Sunday 20 January 2019

Anni Albers at Tate Modern

The Anni Albers Exhibition is currently on at Tate Modern in London.  

12 Shaft Counter March Loom c 1950s - similar to that used by Albers in the Weaving Workshop at the Bauhaus

Albers was an artist, designer, teacher and writer.  Born in Berlin in 1899 to a middle class Jewish family, Anni went to the Bauhaus, a radical art school in Weimar, Germany.  There she studied weaving and met her husband, the artist Josef Albers.  When Nazism forced the closure of the Bauhaus in 1933, they emigrated to the USA.  They both became teachers at the progressive Black Mountain College in North Carolina.  In 1950 they moved to Connecticut when Josef was appointed to a position in the Department of Design at Yale University School of Art.  Albers was influenced by pre-Columbian textiles and made frequent trips to Mexico, Cuba, Chile & Peru to handle and purchase samples.  Her weavings included those for architecture and interiors as well as pictorial weavings.  However her art is very varied and included jewellery, painting & printing.  She died in 1994.

Wallhanging - original 1927, rewoven by Gunta Stolzl in 1964

Weaving Class Black Mountain College, photo John Harvey Campbell - 1945

Woven Bag - cotton & linen - c 1935-39
Siegfried & Toni Fleischmann, Anni Albers & 2 vendors at Teotihuacan, Mexico 1937, photo Josef Albers

This piece is thought to be one of the first pictorial weavings and incorporates a border of plain weave which the later pictorial weavings did not...

Untitled 1941

South of the Border 1958

Pasture 1958 (detail)

Dotted 1959
Dotted 1959 (detail)

Albers was commissioned by the Jewish Museum in New York to create a memorial to the 6 million Jews who had been killed in the Holocaust.  The six panels represent the six million Jews.  This piece is considered her most ambitious pictorial weaving...
Six Prayers 1966-67

Albers produced these necklaces in collaboration with Alexander Reed, who had been a student at Black Mountain College.  They were inspired by a trip to the ancient site of Monte Alban, Mexico where they saw items incorporating both precious materials, like gold and jade, and found items, like shells.  On their return they experimented with things from hardware stores..

Necklaces c 1940

Ruth Asawa was one of Josef Albers' students at Black Mountain College.  She produced a number of inventive patterned studies when on duty in the laundry room using the stamps used to mark the laundry tickets (BMC - the college initials) on newspaper.  This is the sort of experimentation that Anni Albers encouraged in her classes.

Ruth Asawa - BMC Stampc 1950

Work influenced by Celtic style knots...

Rug - Made by Gloria Finn Dale 1959

Mountainous - Blind Embossed Print on Paper 1978
Study made by puncturing paper

Typewriter Studies

Colour study (blue & reds) 1970 - gouache on blueprint paper

 Many of Albers' pictorial weavings were made on this loom...

Eight Harness Structo-Artcraft 750 Loom

This is only a small taster of what the exhibition covers.  It is well worth a visit and not on for much longer - so get your skates on and go see!

Sunday 13 January 2019

Explorations 2018 - Dundee & East of Scotland Embroiderers' Guild

On the Tay - Pamela Beecham

Last year whilst on my annual sojourn to St Andrews, I was lucky enough to see Explorations 2018, the exhibition of the Dundee & East of Scotland Embroiderers' Guild, at the St Andrews Museum in Fife.  There was plenty of variety of embroidery styles, techniques & sensational work. Here's a quick look to whet your appetite...

Summer Landscape - Anita Hutchison

5 Hanging Books - Maureen Shepherd
Collar: 1st World Tribe - Lesley Evans
Gold Leaf - Wendy Rosier
Reflections of Crinan - Helen Hill
Seaweed on Stone - Moira Moonlight
After the Storm - Moira Anne Dickson

Goldwork/Blackwork - Michelle Peet
Beyond Merino - Angela Mehlert
The Summer Garden - Carol Gorrie
Calico Collectors Purse - Jennifer Rochester

Fishing on the Tay - Freda Wood
 Landscape in Two Stitches - Elizabeth Robb
Seeing Red 1 - Bea Neilson
Verdant Vessel - Jennifer Rochester
Transformation - Meadow, Mill, Museum - Jennifer Rochester
Workbox Treasures - Muriel Banucha
Lizzie Mutch - Shona Brand

Lighthouse: Tayport - Anita Hutchison
Locked - Bea Neilson

Storm Crows - Carol Gorrie
Knot Garden - Freda Wood
Summer Poem - Maureen Shepherd
The Mill - Carol Gorrie
Mask 1 -  Kay Deas

There were also EG members' sketchbooks on show...


The Dundee EG branch has a Young Embroiderers' group, open to 6-18 year olds, and some of their work was on show including some stitched bunting featuring strong women!

Young Embroiderers' work
Strong Women Bunting

For the last two years the branch has been awarding a Best in Stitch award to a final year student at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and a second year HND student at Dundee and Angus College.  The prize includes membership of the Guild, a day school and workshop and a fee for going to the branch to present and talk about their work.  Work by three students from 2017 and 2018 was on display...

Work by HND student, Mariya Holinez & degree students, Aisa Purdee & Aimee Keatch 

Thanks to Jennifer Rochester who was staffing the exhibition when I visited and took the time to chat to me about the group and the work on show.

Explorations 2018 is on until 23 February 2019 at St Andrews Museum in St Andrews, Fife.  Don't miss it! And do contact the branch if you want to join their monthly meetings of talks and workshops. Also, those with potential young stitchers at home may want to check out the Spring Flowers Workshop on Saturday 2 February 2019 at the museum.  

If you're staying in St Andrews and need somewhere to eat, do take a look at Forgans.  They have some special offers through January and February from Monday to Thursdays - check their website. It's a great place to eat!  Don't forget that there's a branch of the V&A in Dundee now - also not to be missed and visit the DCA while you're in Dundee (coffee, food, exhibitions, cinema) - another top spot!  If you want to read about the V&A in Dundee check out my blogpost here.