Weaving Lab combines two points of entry into weaving: one considers historical models of local production and asks whether access to looms as a social destination within communities might create a contemporary analog to the “fireside industries” of old; the other conceptual side called speculative weaving, asks participants to approach the act weaving as an end in itself, and to consider time, rhythm, meditation, and materiality. Speculative Weaving is the term I have coined to encompass an approach that bridges the divide between craft-based traditions and conceptual work wherein weaving serves as the nucleus of community engagement and the catalyst for broad interdisciplinary explorations.
As a public site offering opportunities for tutorials and exploration, Weaving Lab recalls historical models of local production and asks whether access to looms as a social destination might create community and serve as a contemporary analog to the cottage and “fireside industries”[i] of old. Participants are encouraged to approach the act weaving as an end in itself, while also considering the act in relation to conceptual domains of time, rhythm, meditation, and materiality.
The Weaving Lab: Digital Residency engages jacquard weaving technology and artist, designers and researchers to use the TC-2 loom as a tool to think through their own research. I believe that by extending the access to the tool we might invent new textiles by engaging minds and producing academic discourse.
These Weaving Lab initiatives span the fields of art, design, and social practice, seeking to chart new material and conceptual territories, to innovate solution-based design, and to foster fresh modes of cultural production.
In the early 1883, William Goodell Frost, President of Berea College in Madison County, Kentucky created a program called “Fireside Industries.” This initiative was inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement and sought to encourage handweaving and to create a fashionable marketplace for the crafted goods. The program provided women with a place to sell the goods woven on their looms, inspired many other craft programs, and served as a model for other weaving cooperatives in the Appalachian Mountains. Floor looms were used for years in a cottage production of cloth but after the civil war, many families put away their looms as more industrially produced woven fabrics became commercially available.
Alvic, Phillis. Weavers of the Southern Highlands, University Press of Kentucky, 2003