Line and Color
“One line plus one line results in many meanings.”
“Color deceives continuously.”
This is a companion piece to “Zero”, the embroidery inspired by the work of Anni Albers that I finished last summer.
Anni’s husband Josef did not work with fiber, but he admired the same Pre-Columbian textiles as his wife, and used them in his classes as examples of good design. As with the first embroidery, I chose quotes to stitch as the background for the rest of the composition.
Josef was widely known and admired for his teaching as much as for his art. Beginning at the Bauhaus, where he took over the basic design course, and continuing in the open and experimental atmosphere of Black Mountain College, Albers constantly refined an approach that emphasized “learning to see” as the basis for not only creating art, but all learning. Most of his students at Black Mountain were not there to study art; yet they felt his class enriched everything they were experiencing. And when he later taught at Yale, he insisted his classes be available to all students, not just those studying art or design. He valued process over product, and learning through doing. His assignments always looked for multiple solutions as he believed there was never only one “right” answer to any problem.
The most well-known work of Josef Albers is his “Homage to the Square” series, in which color relationships are explored through different arrangements of nested squares. Beginning in 1950 (when he was over 60–inspiration for those of us who are no longer young), he worked on the series for 25 years, producing more than 1000 paintings. The looser color studies for those paintings are also quite beautiful.
For my embroidered piece, I chose 6 colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple) plus 2 shades of grey for the squares. The text underneath the squares was done in black and white.
The type of embroidery I used was inspired by the Siddi quilting and Kantha embroidery of India. Siddi quilts, produced by descendants of Africans living in India, combine Indian and African components in designs reminiscent of the Gee’s Bend quilts produced by African-Americans.
Kantha embroidery also uses running stitch in an asymmetrical and imperfect fashion to form beautifully textured geometrical patterns.
The pieces together represent the importance to me of both Anni and Josef Albers as guide and inspiration for the work I do.
You can see my post on “Zero” here: https://methodtwomadness.wordpress.com/2014/08/23/zero/
And you can find out more about Josef and Anni Albers here: http://albersfoundation.org/
This is really “Unfinished Project 1.5” as I decided to complete it before #2…now I’ll get back to that one.