Monique Levi-Strauss: Your earlier paintings, your actual sculptures, show an affinity to cloth. Like human hair, dog’s hair, flames and leathers, cloth brings to the surface some inner tensions. Do you agree?
Yes. I’ve always been excited by a piece of woven cloth. Whenever I think of weaving I include knitting which is really another procedure to achieve the same desired result. Something ancient and sensuous rises in me to greet and touch and manipulate this first of man’s refinements—first of his inventions not devoted to survival. If there is such a thing as a felicitous relation, master-slave, well it’s the certainly that the cloth will bend to your will, that it will take the form that you have, in your imagination, determined it to take. It’s supple, sly, always moving, often smiling, in fact something of an enchanter. I am always amazed at the weavers’ inventions. There are such myriad varieties of woven stuffs, from course hemp (not to be despised for many reasons) to the most ephemeral Egyptian cottons. How beautiful they must have been, those marvelous structures, so formalized, of folds and pleats that they devised to adorn the human body. They could not have achieved this without their diaphanous weavings, don’t you think?
–from interview with Monique Levi-Strauss, “Dorothea Tanning: Soft Sculptures,” American Fabrics and Fashions 108 (Fall 1976), p. 69.