Earlier in January I went to see the Anni Albers exhibition at Tate Modern before going to West Dean for three days of tapestry weaving.
The exhibition was stunning and I have been thinking about it ever since. Anni Albers work is very quiet and yet has such spirit and integrity that the pieces radiate energy. Her attention to detail is inspiring in itself but then how she used her skill to produce work that had function as well as beauty, resulting in weavings which one wants to wrap oneself in, either literally or metaphorically. Not for comfort necessarily, but to give life.
My favourite was this one, early in the exhibition, woven in 1924 and made of cotton and silk.
I’ve been working out in my mind why I like this one so much - the edges are not straight, yet she could weave straight edges - there is so little colour in it, yet much is created in the interweaving of tones and combinations of threads. So skilful. The whole piece is honest and visually interesting, it drew me in and then in the detail was layer upon layer of variety and possibility.
Follow that….my own tapestry weaving cannot. But the exhibition gave me some confidence to keep going with what interests me, the colours that I want to use and not to be sidetracked by trying to explore too many possibilities. For now, I want to use neutral lines and silks and to explore the definition and sharpness that these materials give to the letter shapes I want to make.
Here are trials for two small tapestry weavings I’ve just begun (made well before going to Albers exhibition). They will have names and words on them and I’ll post them when they are completed.