Eisengarn: the German name for this polished thread translates literally as 'iron yarn' and refers to its high durability and strength. The material owes its renown to Margaretha Reichardt. She made straps of Eisengarn to span across Marcel Breuer’s tubular steel furniture. The characteristics of the two materials harmonise perfectly.
Between 1921 and 1925, Margaretha Reichardt completed her training at the State-Municipal Artisan and Craftsman School in Erfurt. She applied to the Bauhaus in Weimar in 1925 and began her studies at the Bauhaus in Dessau in 1926. Margaretha Reichardt initially attended the preliminary course taught by Josef Albers and László Moholy-Nagy, then classes with Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky and Joost Schmidt. She specialised in the weaving workshop with Gunta Stölzl. Starting in 1930, she became a freelance employee of the weaving workshop and guest student in the free painting class taught by Wassily Kandinsky. In 1929, she passed her journeyman’s examination at the Dessau Chamber of Crafts. She received the Bauhaus Diploma No. 54 from the weaving workshop in July 1931.
During her time at the Bauhaus, she spent one outside semester from 1929 until 1930 travelling as an itinerant teacher in Königsberg, East Prussia. Reichardt participated in various projects of the Bauhaus, including the Federal School of the German Trade Unions (ADGB) in Bernau near Berlin and the Dessau Opera Café. Within the scope of her activities in the Bauhaus weaving workshop, she was substantially involved in the development of steel thread weaving – a fabric covering for tubular furniture. Reichardt left the Bauhaus in 1931 and spent one year working for the graphic designer and designer Piet Zwart in Holland. She ultimately developed a weaving workshop in Der Haag, of which she became the director. In 1933, she returned to Erfurt and founded the Grete Reichardt handweaving mill one year later. Starting in 1936, her membership in the Reich’s Cultural Chamber allowed her to participate in numerous artistic handicraft exhibitions, such as in 1936 at the Leipzig Grassi Museum. She received an honorary diploma in 1937 at the World Exhibition in Paris. In 1939, her designs for industrial textiles were distinguished with a Gold Medal at the Triennale in Milano; she was awarded a Golden Honorary Diploma in 1951 for her Gobelin tapestries that were exhibited here.
In 1953, she received the offer of a lectureship at the State Art School in Hamburg. She was distinguished with the Good Form Award at the 1964 Spring and Autumn Exhibition in Leipzig; in 1969, she received the Honorary Certificate from the Ministry for Culture, the Crafts Chamber and the German Association of Fine Artists for her participation 'with good achievements in the area of textile.' In the 1970s, she supported the cultivation of the Bauhaus heritage in Weimar and Dessau.
Angermuseum Erfurt und Arbeitsgruppe M. Reichardt (1995): Margaretha Reichardt 1907–1984. Textilkunst, Erfurt.
Eichhorn, Herbert (2001): KinderBlicke: Kindheit und Moderne von Klee bis Boltanski, Ostfildern-Ruit.
Galerie am Sachsenplatz (1983): bauhaus 6, Leipzig, p. 87.