ATLAS Institute's Unstable Design Lab, directed by Laura Devendorf, will host its third experimental weaving residency this spring to develop techniques and open-source resources that support collaboration and innovation across the fiber arts and engineering communities. New this year, the lab will actively work to grow community at the intersection of craft and technology through inviting interested parties to a series of experimental weaving talks.
The 2023 resident will work with the Unstable Design Lab and other CU Boulder researchers to create samples inspired by challenges faced by engineering researchers, including spacesuit design, integration of power harvesting diodes, reusable textile structures for zero-waste manufacturing, and structures that dynamically fold and unfold to support mechanical structures or soft robotics. The resident will have access to the lab's TC2 digital jacquard loom; other weaving, spinning and knitting equipment; traditional and novel weaving materials; programming support for some custom software needs; the fabrication facilities available at the ATLAS Institute; motion-capture and high-end audio equipment in the B2 Center for the Media Art and Performance; and exhibition space to showcase work at the end of the residency.
First and second residency
The Unstable Design lab received more than 200 applications in 2019 for its first experimental weaving residency, ultimately selecting Sandra Wirtanen. Due to the pandemic, the residency did not occur in 2020 or 2021. The next residency began in January 2022 with selected weaver Etta Sandry producing instructional materials related to woven structure and its potential applications to engineering research. Due to unforseen circumstances, Sandry's residency paused in the winter and will resume this fall.
The large number of applicants for the residency reflects a growing interest in the relationship between textiles and emerging technologies, says Devendorf, who co-founded the initiative with Steven Frost, faculty director of the B2 Center for Media, Arts & Performance.
This residency is supported by a grant from the Center for Craft, Creativity, and Design, a nonprofit organization based in Asheville, NC, dedicated to advancing the understanding of craft by encouraging and supporting research, critical dialogue and professional development.
Laura Devendorf, Sasha De Koninck, and Etta Sandry. 2022. An Introduction to Weave Structure for HCI: A How-to and Reflection on Modes of Exchange. In Designing Interactive Systems Conference (DIS ’22), Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA. 629-642. https://doi.org/10.1145/3532106.3534567 (June 13-17, 2022—Virtual Event, Australia) [Best Pictorial Honorable Mention Award].
Laura Devendorf, Katya Arquilla, Sandra Wirtanen, Allison Anderson, and Steven Frost. 2020. Craftspeople as Technical Collaborators: Lessons Learned through an Experimental Weaving Residency. In Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’20). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 1–13. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1145/3313831.3376820 (Honolulu, Hawaii (virtual)–April 25-30, 2020) [Honorable Mention Award].