Name: Tija Viksna
Where do you live: Between fields, meadows, forests, near a tiny river, in a house that has a name (not a number), in a country named Latvia.
Known for: Original tapestry crochet wearable art and home textiles.
Currently working on:
Currently I am working on extending my skills in crocheting with multiple yarns and fusing the possibilities of various crochet techniques.
When did you realize that you were going to work with this:
A while ago I studied academic painting in Riga, Latvia and textile arts in Vilnius, Lithuania afterwards. That was when I became aware of that I have deep love and passion for color and fiber.
If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why?
A bit more than 13 years ago, when I was expecting my daughter (who is my fifth child) my husband and I decided to move from an apartment in the centre of Riga to a country house in the middle of nowhere. Now I feel I have grown roots in this place.
How would you describe your design/work:
There is a story behind/in/around and above every piece of work I create. It is very important for me to tell a story through my work. My designs would never be entirely decorative or just plain functional.
How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner?
I started to explore possibilities of tapestry or jacquard crochet in the summer of 2009.
What do you do at the moment?
At this moment I almost constantly, continuously, endlessly crochet. Currently I’m working on my collection of crocheted vests for long summer evenings.
A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business?
Be patient and persistent. Creativity involves lots of dreaming, evolving the imagination and growing wings to be able to fly. But the 10 000 hour rule applies if you want to excel in any business, creative ones included.
Tell us how it all started.
Both my parents are artists. They have been working as art teachers since 1976, they still work part-time even though they’re retired now. I grew up in a very creative atmosphere – that’s how it all started.
What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you?
A large window or better even – many large windows. Everything else is adaptable.
What is your favorite film?
I rarely watch movies, so I have seen just a few. There is no particular one that is my absolute favorite. One that I liked was Julie Taymor’s film about Frida Kahlo. And I also liked Pedro Almodovar’s “Volver”.
Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why?
Since some time I have an idea to host Inspiration Exchange Dinners. I would love to invite creative people from around the world just to share a meal and to talk about the sunny side of the creativity, about feelings and experiences that unite us regardless of our backgrounds, statuses or countries we’re coming from. There are many people whom I have met on the internet, I have never met them in real life, but somehow they have become very dear and close.
How do you like to spoil yourself?
With a good 3-hour walk in my favorite forest together with my husband.
What is luxury for you?
Travel, travel, travel – near and far together with my family – there is nothing better.
What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your design/work, and from whom?
A lady from Alaska bought a crocheted hat from my Etsy shop more than 4 years ago and posted a photo on Facebook where she wears the hat this winter. This is the best compliment possible – it makes me very, very happy that the items I create with so much love can travel the world and are worn or used with love.
What do you fear most?
I am afraid of long days having no light and no color, boredom and I fear people without a heart.
What is a happy life to you?
Being able to love, create and care – I’m living my happy life right now 🙂
What does a regular day look like for you?
Since last autumn the circumstances have been so favorable for me (thanks to my husband who supports my creativity in every way and has arranged it so that I can dedicate myself to my passion) that my day now consists almost entirely of activities I enjoy most: black morning coffee, picking up my current crochet project where I have left it in the previous evening and crocheting until it’s time to go to sleep. Of course it has been quite different for many years before: while raising 5 kids, working as freelance interior designer which was my day job, taking care of the house and the garden, I had just little bits of spare time (if any at all) that I could devote to creative work.
Tell us about your dream project.
I accidentally found out that in Ghana, in a fishing village Nungua near Accra, there is Aba House – a place where creative people, artists from around the world and local children meet to collaborate and learn from each other. Now I have a dream to participate in such a project someday.
Who is your favorite designer?
There are too many artists, designers and creative persons whom I admire to mention someone in particular. But my absolute favorite designers are children – I adore their boundless imagination, their attitude, their fearlessness, confidence and eagerness to explore.
How would you describe your style?
I really don’t know how to describe my style. Color and texture are most important for me.
Which is the one thing you can’t live without?
One thing? Probably, my favorite crochet hook 😉
What inspires you?
Everything. My family, people, events, unexpected viewpoints, quiet moments, dreams I can’t remember, textures of nature, textures of the city, piece of paper, petal of a flower, crack in a wall, gemstones on a tray – everything I meet on my way.
A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life?
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s “The Little Prince” – the smallest and most poetic book imaginable that contains every important thought about existence.