3. Jan 21st-27th: Weaving experiments#
The weekend before this week started, my mum and I visited the Anni Albers exhibition at Tate Modern in London. Anni Albers was a textile artist who primarily used weaving as her medium, and whose work straddled the boundary between craft and art, and featured a lot of geometric patterns.
I had been thinking about doing something with weaving and e-textiles as part of my project, so this exhibition gave me a lot to think about.
Some things I’ve been thinking about include:
- Alternating warp threads representing + and -, to embed leds
- Using some conductive fibers in the weft, weaving a circuit into the pattern
- Brocading conductive thread on top, so that only one side is conductive
Laser cutting tools for weaving#
For the past couple of months at TextileLab Amsterdam I’ve been looking at some samples of leather woven into leather, and thinking ‘oh, that’s nice’:
I thought this could be an interesting way to make a kind of textile breadboard or stripboard for e-textiles, where strips of fabric are woven in and out of the slots in the fabric to form a circuit. So I decided to cut some square grids into fabric:
I found that the grid on the left-hand side has the slots too close together, so that the fabric rips when yarn or fabric strips are woven through the grid. I also cut the grids in a stretch denim fabric, and tried a few different patterns in regular (non-conductive) cord and yarn:
My plan for this is to weave conductive fibers (thread / yarn / fabric) into the grid to form a kind of woven circuit. Or as a tool for making fabric resistors of different values, by weaving different lengths of resistive thread through the grid in different patterns.
Small hand loom#
I also laser cut a small loom out of leftover yellow acrylic, following this instructable:
Then I wove a mix of regular wool and conductive yarn, to experiment with weaving circuits. I haven’t integrated this into a circuit yet, but it should work!
I like the aesthetic of cord woven into fabric (like this work by Robin Pleun), so I’m wondering if I can make cord out of conductive thread, that I could weave into laser cut fabric grids. I laser cut a disc that’s designed for kumihimo, a Japanese method of braiding cord/ribbon.
But I never really got around to trying this out! I did make one attempt at using it to braid stainless steel conductive thread, but found that the thread wasn’t held in place well by the acrylic - foam, wood or some other more grippy material might be better.
I’ve uploaded a zipped folder with this weeks files here. This contains 3 Adobe Illustrator files for laser cutting:
- The loom, adapted from the Instructable linked above
- Two types of grids, and strips of material to weave into the grids
- The kumihimo disk