Wefts and warps and twills, oh my!

Today in class, Unravel the Code students explored traditional weaving on a loom and algorithmically generated digital weaving on the computer software Grasshopper.

The brilliant weaving-extrodinaire-teaching-artist Mary Smull visited to share the history of traditional loom technology and its evolution throughout the ages. Most notable, The Jacquard loom, power loom, invented by Joseph Marie Jacquard in the early 1800’s that simplifies the process of manufacturing textiles with complex patterns. One of the first “computers” the loom was controlled by a “chain of cards”, a number of punched cards, laced together into a continuous sequence. Descendents of these punched cards have been in use ever since.

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Smull lead a weave drafting workshop that gave our brain a workout in all of it’s mathematical complexities. We learned the “programming” of the weaving grids to help up understand the woven structure that we’d execute.

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Then we took our learning to the loom!

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While one group was learning about traditional weaving techniques, the other half of our crew was in the computer lab creating an algorithm with Ryan (using Grasshopper as platform) that would work as a loom machine to weave virtual textiles. Using similar structures, the students plugged in digital codes for warps and wefts to create woven “fabric”.

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We’re excited to see the application of these new skills in students’ work!

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