Inhaberin Ulla Schünemann
Born in 1904, Henni Jaensch grew up in Berlin-Lichterfelde, where her parents taught her to appreciate music, painting, sports and nature. Although she had originally planned a career in painting, a visit to a private art school when she was about 16 convinced the young Henni to find another outlet for her creativity.
She began following the 1920`s “Wandervogelbewegung” (Wandering Bird Movement) and moved into a settlement of like-minded artists in the Rhön Valley. While working in the Loheland Workshop, the 20 year old Henni first discovered her love of handweaving. Eventually she decided to make weaving the focus of her life`s work.
A semester of study at Berlin`s Textile and Clothing Industry Technical College convinced Henni to pursue her weaving in a less formal learning environment. The “Freiland-Siedlung-Gildenhall” settlement near Neuruppin proved to be the perfect place for her to learn more about her craft. There Henni was able to live, learn and begin her work as an active artist. From 1926-1928 she studied under Else Mögelin, a former student at Weimar`s famous Bauhaus School. Under Else`s tutelage, Henni reached an important turning point in her artistic career. She adopted the Bauhaus motto “Die Kunst des Weglassens” (the art of leave out”), and began weaving simple forms with natural materials and colors.
When the Gildenhall project broke up (during the world economic crisis) in 1932, Henni moved to Rangsdorf (near Berlin) and built a small wooden cottage with two rooms – one for working and one for living. In 1934, she passed her Master Weaver`s Examination - a noteworthy accomplishment for a woman in those days.
Henni`s first exhibition at the 1936 Leipzig Fair was overwhelmingly successful. Over the years, she continued to display her work at the annual Fair, where she received numerous distinctions and honors. As demand for her work increased, Henni outgrew her cottage. So she and her husband, photographer Werner Zeymer, moved to Geltow, where she opened her Handweavery. Her work was well-known and sought-after; Henni was a successful weaver and artist.
Henni Jaensch-Zeymer was a strong woman, always capable of inspiring others and filling them with enthusiasm for art. Troughout her life, she remained faithful in her work to her original artistic ideals. On a beautiful summer morning in 1998, Henni Jaensch-Zeymer passed away peacefully in the large garden behind her house.
After the founding up of the Weavery at April the first in 1926 in Gildenhall and a cuple of years in Rangsdorf, Henni decided to bought the quaint local Inn (built in 1880), and the adjoining fisherman`s house (dating from 1750). After setting up her apartment and personal studio, Henni converted the inn`s former dance hall into a weaving workshop. She filled it with eleven looms wich she had gathered from Poland, Bavaria, Pommerania, Upper Silesia and Saxony. The little fisherman`s house became living quarters for her master weavers and apprentices. Some fugitives lived in Henni`s rooms too, because of destruction during the 40`s. Behind the new weaver, Henni kept a few sheep and created a large garden where she grew flax and dye plants.
During the DDR years, Henni managed the formidable task of keeping the weaver going as an independent business. She continued to train apprentices and employed as many as eight weavers. Time passed and several generations of craftswomen came and went, working and weaving together in harmony. And the weaver`s products continued to be in great demand.
A new weaver, Annemarie Schünemann, came to the weaver in 1943 and quickly became Henni`s right-hand woman. Soon she took over as master weaver and worked and lived there for 40 years. Eventually, Annemarie turned the master. Since 1977 her daugther , Ulla Maria Schünemann, work as weaver to and passed her Master Weaver`s Examination in 1985.
In 1987, the 83-year-old Henni passed her weaver into the capable hands of Ulla Schünemann, the weaver`s current proprietor.
The weavery has been open as a museum since 1992. The buildings and all the weaving equipment inside are classified as historical monuments.
The former inn`s central hall has been converted into an exhibition and music room with two harpsicords. During the dreary winter months, Henni Jaensch-Zeymer began hosting concerts here for her friends, a tradition which continues today and opened for all who are interested in. The weavery`s oldest looms are 300 years old.
The other original looms are at least 200 years old, yet they all continue to function beautifully under the weavers`careful supervision. The handweavers demonstrate the historical weaving techniques and are always willing to answear any questions which the intrigued visitor might have.
Today material is still woven here in the style of Henni Jaensch, with the addition of an occasional modern twist to the materials patterns.
The handweavery continues to operate under Henni`s Bauhaus motto “ The art of leave out”.
The museum has recently expanded its offerings to include weaving and spinning courses available to the general public at all skill levels. Personalized tours for special interest groups, clubs and school children are also available.
Hours: Please have a look at: Kontakt.