“On Weaving”, Chapter 3: The Fundamental Constructions

In this piece, Annie Albers makes an argument that weaving which more readily reveals the nature of its perpendicularly intersecting threads is superior to other forms, and she attempts to back up this assertion with the example that a stone sculpture that more readily reveals that it is made out of stone is superior to one that tries to move beyond its material confines. I know very little about weaving, but I know a decent amount about sculpture, enough so at least to take quite a bit of issue with her above assertion. My mind immediately goes to marble statues that depict some form of draping cloth, and the ones that are frequently considered the most skilled and successful are ones where the cloth is made to look as natural as possible, making the viewer forget that they are actually looking at a hard piece of stone. I think confining a material just to what its most basic function and form is is actually more of a hindrance to the bounds the material can push than necessarily being an example of its most effective execution.

That said, I do like and generally agree with Albers’s sentiment that, “a process reduced to just the essential allows for the broadest application.” I think a given process stripped down to just its fundamentals must naturally yield the widest variety of paths to choose from, because you don’t have anything else erroneous hindering you. However, to my mind this means that you can then take this thing and run in a million different kinds of directions with it and expand upon it in a million different ways, whereas I get the feeling, based on her previous statements, that to her mind just sticking to that absolute baseline is really the way to go.

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