changing” exhibition held at the Textile Museum in Prato, in this sculpture the hands embroidered on a felt made of native natural wool and broom fiber represent a reflection on the theme of desertification and on basic human needs in arid areas. Handprints as a symbolic act become a metaphor for a human condition in other textile sculptures too: Growing Disparities and Each of us, works exhibited at the “ECOARTE” International Competition, Archaeological Museum of Anzio (RM) and “Woven world” Cultural Center of Peruwelz, as part of the Tuornai International Triennial of Textile Art in Belgium. In 2011 I created the last sculpture in this series entitled Tradere intended as going beyond transferring from one generation to another. This sculpture is part of the Civic Collection of Fiber Art of the City of Chieri and is dedicated to the recovery of a needle embroidery technique, a historical memory linked to the textile tradition of my territory. In this work, the embroidered footprints symbolize the access door of a passage that can be overcome with difficulty, where listening-meeting-overcoming the limit with matter is accomplished. A concept that I would like to express in words that I often quote and particularly love by Giacomo Manzù “The essential condition for your work is that a fire gushes out of your depths that invests the material that cannot simply remain as such, because under your hands it will have to sublimate itself in spirit. The plastic conception must not be inspired by formal prejudices but only by love”
Tradere, 2011, felt working and hand embroidery, wool, linen, yarns, copper, 80x80x19 cm. Ph credits: amaneraphoto
You choose carefully the materials you use, preferring artisanal and natural productions. How do you proceed, for example, to make the felt cloths on which you then intervene with the embroidery?
The materials I use must communicate something to me intensely because I am interested in exploring their sensations. Some, such as raw linen and broom fiber, natural untreated wool and nylon are the materials with which I have played since I was a child and when I touch them sensations resurface that make me feel as if I have always been tied to them. Fiber fascinates me because it is what remains after a transformation, I am interested in materials that retain their own energy and I observe how much of it remains in my research as a reminder of a life lived previously. While I work the felt with my hands I wonder how a shape is born? I observe the wool during the transformation of the technical process to maintain its nature and material vitality, rich in unaltered anergy until the work is finished.
I feel a great emotion when I work the felt, I like to smell the wool, it is a feeling that remains in my mind even when the felt is finished, I continue to smell its previous life. It is a primitive material that takes shape and transforms to evoke instinct: working with felt is energy, movement and emotion.
In the Eco textile sculpture I intervened on a felt with embroidery techniques to express a dialogue with the nature of the signs that take shape in a mood. An echo is the deformed return of a sound to the place of departure caused by its reflection against an obstacle, so my thoughts are reflected in my work.
Eco, 2020, felt working and hand embroidery, wool, linen, hemp, yarns, silver leaf, copper, 75x146x9 cm. Ph credits: amaneraphoto
Embroidery is one of the techniques you use for your works and it requires time, skill, attention. What are the reasons behind this choice? When did you start embroidering and how did you learn?
As mentioned before, the feelings related to textile techniques have settled in my memories. As a child my grandmother asked me to thread the thread into the eye of the needle because she, a seamstress, was no longer able to, or I remember the small embroidery stitches taught by my aunt . Some aspects are naturally conscious while some sensations have been deposited below the level of memory and this is part of the constitution of the unconscious. Embroidery with its dimension of time far from the frenetic daily rhythms brings us in connection with this intimate and sensorial dimension that manifests itself in the slowness of the gesture. In this sense, the tactile perception of a material and the reading of its signs is a true dialogue with the material that opens me up to a symbolic life that plays with art: a wonderful and mysterious game. I find my relationship with time and motivations in this quote “The unconscious is timeless. There is no time problem in the unconscious. A part of our psyche is not in time and space. They are only illusions, time and space, and so in a certain part of our psyche time does not exist at all. ” C.C. Jung
Fiore di ginestra (Ginestra flower) 2021, hand embroidery on antique canvas, hemp, broom fiber, yarns, gold leaf, wool, 75×75 cm. Ph credits: amaneraphoto
You have recently been selected to participate in the Fiber Art exhibition of the Furlo Land Art Park. Can you tell me about this work?
I was invited to participate in this event dedicated to Fiber Art in Sant’Anna del Furlo in Fossombrone (PU) for the twelfth edition and I was very pleased to see that Textile Art is gaining more and more interest and curiosity. On this occasion I decided to exhibit a sculptural tapestry woven with my frame titled Black-White made in 2019.This tapestry plays on the contrast of the two colors and on two different ways of weaving the weft, the fabric is an alternation of horizontal and vertical cuts, a part of the weft is woven with linen fiber painted with iron oxide and natural binder creating an effect intense and emotionally conflicting.It is a work that plays on opposites and where contrasts alternate, even the choice of black and white represents the emotion of “great contrast” (as Kandinsky defines it), they are the “fundamental sounds” in movement and construction towards a relationship of resistance and continuity, between possibility and impossibility, of origin and end. Black-White is emotion and represents the need to put opposing forces into dialogue in a search for balance that underlies a mute and disoriented personal feeling.