Oral history interview with Adela Akers, 2008 March 4-6
Akers, Adela, 1933-
Riedel, Mija, 1958-
Art Institute of Chicago
Cranbrook Academy of Art
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America
Penland School of Crafts
Tyler School of Art
Place of publication, production, or execution:
Transcript: 113 pages.
Originally recorded on 3 sound discs. Reformated in 2010 as 10 digital wav files. Duration is 4 hr., 59 min.
An interview of Adela Akers conducted 2008 March 4-6, by Mija Riedel, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at Akers' studio, in Guerneville, California.
Akers speaks of her California studio; moving from Spain to Cuba at a young age; earning a degree in pharmacy before pursuing art at the Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois; her parents' businesses; struggling with English and becoming a citizen; the influence of architecture, geometry, and math in her work; her first big show at the American Craft Museum; working at Penland School of Crafts and Cranbrook Academy of Art; her several commissioned works; light and shadow in her accordion-shaped pieces; working with the Peace Corps and weaving in Peru; learning pre-Colombian weaving techniques; working on a commissioned project in Mexico with native weavers; experimenting with size and color in weaving; teaching at the Tyler School of Art; the influence of travel in her work; the qualities of jute, sisal, metal, and horsehair in weaving. Akers also recalls Cindy Cleary, Guido Llinas, Abelardo Estorino, Marianne Strengell, Ed Rossback, Glen Kaufman, Julia and Isiah Zagar, Joyce Chow, Katie and Billy Bernstein, Tom Suomalainen, Ron Garfinkel, Lee Nordness, Janet Taylor, Leora Stewart, Aron Siskin, Lewis Knauss, Agnes Martin, and others.
Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Adela Akers, 2008 March 4-6. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding for this interview was provided by the Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America. Funding for the digital preservation of this interview was provided by a grant from the Save America's Treasures Program of the National Park Service.
Adela Akers (1933- ) is a fiber artist from Guerneville, California. Mija Riedel (1958- ) is a curator and writer from San Francisco, California.
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001