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Weaving Courses

Last updated on Mar 23, 2023

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. In these hands-on courses, students engage the primary vernacular of weaving—the warp and the weft. 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.

At the 2000 level this course is open to students in ALL majors without previous experience or prerequisites. Continuing and advanced students at the 3000 level focus on developing content and skill through in-depth investigations.

The following courses have been offered by the Textiles Program on a rotating basis in the last several years.

Hardcore Weaving

Using weaving as a practice of somatic mediation between analog and digital technology, this course explores the theoretical implications of complex weave structures as they relate to image, pattern, materiality, language, and the body. Using weaving design software in conjunction with multi-harness and computer-assisted looms, students are investigate the dimensional and pictorial potentials for abstraction in "block" weaves, the poetic nuance of narrative in "summer and winter" structures, and the interplay of color and structure in “color and weave.” Research, readings, and discussion on both written and visual works of art expand the rhetoric and relevance of contemporary textile practices.

Taught by Josh Faught, Marina Contro

Vagabond Weaving

As a means of liberating ourselves from formal studio constraints, this course invites participants to engage in woven cloth by any means necessary. Commonly understood as a controlled process bound by heavy tools and expensive equipment, weaving is, in fact, no more than the interlacing of pliable linear elements held under tension. We will begin by exploring mobile looms, including backstrap, inkle, rigid heddle, and tablet weaving. We will also consider alternatively constructed looms by way of found objects or architectural influences. Readings, lectures, critiques, and discussions will illuminate histories of weaving as a nomadic process, collective practice, and performative spectacle.

Taught by Josh Faught

Weaving to Dye For

In the current climate of “do it yourself,” the acts of hand weaving and dyeing have proliferated as expressive languages to explore function, conceptual content, and formal concerns including scale and sculptural form. In this intensive hands-on course, students learn the techniques of weaving on the floor-loom, the processes of dyeing yarns, and how they interact to create color, pattern, image, and texture. Techniques include pattern weaves, structures for textural and sculptural forms, techniques of creating pattern and image in the dyeing process, dye calculations, and the use of Fiberworks PCW for designing patterns and structures. Both traditional and experimental use of materials and techniques are explored, and cross-discipline work is encouraged.

Taught by Josh Faught

Weaving Past + Present

Since the turn of the millennium, woven textiles have experienced renewed interest within contemporary art and design practices. Careful examination of a cloth’s history, structure, and thematic interlacements allows us to better understand their specificity of meaning in the past and their potent capacities for new aesthetics, functions, and embodiments into the future. In this class, students draw inspiration from the lives and work of historic and elder weavers—such as Anni Albers, Trude Guermonprez, and Kay Sekimachi—using floor looms to weave cloth influenced by the pioneering artists who came before. Through woven homages, students are encouraged to challenge, subvert, or exaggerate the techniques and materials seen within historic pieces and intervene through individual creative concerns. Students learn to analyze and draft weave structures by hand, are introduced to digital design in FiberWorks, and experiment with a variety of weaving techniques.

Taught by Marina Contro

Zeros + Ones

Invented in the early 19th-century, jacquard weaving has a strong connection with the development of computers through the use of punch cards that store binary information. Historically the process was used to weave intricate imagery and complex repeat patterns. Drawings, photo imagery, text, and patterns can be transferred into weave structures using Adobe Photoshop and Fiberworks, which then can then be woven using CCA’s state-of-the-art computerized jacquard looms and AVL compu-dobby loom.

Any digital composition can be hand woven on our looms, providing an opportunity to understand the somatic relationships between material forms and immaterial information. Students are encouraged to explore both technical and conceptual concerns in their designs and each will have the opportunity to do hands-on work to realize their projects.

Taught by Josh Faught

Image artist credit: Meredith Brion