Weaving was my love: Anna Apinis

Anna Apinis

Anna Apinis

The third owner of the loom, Anna Apinis, whose work has won various awards in both the Latvian-Australian and Australian communities, was also a gifted weaver. During the day Anna worked as a bookkeeper in a Latvian bakery in Sydney, while in the evenings she wove fabrics for folk costumes, which were commissioned by Australian Latvians. Weaving was important to Anna for a number of reasons: it allowed her to make a living in her new home country; it gave her something to do while starting life in a strange environment; it also helped her family and the Australian Latvian community maintain the Latvian way of life and its traditions. Anna’s husband Ervins relates:

Whatever Anna earned through her weaving really helped…she always worked hard and wove costumes for every cultural festival – because of this, I didn’t go anywhere…. I was also interested. I helped make all the threads, and we worked through the night to finish the weavings.

Anna Apinis derived great pleasure from searching for Latvian designs and incorporating them in her weaving, as well as from the weaving process itself. She noted down Latvian designs and colour combinations in exercise books which she later used in her weavings and which Anita Apinis, Anna’s daughter, used to write a book about weaving. Anna commented:

These have been collected for years and years already, for various designs and requirements… Wherever some cloth with a design was found, it was noted down….since it was my love. Weaving and threads and designs…  See, these were all searched for in the camps, from different shelves and in various books, all of these designs. And over the years all sorts of colour combinations have been collected …and I’ve spent every spare moment looking for the designs. Latvian designs. No others. How I could use the threads…all of my life has passed in teaching designs.
Anna Apinis aušanas darbnīcā Memmingenas nometnē, ap 1947.g.

Anna Apinis in the weaving workshop in Memmingen DP camp, around 1947

No Annas Apines aušanas rakstu burtnīcas

From Anna Apine's self-made weaving design exercise book

Tautisko audumu paraudziņi, kurus auda Anna Apinis

Samples of traditional fabric, woven by Anna Apinis