Monday, March 12, 2018

Ethel Stein (1917–2018)

The weaver and sometime-puppetmaker Ethel Stein has died at the age of 100. From the New York Times obituary:

Working largely out of the artistic limelight at her home in Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y., Ms. Stein resurrected historical weaving techniques and merged them with 20th-century Bauhaus design sensibilities.
You’ll have to click through to learn about the puppets.

In 2014 I was fortunate to see Ethel Stein’s work at the Art Institute of Chicago. I liked it so much that I wrote her a letter:
Dear Ms. Stein,

I know next to nothing about weaving, although I greatly admire the metis, cunning, of Homer’s Penelope. But I was delighted and moved by the exhibit of your work in the Art Institute of Chicago. Your sense of color and form and your wit are just wonderful to see. The short film that plays in one room of the exhibit left me amazed at the many kinds of skill and attention that go into your art.

I don’t know how many visitors to the exhibit have noticed your address, which is visible on a letter in a photograph of your bulletin board. But I did. And I look forward to revisiting your work at the Art Institute.
Here is the short film that was playing.

comments: 2

Chris said...

I live not too far from Croton-on-Hudson, and from Googling her address I must have driven and hiked past her house any number of times. She may have had a view of the Croton Reservoir, which is one of my favorite spots. Needless to say I had never heard of her. It's interesting how many craftspeople are quietly at work around here whose existence one never suspects.

Michael Leddy said...

It’s a small world. I imagine that she was happy to stay right where she was, do her work, and let it speak for itself.