Summary

Notebook documenting traditional Latvian weaving designs. It was kept by Anna Apinis, who attended weaving lessons in Liepaja in Latvia from 1930 to 1933. She spent hours at the nearby Ethnographic Museum recording traditional fabric designs in her notebooks. Anna continued compiling these notebooks throughout her years in Memmingen Displaced Persons camp in Germany from 1947, until she immigrated to Australia with her husband Ervins and son Erik in 1950. She painstakingly sketched and documented ancient Latvian designs from the regional costumes rescued by other Latvian refugee women in this notebook. She then wove them on her loom with threads gathered by unraveling old scraps of fabric. Anna brought her loom made from discarded timbers in the camp to Australia. Anna and her daughter Anita (born in Australia) continued to weave traditional and experimental Latvian designs throughout their lives.

Description of Content

Notebook documenting traditional Latvian weaving designs. It was kept by Anna Apinis, who attended weaving lessons in Liepaja in Latvia from 1930 to 1933. She spent hours at the nearby Ethnographic Museum recording traditional fabric designs in her notebooks. Anna continued compiling these notebooks throughout her years in Memmingen Displaced Persons camp in Germany from 1947, until she immigrated to Australia with her husband Ervins and son Erik in 1950. She painstakingly sketched and documented ancient Latvian designs from the regional costumes rescued by other Latvian refugee women in this notebook. She then wove them on her loom with threads gathered by unravelling old scraps of fabric.

Physical Description

104 page notebook with aqua blue cardboard cover, brown taped spine and red and white plaited cord assisting in binding the book together, along with staples. Pages filled with weaving designs both drawn directly onto the pages and cut out and adhered to the pages. Annotations in Latvian.

Significance

This notebook is a unique and irreplaceable record of Latvian weaving patterns and techniques, kept by a Latvian weaver and migrant to Australia. Along with the Apinis family loom, tools, textiles and other related items, it forms part of the Museum's Immigration and Artistic Practice collection. This collection represents an attempt to move beyond a solely visual appreciation of craft work towards a richer understanding of ways in which craft expresses and embraces cultural experience. This collection of art works, tools, materials, designs and oral histories deepens our understanding of the art works and artists represented in a number of ways. It highlights the importance of the process underlying the art works and renders this process more visible. In this way it contextualises the art object, not simply as an aesthetic object but a social history object created intentionally out of a specific process. The tools also stand as testament to the artist as worker, ie creation through effort and skill. They enable us to explore the relationship between the worker and their tools of trade, the symbolism and meanings which come to be attached to certain tools, and the employment of objects to create other objects. This notebook represents one artisan's efforts to document and preserve traditional cultural weaving practices for fear of loss due to the displacement and disruption of war. The notebook informed her own artistic practices transferred here to Australia.

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