In cooperation with the Craft in America Center and the opening of the exhibit Material Meaning: A Living Legacy of Anni Albers, The Tactile Sensibility Workshop was designed to motivate and inspire artists to focus on weaving as a creative process by exploring a variety of materials. Inspired by the iconic artist and designer Anni Albers, this workshop expanded each person’s vocabulary in the tactile language of weaving.
A LIVING LEGACY OF ANNI ALBERS
7/13/2019 – 9/21/2019
Craft in America Center is pleased to present an exhibition that explores the ongoing influence of Anni Albers through the work of ten contemporary American artists and designers working with textiles. Material Meaning: A Living Legacy of Anni Albers includes work by artists Samantha Bittman, Lois Bryant, Christy Matson, Jennifer Moore, Brittany Wittman McLaughlin, Rachel Snack, Susie Taylor, Cameron Taylor-Brown, Suzanne Tick, and Marcia Weiss.
The artists’ artwork, experiments, and functional woven textiles and prototypes mirror Albers’ varied design practice. This exhibition is only a taste of Albers’ impact given the broad and deep nature of her career. It explores Albers’ continued importance as interpreted by a group of current practitioners in the fields of art, handweaving, education, and textile design. This exhibition coincides with and celebrates the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Bauhaus, where Albers studied and later taught. As a teacher, Albers helped establish a pedagogy that many of these artists use today. In fact, some of the artists will be giving workshops at the Center during the run of the exhibition.
The Bauhaus School was known to collapse the barrier between fine art and craft while adapting artists to the machine age. From 1919-1933, the school advocating and advanced good design for mass production.
Born after the Arts & Crafts Movement, the Bauhaus aesthetic has no ornamentation, but its function drives its style.
Vorkurs, or the foundational design course that was instructed at the Bauhaus, investigated working methods with commonplace materials. One such example would be sticking paper together by sewing, buttoning, riveting, typing, and pinning it to changes is shape and form. The process fosters experimentation and reorients the maker to the color, form, and possibility of the material.
The clean lines and innovative use of materials while embracing technology are pillars of the Bauhaus school teachings. Its inventive design philosophy, long afterlife, and a great living legacy in art and design today.
The Weaving Workshop
July 13, 2019 Craft in America Center, Los Angeles, CA
Inspired by Anni Albers’ book, On Weaving, Chapter 8, Tactile Sensibility
Weaving is an interplay between surface + structure.
“The weaver deals primarily with tactile effects.”
Increase your sensitivity to the perception of touch – the tactile sense through experimentation.
Handle the materials – feel the consistency, density, lightness, smoothness, etc.
“Our tactile experiences are elemental.” (p. 62)
the substance of which something is made
surface quality of material (English) = matière (French)
Matière is an aesthetic quality; experienced receptively; it is a medium of the artist.
“Material form becomes meaningful form through design, that is, through considered relationships.” (80)
“An art discipline is able to convey understanding of the interaction between medium and process that results in form.” (21)
The class included a wooden lap loom, made in USA. A variety of materials were provided, but participants are also encouraged to bring yarns and materials from their own fiber collections. Students also considered weaving with ribbons, tapes, and other non-conventional materials for weaving.
Using images of texture from nature as a starting point, students will interpret the pictures into woven compositions.
During this workshop, artist and educator Brittany Wittman McLaughlin showed how to create a weaving using a variety of techniques, beautiful yarns, and other materials. Students learned how to set up the frame loom, the mechanics of weaving and basic woven structures, creating textures and patterns, how to finish a completed weaving, and had hands-on instruction and plenty of time to weave.
As your teacher and creative guide, I encourage you to explore a variety of media and materials; have a solid design foundation of design principles, and be open to a new creative process and sense of self discovery. My goals for this weaving workbook are to inspire you on a creative journey; to review basic weave structures so that your compositions have integrity; and to investigate materials not commonly thought of for weft.
This process is about you as an artist finding and refining your creative voice. My ambition is to encourage you to share your artistic voice; to focus on the process of making art on the loom; to incorporate various materials and weaving structures as a means of expression. Because of my background in art and design, I bring a very practical aspect to teaching weaving, where construction is very important. I want to help weavers approach their loom with a sense of exploration and not be limited by a set pattern, design, or weave draft.
I gained experience teaching weaving at my alma mater, Philadelphia College of Textiles & Science where I was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Design. I earned my Bachelor of Science degree in Textile Design there in 1997. In 2004, I earned my Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.
t seems like we can all recall inspiration and influence from our mothers or grandmothers who created textiles with their hands; who sewed, crocheted, knitted, quilted, and crafted textiles into family treasures. My story includes these women in my family, as well as influential scholars, artists, and designers that have mentored and inspired me throughout my career.
During college, Sigrid Wortmann Weltge, the preeminent scholar in the Bauhaus and its weaving workshop, helped me to develop my writing, research, and presentation skills. I completed an independent study under her guidance titled, Women of the Arts & Crafts Movement. Much of art history has neglected to document the women and their importance in artistic movements. She taught me how to do thoughtful, meaningful research, and empowered me to believe in my work and say my words with confidence.
Artist and Educator Bhakti Ziek encouraged me to take my work beyond textile design and into the realm of fine art. She introduced me to the Buddhist concepts in this workbook and provided countless hours at both the hand loom and industrial Jacquard loom explaining complex weave structures.
Working in industry, I was employed as a designer working with KnollTextiles under the creative direction of dynamic product designer Suzanne Tick. Her vision for how materials transform spaces, and the meanings and value of reused and recycled materials shaped how I approach my art and design practice to this day.
For a time, I worked as a sales associate for America’s leading antique sampler and needlework dealer in Philadelphia, M. Finkel & Daughter. Morris and his daughter, Amy, showed me the value of the story, the meaning of the stitches in schoolgirl needlework samplers, and the importance of preserving and sharing textile history.
And now, my children influence my work. Now that I am a mother I have a greater understanding of the importance of creative self-expression at all ages. I understand how art heals, engages the mind, and creates a sense of well being.
NYC – September 2019
Providence RI – November 2019