ANNI ALBERS

Anni-Albers-in-her-weaving-studio-at-Black-Mountain-College,-1937
Anni Albers in her weaving studio at Black Mountain College, 1937. (Photo: Helen M. Post, Western Regional Archives, State Archives of North Carolina)

I once shared a house with the weaver Jill Maguire, and as the house was small I had to share my bedroom with her loom; but although I watched her at work I never developed an interest in her art. So the Anni Albers exhibition at Tate Modern was an eye-opener to me.

ALBERS FABRIC
An Albers wallhanging designed in 1926 while she was at the Bauhaus

Albers (1899-1994) took up weaving rather reluctantly at the Bauhaus, where the weaving department was called the women’s workshop, but she discovered its artistic potential and even while still a student produced original and technically adept textiles that worked as abstract art. She seems to have become absorbed in the complex possibilities of weaving, which requires planning thread by thread, spatial reasoning and a grasp of permutation and combination.

She moved to the the USA in 1933 as the Nazis descended on the Bauhaus, and found work at Black Mountain College, where her practice was enlarged by the study and collection of the traditional weaving of South America. The equipment of these weavers was simple but their fabrics showed advanced mathematical thinking. Albers worked with twisted warps, double fabrics and floating wefts, pushing the boundaries of the craft. She was commissioned by forward looking industrialists who saw the commercial possibilities of her advanced methods. She demonstrated weaving to be a place where art, mathematics and manufacturing meet.

Anni-Albers-Tikal-1958-Cotton-30-x-23-in
Anni Albers, Tikal (1958), using twisted warps

Anni Albers Tate Britain
Until 27 January 2019

ADAM KOSSOWSKI STAINED GLASS

DSC_0652 (2) relic chapel a
Relic Chapel, St Simon Stock

We went to the Aylesford Friars to see Adam Kossowski’s ceramic reliefs in the chapels, not expecting to find that he had also designed stained glass. The Carmelites returned to Aylesford in 1949 and his windows, made in the 1950s, are abstract, complementing his narrative ceramics and not distracting from their story with representation.

DSC_0637 st annes a
St Anne Chapel
DSC_0686a
Relic Chapel, St Simon Stock
DSC_0701aa
Relic Chapel, St Simon Stock
DSC_0699aa
Relic Chapel, St Simon Stock

 

ABSTRACT PAINTING IN THE STREETS OF EDINBURGH

 

A prosperous society renews everything quickly, so there are few old things left in public places, and old things are given the heritage treatment, which makes them brand old instead of brand new. Occasionally, in neglected corners, old things remain, like these weathered signs I saw in Edinburgh.

I was a graphic designer before I was a ceramic artist, which explains my interest in surface treatment. I like the form of letters, and these examples of the sign writer’s art were beautiful even before they decayed. After years of weathering and indifference, they have become like abstract paintings, the letters reduced to mere shapes and marks.

Subscribe to my newsletter