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Robert David Sailors Papers

 Collection
Identifier: 1995-93

Collection Scope

This is an artificial collection that was transferred from the Director of Cranbrook Art Museum. The materials consist primarily of correspondence (1989-1995) with the Art Museum’s Curator of Collections in response to a 1989 exhibition of Sailors’ work. Of particular interest are the “warp sheets” which include fiber samples that Sailors used for various projects. Included are several news clippings and photographs.

Dates

  • 1989 - 1995

Creator

Access

Access to the collection is unrestricted.

Use

Permission to use collection materials must be requested in writing.

History

Robert David Sailors was born May 23, 1913 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. After first attending Olivet College where he received a certificate in Interior Decoration and Commercial Art, Sailors received his B.A. in Art Education from the Art Institute of Chicago in 1938. He then taught art classes at Evanston (Illinois) High School and weaving at the Grand Rapids Art Museum through the University of Michigan Extension Program. During the summer of 1941, Sailors studied weaving at Cranbrook Academy of Art.

In 1942, Sailors received a scholarship to attend Cranbrook where he primarily studied weaving with Marianne Strengell. While he received his MFA in May1943, he continued to study here through the spring of 1944. In June 1944, Sailors became the Assistant Director and Instructor in the Weaving Department, a position he held for two years. During that time, he was responsible for instructing weaving students on the power loom which was installed at Cranbrook in 1945.

In 1947, Sailors left Cranbrook to establish his own weaving studio and company, first in Bitely then in Belmont, Michigan. Sailors was known for abstract design and for his combinations of unusual materials including aluminum strips, mosquito netting, Lurex, and bamboo. He was one of the first to incorporate bamboo and wooden slats into window shades, which he wove for restaurant chains across the Midwest.

In 1974, Sailors purchased the historic Cortez (Florida) Schoolhouse which he turned into a studio, living quarters, and community gathering space. Sailors passed away July 30, 1995 in Cortez.

Extent

.2 Linear Feet (1 MS)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

During the summer of 1941, Robert Sailors studied weaving at Cranbrook Academy of Art, and in 1942, Sailors received a scholarship to attend Cranbrook where he primarily studied weaving with Marianne Strengell. In June 1944, Sailors became the Assistant Director and Instructor in the Weaving Department, a position he held for two years. During that time, he was responsible for instructing weaving students on the power loom which was installed at Cranbrook in 1945. In 1947, Sailors left Cranbrook to establish his own weaving studio and company, first in Bitely, then in Belmont, Michigan. Sailors was known for abstract design and for his combinations of unusual materials including aluminum strips, mosquito netting, Lurex, and bamboo. He was one of the first to incorporate bamboo and wooden slats into window shades, which he wove for restaurant chains across the Midwest. In 1974, Sailors purchased the historic Cortez (Florida) Schoolhouse which he turned into a studio, living quarters, and community gathering space. The materials consist primarily of correspondence (1989-1995) with the Art Museum’s Curator of Collections in response to a 1989 exhibition of Sailors’ work. Of particular interest are the “warp sheets” which include fiber samples that Sailors used for various projects. Included are several news clippings and photographs.

Arrangement

This is an artificial collection arranged alphabetically.

Custodial History

This collection was once owned by the Cranbrook Art Museum.

Acquisition

Transferred from the Director of Cranbrook Art Museum.

Related Materials

Cranbrook Academy of Art Administration Records (1981-09)

Cranbrook Academy of Art President's Office: Roy Slade Records (1995-09)

Hilda Resnik Marcus Papers (2014-02)

Processing History

Processed by Leslie S. Edwards, 2017.
Title
Guide to the Robert David Sailors Papers
Status
Completed
Author
Finding aid written by Leslie S. Edwards.
Date
2017
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Edition statement
Resource record created by Laura MacNewman.

Repository Details

Part of the Cranbrook Archives, Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research Repository

Contact:
39221 Woodward Ave.
P.O. Box 801
Bloomfield Hills MI 48303 US