I’ve been having a predicament in my jacquard class. Which turns out to be very similar to the issues I was wrestling with in my CNC class. As a maker, I’ve been struggling with how to make things in this class that is all about a machine. The jacquard itself isn’t very flexible for improve or experimentation—in fact it is very finicky. Also, because it is digital you cannot change the color or type of warp threads.
I initially was considering trying to knit wooden stirrers into the machine to reference a technique used in items found in the house, like blinds, but also the likeness that a woven cloth has to wood (both as something with fibers) and something that retains some warmth. I chose a rough thick thread to try and create the wood grain. The pattern is nearly indiscernible, but it does have a grain like texture.
As I was working concurrently on other projects, I came to thinking about the flat material I was making as something I could stuff. At the same time I was coming across a lot of futuristic dystopian references; I came up with the idea for a flat packed bear— in part, because of my exposure to the prevalence of flat pack design—- the idea of the bear as a joke flat pack item seemed amusing. However, I also made this connection to the idea of a dystopian product of a bear that was mailed easily and stashed away easily—-something easier for a child to bring with them when they are fleeing their war-torn/flooded neighborhood. I thought the image of the bear should come from a source of heritage, not just a trompe l’oeil of a traditional bear. When I was younger, I was taken to antique shops frequently and there I would see these creepy vintage bears, with distorted proportions. I chose to use a bear like this, but in a fresh material to reference a passing of time and changed mentality. I chose a fluffy pile, but it still pulled in pretty tightly.
I did an experiment with lanyard. It looks like nothing. Like the wood experiment, I was curious as to whether I could sneak in a hard material— something with more structure that I could manipulate. I chose clear because I thought I might be able to create interesting optical effects. Because the loom puts the threads that are not showing on the back the clear spots are not discernible. wahwahwah.
In progress. (Weavings and picture of a piece on the loom)
First attempt at braid chair. 20 hours of weaving. The long piece on the right is too elongated.
update: Have rewoven and will assemble!
I have realized that in order to feel like I am making anything in jacquard I need to treat my finished woven pieces as scrap material.
Because you cannot weave large amounts of fabric on the loom (we use the same one and it is slow) I chose the format of woven straps. Apart from the structural practicality of minimal cutting out of cloth that unravels fairly easily, I knew that with straps, and because of the looms software capabilities, I could manipulate any image I could weave.
Since beginning my work in fibers I’ve been finding relationships between woven structures and the process of weaving, and just about every other type of not-soft construction. I’d had the idea of the braid in my mind, and I recognized it’s relationship to cloth, but also saw the potential for a visual pun (weaving straps into the image of a braid.) This led me to the graphic lawn chair style chair.
The chair holds itself together in the process of doing it’s job, holding a persons weight. If you pick it up and jostle it, it comes apart. This could turn into the adult version of the teenager/dormroom butterfly chair?
Jankiest drawing and prototype ever. Sometimes (my always) you have ideas when you are not prepared to have them. Great thanks to UPS and Bic.
Roman/folding chair prototype with test seat. From this prototype I realized that this chair wasn’t going to be the ultra-casual, light-wood and tan leather, directors chair inspired breakfast table chair I had originally envisioned. I also realized that though the design needed support that the three leg design gave it, I really wanted only two. In order to make the arms and legs line up and give it support, I was going to have to design intersecting pieces, and hidden added internal support.
In my haste to meet the $5 dollar minimum at the corner store I bought an energy drink, and spent the longest night drawing ideation sketches of things for my CNC class. These are the drawings that led up to chair.
I chose a folding chair because I appreciate the humble-ness of a piece of furniture that adapts for you. I chose a juvenile or unprofessional type of furniture to make something that still references the juvenile, but is made with more refined materials—-something that speaks to simple beauty of the juvenile as an adult. I know, Freud.
(Graphic representations of the basic repeatable forms I found could be derived from a braid structure. Research/inspiration board)
I find myself using the braid motif and patterning a lot recently. (I think this was originally sparked by my weaving class, where we look at graphics of woven structures on the computer all day.) The braid is a clunky modest construction, it is transparent and direct. The braid motif, for me, has come to represent the juvenile, feminine, tactile, and unabashedly decorative. The braid summarizes my feelings about my junior status as a designer, position as a woman designer, and transition into design from the fine arts rather than architecture.
My braid chair came about through my explorations of this form while designing through the parameters of flatpack construction furniture. The form I developed, I discovered, was very reminiscent of ancient Roman chairs— some of the first chairs built to be easily moved about. I took this early aspect of functionality and added to it the modern cnc capabilities and hardware that can make it even more transportable.