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About Lajla
by Janice Wong,
Visual Artist

I believe that all creative work is essentially autobiographical; everything that we are, our history, imagination, curiosity, longing, our thoughts and emotions merge in our work; this is our work.

Lajla is an architect, trained in Bosnia, a weaver trained in Italy, and she is a Canadian who chose to pursue the craft of textile arts as her means of expression.For the past twenty years, she has pursued excellence in her craft. This combined experience as an architect and weaver imbues her work with a unique approach to form and structure; her technical background is offset by a very idiosyncratic sense of play. Lajla has a visual lexicon that is highly personal, intrinsic to her. It is indivisibly linked with who she is and where she came from.

To the casual onlooker, Lajla is a maker of hats. To the sensitive and initiated, we see small, portable sculptures, personal objects that are embued with the history of architecture and with the memories of landscape. Many of her forms are inspired by the structure of simple peasant homes, rural habitats from around the world. Her work is also graced by the spirit with which she has embraced her new home in Canada.

Lajla has a deep committment to discovery, to the passion that fuels artistic production. With a constant drive towards inquiry and definition, Lajla continually presents work
of infinite variety and technical strength.

About Lajla
by Robin McIntosh,
Architect

Lajla makes the most extraordinary things. Her hats are little textile landscapes,
whimsical fantasies that cause people’s faces to light up with delight. I have watched people discover Lajla’s hats at the market. First, they are enchanted by the sculptural shapes. One of her hats is inspired by the conical domes of the Trulli houses in Southern Italy. Another has little chimneys that derive from a rooftop view over an European town. Others seem inspired by the creatures of a tidepool or the shape of an ice cream cone. New shapes are constantly evolving in Lajla’s fertile mind.

The next thing that people discover, are the tactile pleasures of the work. Whether using soft and fuzzy chenille, or the natural textures of linen and hemp, Lajla finds unusual and high quality yarns with which to work. People can’t resist picking them up and exploring them with their hands.

Lajla has a wonderful sense of colour – some of her works are natural and neutral, some are earthy and complex, and some are vivid and cheerful. Some are embellished with surface pattern or buttons. Some have pattern built into the structure, and some are plain, to give emphasis to the form.

Despite the humour and playfulness of Lajla’s creations, there is also a rigorous understanding of the relationship between form, material and colour; of balance, order and proportion, that reveals Lajla’s architectural training. She has a discriminating judgement that knows when all the elements are right. Her work also displays a mastery of technique and a high quality of craftsmanship.

Besides crocheting, Lajla also makes weavings that have the same endlessly creative expressions of pattern, texture, colour and materials in 2-dimensional form.