Galleries and museums didn’t show textiles, that was always considered craft and not art. When it’s on paper it’s art. Anni Albers 1984
Anni Albers, one of the foremost textiles designers of the twentieth century, is finally getting long overdue recognition in a major exhibition of her work at Tate Modern. Three hundred and fifty items will be on display including drawings and prints. Her weavings, often referred to as ‘pictorial weavings’, played an important role in re-defining craft as an art form.
As a young female art student at The Bauhaus School in the 1920’s, with a preference to becoming a painter, she was encouraged to take up weaving, then perceived as women’s art and therefore a more suitable course for the female students, textiles would become her key mode of artistic expression.
Many of her designs were inspired by the work of her teacher, the artist Paul Klee and fellow student & husband, Josef Albers. Ironically her woven wall hangings, shawls and blankets became one of the most successful products to come out of the school.
Her truth to materials, adherence to hand-crafting traditions combined with her modernist geometric patterns and the inclusion of the new synthetics also informed a more aesthetic approach to mass production.
Albers was fascinated by the traditional uses of textile and thread-making yet while adhering to traditional techniques she was also keen to produce items that combined aesthetic appeal with functionality.
Mass produced furniture and textiles play an important and essential part in our domestic lives, but the ancient arts of weaving and hand production are becoming ever more popular and a number of manufactures, artisans and craftspeople are responding by revitalising these traditions.
We took a look at some contemporary furnishings and fabrics currently available - many of which are inspired by Anni Albers and by traditional creative processes - and how we can integrate these ideas into our own interiors.
Bristol based, Angie Parker weaves intricate rugs, on a Glimakra Floor loom, she describes her beautiful rugs as ‘floor art’ and we have to agree, they are meticulously woven in re-claimed wool in a palette of unashamed bright colours. Watch her video below.
Christopher Farr Cloth designs bespoke fabrics using both digital and hand printing techniques drawing inspiration from a variety of creative sources including among others the design influence of Anni Albers.
We particularly like the textiles from Royal College of Art trained artist, Margo Selby. Weaving and high quality fibres are at the heart of her gorgeous textiles which include furnishing fabrics, rugs, art pieces and accessories all of which can be integrated into both traditional and contemporary interiors
All of the designs from Eleanor Pritchard are woven by highly skilled British weaving mills. Many use traditional shuttle looms in Lancashire, West Wales and Bute off the coast of Scotland. Like the Anni Albers designs many have a strong graphic quality with pared back geometrics using inky tones and occasional sharp accent colours, and again, work well in both contemporary and traditional design schemes. An exclusive granite colourway of Eleanor’s Dovetail Design has been made especially for the Anni Albers retrospective at Tate Modern.
Anni Albers is at Tate Modern until 27 January 2019