I am a sketchbook artist working in ink and watercolor. I consider myself a storyteller of life’s detail and nuance. I like to travel and record the exotic but also to observe everyday moments. My drawings are slices of time of things that catch my fancy: the funny, the unusual, the norm. I like to then share these visual stories with people and see where the conversation then leads.
I also am a quilter and textile artist. Give me some fabric and fiber and I'm a happy woman! I do detailed work with my quilting. I like to combine scraps of fabric into new fabric and enjoy drawing with my stitching too.
Born in Boston, Massachusetts to an Estonian father and an American mother, Anya Toomre grew up in an academic household where learning, books, food and travel were highly valued. Anya has lived and traveled in various places in the United States and Europe because of her father’s job as a theoretical astronomer and applied mathematician: Pasadena, California, London, England and Groningen, the Netherlands.
Anya attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she got her BS in Sociology and Women’s Studies and her MS in Related Art from the Department of Environment, Textiles and Design. The combination of this interdisciplinary focus combined with her interest of material culture, the study of people’s stuff, influenced and focused Anya’s life view.
Anya has spent many years working with textiles both for the enjoyment of using her hands and design skills, and also to learn techniques to manipulate thread, fabric and yarn. She completed the London City and Guilds, Level 2 Apprentice Certificate for Quilting and Patchwork.
In 2011, she started sketching with ink and watercolor. She likes the accuracy and detail that a fountain pen’s fine line can create and the vibrancy and playfulness that come with watercolors. Storytelling is a main part of Anya’s interest and illustrating the things she comes across allows her to share her observations with other people. She enjoys recording the story of the stuff in people’s lives whether it be grand like a building or a city scape, or mundane like a piece of clothing or a bar of chocolate. All these things tell a story of how people live.
Traveling, crossing between cultures, allows for even more storytelling. Anya lived and worked in Japan for three years, North Africa for a year, and took multiple trips to Cuba in 2017. Last year brought the adventures of Portugal and the Azores. Upcoming is exploring vibrant and historic Amsterdam.
Anya’s current work of illustrations of her travels, and detailing people and things she comes across in daily life allow her to share her observations. Teaching allows her to encourage her students to gain confidence in their own storytelling through sketching and journaling.
I believe that there are various ways to give back in life. I want to help out with a few organizations that I believe are doing important and good work. I was in Cuba during Hurricane Irma in September 2017 and saw just a small slice of what a hurricane can do. Cuba is small and has its issues, but the government is there. I want to help out Puerto Rico and its recovery after Hurricane Maria hit it in 2017. I am giving 5% of my card and print sales to the Hispanic Federation. I give the Seattle Humane Society 5% of sales from pet portraits. I have not adopted any dogs from there, but my current three cats have all been through the Humane Society. The third place I donate to is Mary’s Place in Seattle which helps women and their kids who need shelter and resources. 5% of my textile sales - coasters, quilted zippered bags and pot holders goes to help this organization.
My Shop at Society 6 (www.society6.com/shop/anyatoomre) - This is where you can find my images on various products like framed art, wall paper, trays, clocks, shower curtains, bedding, mugs, etc.
My Shop on Etsy (www.etsy.com/shop/AnyaToomreStudios) - This is another site where you can find my cards, coasters and quilted items for sale.
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