How to Weave Like Anni Albers | Tate

How to Weave Like Anni Albers | Tate

My name is Rosa and I’m a textile
designer and today I’m gonna show you how to weave like Anni Albers. Anni
Albers was a German artist and textile designer. She became a key figure at the
Bauhaus school until 1933 when it was forced to close following pressure from
the Nazis. She then emigrated to America to teach
at the experimental Black Mountain College. Albers was known for combining
traditional and ancient weaving techniques with modern materials and
modernist design. Her weavings often featured patterns and neutral colors
based on repeating and interlocking stripes and blocks. Today I’m going to
draw inspiration from her many wall hangings. To weave like Annie Albers you
will need a loom, a warping mill, a raddle, a reed, cross sticks, string, cardboard, a
selection of thread, a threading tool, a reeding tool and some scissors. First I’m
going to sketch out my ideas using some of the key themes in Albers work. Next I
create my threading plan. This will be the base for my pattern. Then I prepare
my threads on the warping mill. This is a tool used to get all the threads to
the right length and in the right order ready for the loom. Now I have my threads in order I’m ready
to dress the loom. This is a raddle which is used to space out the threads so that
they’re the right width for when you start weaving. This will form the warp
the threads that stretch vertically down the loom. The warp is one of the two base
components in a piece of fabric. I wind the warp around the back beam to keep
them neat and tidy. I place a sheet of paper in between each layer of the
threads to keep them from tangling. Now I get my cross sticks. These are essential
for keeping the threads in the right order. Once that’s ready, I bring the warp
threads up to the back of the loom and hang them up. The next stage is to thread
the loom. So take all the threads through these
small metal things which are called heddles. This is a reed and it’s used to space
out the threads while you weave your fabric so that it’s the right width. Once I finish reeding the warp I tie it
onto the stick at the front of the loom. Now that I’ve finished tying on, I’m
ready to start weaving and this is the box where I’m going to program in my
pattern. First I put the yarn into the shuttle. This piece of yarn is called the
weft and will be woven horizontally through the vertical warp threads. This
along with the warp form the two base components of a piece of fabric. Next I
pass the shuttle through the shed. The shed is the temporary space between the
upper and lower warp threads. After the shuttle has gone through, the shed is
closed and opened again with the foot pedals. Each time the shuttle is passed
through I pull the reed to secure the weft. I wind the warp on to create more
space for the weaving as it grows. This is repeated over and over until we
have a fabric. It would have probably taken Anni Albers between a few weeks
and a month to create one of her wall hangings. Slowness was a virtue to her
and a key ingredient in allowing for the experimentation which defines her work.
Anni would have used the large counter march floor loom for her larger wall
hangings. Today I’m using a computerized dobby loom. This is also a hand loom that
has some computerized features. Once your weave is complete, remove it by cutting
it off the loom. Finally, cut away any stray threads. I hope you feel as inspired as I am by
Anni Albers and now have a better understanding of the craft and effort it
takes to make a fabric. That was how to weave like Anni Albers.

15 thoughts on “How to Weave Like Anni Albers | Tate

  1. Excellent video! I had no clue how complicated weaving could be. She called the weavers of ancient Peru her "great teachers".

  2. Having 0 experience in weaving and no clue how I got here this was confusing to watch yet very cool to witness.

  3. Geometrical patterns are not "Art". Albers was a good weaver and designer, not an artist. And you, my dear young weaver, although your fabric is interesting, are operating a semi-industrial electronically programmed machine. You are not weaving like a true ancient artist. Sorry.

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