Poetry News

How Anni Albers Does Intricately Inspire the Writers

By Harriet Staff

True to Anni Albers's intent, what's discovered in her 1965 book On Weaving—recently expanded and re-published by Princeton University Press and available at David Zwirner Books—is that "textiles can inspire those working outside the medium." To continue to quote Becky Peterson, who has written for Hyperallergic about the appeal of Albers for writers: "[Y]ou do not need to work with the fiber arts in order to learn from them." More:

I have consistently found Albers’s writings, in both On Weaving and the already re-released Selected Writings on Design (Wesleyan University Press, 2001), to be eye-opening on a range of topics. Materiality, tactility, nonverbal language, the histories of both handcraft and factory production — Albers provides clear and rigorous analysis of these and other issues throughout her books. Readers concerned with digital communication and design will appreciate Albers’s close attention to technology and style. Albers, in her writings and art, as well as in her life story, has helped me think about the labor of domestic and industrial textile workers, the politics of romantic involvement with an established artist, and the complexities of being a Jewish refugee living in mid-century America. And so, I am grateful for this re-issue of On Weaving, a book which has been increasingly difficult to locate since its initial publication.

Non-weavers may balk at On Weaving’s intricate descriptions of weaving technique. But even in the more technical sections of the text, Albers imbues her descriptions of practice with illuminating philosophical statements about creativity, art, and functionality. For example, in “The Loom,” she writes, in reference to the historical development of weaving technologies:

As need presses toward fulfillment, so does obtainable fulfillment excite need — a generative cycle, spiraling to dimensions of both need and productivity that must seem excessive to any generation earlier than the one participating in it.

Please read the full piece at Hyperallergic!

Originally Published: February 22nd, 2018