Creative Women with Tess McCabe - Gunta Stolzl

Jenny Butler
Jenny Butler
7th of June 2011
Tess McCabe is with us again, today profiling German textile artist Gunta Stolzl! Remember to leave a comment before 10pm Wednesday for your chance to win a double pass to this Saturday's Creative Women's Circle event with Beci Orpin! - Jenny x

The Bauhaus women including Gunta Stolzl (centre top) (via The Guardian)

After the first world war, a design school called the Bauhaus opened in Germany, offering courses that blurred the line between art and craft, and at the time (astonishingly) promoted the equal treatment of men and women.

Intrigued, Gunta Stolzl – a painter – applied to the Bauhaus and was a star student with her keen understanding of colour and abstract composition. Despite the earlier promise of equal treatment, Gunta (like most of the female students) was encouraged to pursue classes in the ‘Womens Department’ (a.k.a weaving & textiles) but this turned out to be a good thing. Her talent and dedication saw quickly become the first female senior member of faculty at the Bauhaus.  Gunta then transformed the weaving workshop from a craft centre to a well-oiled industrial design unit.

Preliminary sketches for carpet & rug designs by Gunta Stolzl

Another preliminary sketch for a rug designs by Gunta Stolzl

In addition to her hot design skills, Gunta also knew the technical and workflow aspects of industrial weaving, and under her leadership the Weaving Workshop became one of the Bauhaus’ financial success stories.

Unfortunately, political issues in Germany at the end of the 1920s meant Gunta was forced to resign from the Bauhaus. But she continued to work with textiles and created tapestries, many of which were purchased for private collections and were later acquired by international art museums.

‘Stölzl Plate 106’ from the Gunta Stolzl collection at Design Within Reach. Gunta had an acute understanding of the rug in-situ and often created omni-directional designs that look good when approached from any angle.

‘Stölzl Plate 160’ from the Gunta Stolzl collection at Design Within Reach

In the early 2000’s, Design Within Reach released three rug designs from the Stolzl collection (unsurprisingly - how contemporary & chic are they?). So if you have a few K lying around, you can buy one of Gunta’s rugs for your own home!

- Tess x

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