“…you did that, and you were pretty damn good. ” –Jerome Ackerman
Evelyn Ackerman (1924-2012) was a prolific designer and a master of many mediums but perhaps is most well-known for her tapestry work. Evelyn, and her husband, Jerome, were prolific designers of ceramics, tapestries, wood carvings and more, and became part of the fabric of midcentury modernism and California design. Evelyn’s tapestries are part of the permanent collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
“Jung did not want to give any artistic responsibility to the loom.” –Päivi Fernström
Dora Jung (b.1906) was a nationally-recognized Finnish weaver and textile artist. As a child, her father gave her a loom to keep her occupied during frequent illnesses. This early introduction was the catalyst for her lifelong passion of weaving and textile artistry. In 1932, Jung graduated from the School of Arts and Crafts in Helsinki and immediately established Dora Jung Textil, which she operated out of an extra room in her parents’ house, using the family bathtub to dye yarn. In 1933, Jung brought home her first award from the Triennale de Milano Esposizione.
Not one to shy away from difficult techniques, Jung chose the complicated damask weave for her projects, but being an artist at heart, she moved away from the traditional, symmetrical patterns of subdued colors that damask was known for, and wove asymmetrical patterns and abstract imagery in atypical colors. Jung approached her weaving as a painter would a canvas. She applied “rule of three” principles to her projects; a technique typically used in photography or landscape painting. Her weaving method became widely known as the Dora Jung Technique.
Jung was known to be devoted to her craft, so during the 1940s, when linen yarn was reserved for the military, she used wound paper yarn for projects. During this time she collaborated with the Finnish textile company Oy Tampella Ab making household products, such as lampshades and draperies. This collaboration would continue until the 1970s.
In 1951, Jung won her second Triennale de Milano Esposizione award — the top honor of Grand Prix for her Kyyhkysiä’ (Doves) tapestry; in 1954, a second Grand Prix,, and again in 1957 for her iconic tablecloth, Viivaleikki (Play of Lines). That same year, Jung had her first major exhibition in Finland at Artek, the Aalto’s design studio in Helsinki.
From the 1950s onward, Jung received worldwide recognition and accolades, including Sweden’s 1961 Prince Eugen Award and the 1963 Danish Cotil Prize. In 1969, Jung worked with FinnAir to design a line of linens that would be paired with dinnerware designed by Tapio Wirkkala for first-class passengers on the new transatlantic flights to New York. Dora Jung’s work is included in the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection.