WE1: The Structured Image

In the contemporary movements of the handmade, the act of weaving has proliferated as an expressive, experimental language to explore formal concerns, concept, materiality, performance, function, and cross-disciplinary intervention. As one of the oldest forms of material culture, weaving has the unique ability to negotiate boundaries between structure, cultural histories, and the body-notions critical to dialogues surrounding contemporary practice. Through basic and advanced level coursework students engage the primary vernacular of weaving-the warp and the weft-to produce tension, pattern, color, texture, image, and sculptural form. Computer-assisted looms and design software are introduced as a means to explore the relevance of analog processes in a technological world as well as a way to envision cloth as an instrument of new media.

From "spinning a tale" to "weaving a story," the loom has long been an instrument of story telling and chronicling. Unlike imagery achieved through painting or printing, the interaction of multiple threads allows for a structural and material-based approach to narrative that can produce subtle, yet visceral results. In this intensive hands-on course, students learn the basic techniques of weaving cloth and explore the ways in which this multi-sensory medium can be used to construct storylines through image, material, and metaphor. Through instruction in hands-on weaving techniques (hand-painted warps, pick-up, tapestry, double cloth), presentations, and readings, students explore the unique narrative potential of the medium. Students learn to design innovative weave structures using the computer design program WeaveMaker Pro.