Thursday, January 13, 2011


After the exhibition in Ruthin I've been re-reading "On Weaving" by Anni Albers,
I particularly like this passage:

“All progress, so it seems, is coupled to regression elsewhere. We have advanced in general, for instance, in regard to verbal articulation – the reading and writing public of today is enormous. But we certainly have grown increasingly insensitive in our perception to touch, the tactile sense.

No wonder a faculty that is so largely unemployed in our daily plodding and bustling is degenerating. Our materials come to us already ground and chipped and crushed and powdered and mixed and sliced, so that only the finale in the long sequence of operations from matter to product is left to us: we merely toast the bread.

No need to get our hands into the dough. No need – alas, also little chance – to handle materials, to test their consistency, their density, their lightness, their smoothness. No need for us, either, to make our implements, to shape our pots or fashion our knives. […]

Modern industry saves us endless labour and drudgery; but, Janus-faced it also bars us from taking part in the forming of materials and leaves idle our sense of touch and with it the formative faculties that are stimulated by it.

We touch things to assure ourselves of reality. We touch the objects of our love. We touch the things we form. Our tactile experiences are elemental. If we reduce their range, as we do when we reduce the necessity to form things ourselves, we grow lopsided.”

- then, I watch this program (I am seriously addicted to the way he cooks, and the beautiful space where he does it) and hear Nigel Slater saying:

"making pastry by hand just gives me such's that whole tactile thing, the hands in soft flour...
when you think about food it's just an end product: you should have some pleasure while you're getting there..." is true that messages arrive from all possible directions!


Margreet said...

Doni, yes, I'm sure they do...

Meg said...

So that's why I was so addicted to baking this past Christmas season. I didn't particularly love eating them - so much sugar, butter and refined flour - but I was driven to bake.

I feel the same about textiles - I find myself pleasantly surprised and somewhat taken aback sometimes when weaving with a particularly nice merino.

I've been meaning to read Albers for a while - maybe now is the time.

Meg said...

And the cooking show I love is still Nigella Lawson's - I do like the way, albeit very staged, she eats. To me it's irresistibly primal and as she likes to say, "greedy".

sampling said...

Yes, and he has the best chocolate sauce recipe, too!