Designer Mahalia Curtis-Lundberg tells us why she is inspired by Anni Albers' rich colours, textures, and geometric forms
For the launch of the Made By Women x The Gallyry bookmarks, our Made By Women series celebrates inspiring artists through conversations with amazing illustrators. Check out the bookmarks over on Etsy.
Mahalia Curtis-Lundberg is an artist and designer based between Bristol and Norwich. Producing amazing illustrations alongside thoughtful poetry, Mahalia obviously has creativity at her core.
Drawn to the rich colours and textures of textile artist Anni Albers, Mahalia paid homage to the Bauhaus movement which Albers was an important part of. Attending the famous Bauhaus art and design school in the 20th century, Albers went on to forge a path for female weavers and printmakers all over the world.
Please can you tell us a bit about your illustration of Anni Albers?
For my illustration of Anni Albers and other women of the Bauhaus I wanted to create simple portraits which focused on fluid line quality, set against geometric forms. To produce the illustration, I firstly created a background of Bauhaus-inspired shapes using a painted ink wash, in this case a triangle and series of interlocking rectangular forms, inspired by works such as Black-White-Yellow (1926) by Albers. When these shapes were dry I drew the image of Anni Albers over them in pencil, using a famous black and white photograph of the artist for reference.
“The rich, sumptuous colours and textures of Anni's work are something I'm naturally drawn to.” – Mahalia Curtis-Lundberg
How does Anni inspire you in your work and life?
As a female artist Anni Albers is very inspiring to me, and also the way that she elevated weaving and textiles to being respected as an art form in its own right rather than a craft or hobby for women. I love textiles and surface patterns – my room is filled with patterned cushions and tapestries – and the rich, sumptuous colours and textures of Anni's work are something I'm naturally drawn to.
Having just been to Morocco as well, and surrounded by the gorgeous colours and textures of handmade Berber rugs and fabrics, I can see how Anni Albers was inspired by her own trips to areas of Latin America where I can imagine the senses would have been overwhelmed in a similar way.
Do you have a favourite work by Albers?
I like a lot of her work, but particularly weavings like Intersecting (1962); orange, red, and blue is one of my favourite colour combinations, and the burnt orange and cobalt here is beautiful, particularly with the organic vertical lines, reminiscent of water or a rolling landscape. I also really like her gouache designs for wall hangings, notably those from 1926, in their soft muted qualities and the way they give an insight into her design process, from drawing to finished weaving.
“It's a really gratifying feeling when you create something that you like or you're proud of, but equally the journey and the making process is just as important.” – Mahalia Curtis-Lundberg
Anni Albers once said: “Creating is the most intense excitement one can come to know.” What is your favourite thing about creating art?
I think that the process of creating art is quite therapeutic and relaxing for me, and a nice way to break up the stresses and routine of studying and everyday life. It's a really gratifying feeling when you create something that you like or you're proud of, but equally the journey and the making process is just as important. Being part of an art community and involved in collaborative projects too, like Made By Women Zines, is a very exciting part of it, as it encourages you to hone your creativity in new and different ways.
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