Weaving Lab: Plain Cloth Productions
Interconnectivity is at the foundation of weaving. Textiles rely on the principle that multiple entities that were once separate, like fiber or thread, can become interwoven together into one whole. In their weaving lab, Design Studies professor Marianne Fairbanks and her small team of students take the interconnectivity of weaving practices beyond just a physical sense.
Weaving Lab: Plain Cloth Productions, which is being conducted in the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, explores the ways in which the art and practice of weaving is entwined with the world around us. Over three months this summer, they will explore the intersections between weaving and concepts like labor, process, production, meditation, math-based structures and garment production.
Among the many experiments they will be conducting, the team is weaving what they call “hour towels,” displayed along the inner window of their space. The towels are made by one of the weavers working for exactly an hour straight, making note
of certain conditions like the mood of the weaver, the music they listened to while weaving or the experience level of the person working. The results are many towels of different lengths, all of which were made over the exact same period of time, illustrating the effect that external factors and human function may have over a labor process.
Community members are also encouraged to visit the lab and can sign up for hour-long sessions to learn to weave on the floor loom or join them for their public weaving workshops. Fairbanks and the students in her lab are as friendly and inviting as the sun-lit room filled with brightly colored thread in which they work. Eager to share their work and knowledge with the public, the weavers welcome questions and explorations from the public. With textile’s prominence in the world around us and weaving’s connections to concepts we encounter every day, the lab is a fascinating and unexpected way to engage with new ideas. Visitors even have the opportunity to set up individual small tapestry looms that they can take home with them.
Come explore The Weaving Lab:
About Marianne Fairbanks
Fairbanks is a textile artist and faculty member in Design Studies and her exhibition Impractical Weaving Suggestions was on view in 2016 spring in the Ruth Davis Design Gallery.
Support provided in part by the School of Human Ecology Design Scholars Fund
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