When talented female students arrived to study at the Bauhaus, they soon discovered that the founder of the school, Walter Gropius, was not strictly adhering to his original declaration of equality between men and women. In the hierarchy of art and design, it was textiles that were deemed to be 'women's work'. Nevertheless, the new weavers responded to the challenge with remarkable virtuosity, pouring all their artistic energy and talent into this new field of interest. Eagerly embracing advanced technology, they incorporated new or unusual materials (such as Cellophane, leather and early synthetics), creating reversible fabrics which had acoustic and light-reflecting properties. They produced multi-layered cloths, some with double and triple weaves, and later mode extensive use of the jacquard loom. The result was a rebirth of hand-weaving and a new professionalism in designing textiles for mass production. In this model study, superbly illustrated with rare or little seen photographs of the works themselves, Sigrid Wortmann Weltge recreates the atmosphere of creative excitement at the Bauhaus. Original archival research and interviews with survivors and their students, as well as with leading contemporary designers, detail the workshop's history and its enduring legacy : marvellous fabrics still being produced today. Bauhaus Textiles unearths the missing chapter in the story of the most important institution in the history of modern design.
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