Adela Akers

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Adela Akers (born February 7, 1933, Santiago de Compostela, Spain) is a Spanish-born textile and fiber artist.[1] She is Professor Emeritus (1972 to 1995) at the Tyler School of Art.[2] Her career as an artist spans the "whole history of modern fiber art."[3] Her work is in the Renwick Gallery, the Metropolitan Museum of Art,[4] and the Museum of Art and Design.Her papers (2.6 linear feet, dating from 1960 to 2009) are at the Archives of American Art.[5]


Akers was born on February 7, 1933, in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. She was raised in Cuba, her mother was a trained seamstress, and later she and her husband had a small import business in Havana, Cuba.[6] Akers' exposure to business practices through her family helped her later in life to run her own small art business.[6] She has one brother who later became an accountant in Chicago.[6]

Akers graduated from the University of Havana with a degree in Pharmacy. She had wanted to have a practical job, especially because her parents had helped her get through school.[6] However, later, Akers found she was bored with pharmacy work.[6] In Havana, she met a group of artists who called themselves Los Once (The Eleven) who encouraged her to make art.[6] Akers started taking art classes because of the suggestion of Los Once and she went to study in Chicago in 1957.[6]

She studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, even though at first her English wasn't as strong as she wished.[6] At the Institute she was introduced to weaving.[6] Later she studied at Cranbrook Academy of Art where she finished in 1963. She was a weaver-in-residence at Penland School of Crafts.[7]

In 1965, she went to a small town, Chota, in northern Peru with a government program as a weaving advisor.[6]

She lives in Guerneville, California.


Her weavings consist of zigzags, checkerboard patterns, and simple geometric shapes.[8] Akers’s work has been influenced and informed by pre-Columbian textiles and paintings by women of the Mbuti[9] (Ituri Forest in the Democratic Republic of the Congo). Pre-Columbian work, especially appealed to Akers because she saw math and geometry in it.[6] Akers is also very attached to using a loom for the same reasons, because the loom is very mathematical.[6]

Journeying from one point to another has been a physical and transformative reality in her life, increasing her self-confidence and expanding her vision of the world. These geographical voyages have enabled her to experience the broad horizons and quiet strength of country living, the power of nature, and the palpitating rhythm of cities. While travel has enlarged her perspective, her work expresses the sense of journey itself, rather than alluding to a specific site or sense of place.[10]

Akers works in series, with each piece informing the next.[6]



  1. ^ "Adela Akers". Archived from the original on 2016-05-23. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  2. ^ "Artists, Adela Akers". Retrieved 2015-05-07.
  3. ^ Carr, Jr., Francis (19 April 2015). "Historic Wilton Barn Hosts Rare Fiber Art Exhibition". The Hour. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  4. ^ "Night Pyramid Adela Akers". The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved 22 January 2014.
  5. ^ Archives of American Art. "Summary of the Adela Akers papers, 1960-2009". Archives of American Art. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 2014-03-19.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Riedel, Mija (March 2008). "Oral history interview with Adela Akers, 2008 March 4-6". Archives of American Art. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  7. ^ "Adela Akers". Spark. KQED Public Media. May 2007. Retrieved 2014-03-19.
  8. ^ "Summary of the Adela Akers papers, 1960-2009". Archives of American Art. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 2015-05-07.
  9. ^ "Stimulus Exhibition at browngrotta arts in October Features Art Textiles, Ceramics and Sculpture by 55 International Artists". PR Web. 26 September 2011. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  10. ^ a b "August Artist-in-Residence: Adela Akers: Traced Memories". de Young Artist Studio. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  11. ^ "Snyderman-Works Galleries". Retrieved 2015-05-07.
  12. ^ "Current - Snyderman-Works Galleries". 2015-05-01. Retrieved 2015-05-07.
  13. ^ "Fiber Art by Adela Akers". Sonoma County Museum. Archived from the original on February 2, 2016. Retrieved June 3, 2016.
  14. ^ "Adela Akers, Textiles". Archived from the original on April 19, 2010. Retrieved July 18, 2011.
  15. ^ "Adela Akers, Recent Works". Archived from the original on September 28, 2011. Retrieved July 18, 2011.

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