Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Ruth Adler Schnee

Ruth Adler Schnee is a pioneer in American textile design.  She was able to escape Nazi Germany in 1938 and found a home in the US in Detroit, Michigan.  She then was able to get a full scholarship at Rhode Island School of Design and also study at Cranbrook Academy of Art. She made a name for herself bringing modern design.  She considers good design to be problem solving. Ruth had designed drapes as part of her submission to a contest after the ending of WWII.  These designs caught the eye of car dealerships and she was commissioned to work on drapes for them.  She started a company called Adler Schnee.

Ruth took her designs from the life she saw around her. Pins and Needles was inspired by her sewing basket. Country Fair reflects Ruth’s impressions of the Mexican mercados she saw on a trip to Mexico. She found abstracted designs in a patch of weeds, flights of birds, the layers of sedimentary rocks, stacks of cordwood, or railroad tracks. Good quality fabrics were tough to get after the second World War, so she occasionally used tailor's interlining, with its coarser feel and sturdy weave, for her fabrics. In the 1950s, she started to have a large following of her work. Her and her husband ran a store that sold modern design home furnishings. Today, Ruth is 89 and she is doing a collaboration with Knoll Textiles and creating window coverings in some of her modern prints.

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