Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Computers in Weaving–Revisited

In a post earlier this year, I talked a little about using computer software to design woven textiles. This month, I’d like to address some common misconceptions about using a computer-driven loom. Some people seem to think that if you use a computer-driven loom all you have to do is put a cone of yarn in front of the loom, turn on the computer and go watch TV while the loom weaves your scarf. Even weavers have a lot of misconceptions about this.

In fact, the computer does precious little. I’ll go into more detail in my next two posts, but the process of weaving on a manual loom and a computer-driven loom are almost identical except for one or two relatively minor differences. The advantage of the computer is not as a labor-saving device but that it allows you much greater flexibility in the kinds of textiles you can design. One could argue that using a computer-driven loom is more difficult than using a manual loom because of the wider range of design possibilities that it opens up for the weaver.

I heard a great analogy about this: if you wrote your Great American Novel using a word processor, would you say the computer did all the work?

So, next time, I’ll show the steps that weavers need to produce a textile and point out the small differences when using the two types of looms. The post after that I’ll show you why we have greater design potential with computer-driven looms and what that means for our designs.

(This month’s blog editor is Larry Novak)

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