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Marianne Strengell papers, 1904-1980s

Biographical Note

Finnish-American textile artist Marianne Strengell (1909-1998) was known for the use of synthetic fibers in her work. She was an educator and was at the Cranbrook Academy of Art from 1937 to 1962.
Born in Helsinki, Finland in 1909, Marianne Strengell studied industrial arts at a Helsinki university. She spent her early career designing textiles and rugs throughout Scandinavia but came to the United States in 1936. Strengell was invited to teach at the Cranbrook Academy of Art by Eliel Saarinen, a family friend. She began as a professor but became the head of the Department of Weaving and Textile Design after the retirement of Loja Saarinen. Strengell focused on texture in her weavings and often used synthetic fibers. She took many commissions during her career, including many for automotive companies in Detroit. Also, she exhibited her works at institutions and in print.
Under the United States government in 1951, Strengell travelled to the Philippines to establish weaving as a cottage industry. In the mid-1960s she acted as a consultant on textile production to the United Nations Technical Assistance Administration with her husband, Olav Hammarstrom.
Marianne Strengell married fellow Cranbrook artist Charles Yerkes Dusenbury in 1940. They had two children but divorced in 1949. Later, she married architect Olav Hammarstorm.