Tonje Høydahl Sørli

tapestry, comics and random writings

Running Fox
2020: In my studio in Oslo. Applying for grants these days, no funding isnt fun for anyone, and makes this work with art I(and others too of course) do impossible.


First of all I work with tapestries and textiles. Often, my tapestries are kept in the weavingframe of steel and placed freestanding on the floor when exhibited, this to point out the workprocess and history that lies behind the work. Tapestries have a history of storytelling made up by sequences, such as comics are built up today. Tapestry is also sequentially through the weaving technique, where weft thread goes in one direction and is built sequence by sequence.

For me tapestry is linked to the 1970`s and the fight for equal rights for men and women. This has been important in my choosing of the tapestry as my medium. I love the way I can get several layers of meaning in my works because of this, and also by using the popular culture we are surrounded by as motifs. The fast becomes slow in the tapestry- because of the time it took to build it up.

I try to focus  on gender, trauma reactions, and relational balances of power in my works. Lately I have also worked with the idea of being an artist mother, and  the fear of indirectly harming ones children by living a public role.



I got my first book to write in from my grandma when I was nine. I wrote and drew my whole youth through. Somewhere on the road from there I became a secret writer.


So I have been writing under pseudonyms/alters or anonymously from I was very young.


From I was thirteen I also have had a passion for songlyrics.  There too I have had my secret ways (in writing). And I was sixteen the first time my lyrics were in use.


I still write. My texts vary from song/poplyrics and scripts to textcollages. I include my lyrics in my artproject. Some of my writings and thoughts are published on this website under lyrics, I call this web-publishing-project u.t.t.e.r.a.n.c.e.s : my short texts, pamflets and lyrics on life events and aftermaths. 


I also write about love, pets and nature, and sometimes people that stand out by their choices.


I like the small and strange and melancollic,  in lyrics as in life.


Though randomly writing and sending and still seeing myself as a textninja, I dont send(email..) lyrics away anymore, as I once did. 


On the use of pseudonyms Id not recommend it to anyone, though  left alone, anonymity   could give people the oppurtunity to exploit you. Its sad but true.



I am also teaching weaving, sewing, making and re-use of textiles. Since 2018 I have worked as a teacher in workshops for youth and children alongside my own projects. Future friendly teaching is with a thought to environment, and social change.

Recently a first video in re-use of curtains and table cloths was made for Relove by me and my collegua: 

While this is from a workshop I held at Deichman library at Tøyen, in weaving, for children, in cartoon like colors and shapes: 



One of my projects this day 2019 is weavings of appropriated material, linked to care as a theme. Along-side this I write lyrics with thought on future songs, and I write prosa. I have finished several projects on pamflets, written by me on muses & music, and with references to music, in 2015- 2016. My pamflets were published here on my website for several years.  I lost much of my material, as written lyrics and ideas when I was young(1999), and this happened again some years ago(2014). This is stressful, but I try my best to carry on with my projects.

Three poems on Care/ Omsorg i å lære bort:

Blomstre I


du kan lage grillspyd,

jeg gir deg kniv og tre,

se dette er du,

hånd og rørelse,

sinn og varme,

en til deg, til deg og til deg.


Blomstre II


til deg ei bok,

å skrive i,

og skrår det ut,

ut av linja der,

så gjør det ingenting,

det er ikke margen

som er viktig her.



Blomstre III


det var det jeg visste,

om dere to,

det er bare en symaskin,

men så bestemte du farten,

mens moren din så stresset ut,

til veska var ferdig,

og du hadde stjerner i.

-Disse diktene skrev jeg 29.04.2019,

©Tonje Høydahl Sørli



Over several years  I have worked with the horror of the unexpected as a theme in tapestry.


In an extension of this, I have tried out to weave small and large birds and animals, and thought of them as a place where children potentially could try out their own stories about being little /big/ in or without power


The last years I have been working on the comic-novel-project Immersed in Another World.   It has received funding from Kunstløftet.