Constructed Textiles: The Fickleness of Interweaving Digital and Studio Practices


The challenge of teaching constructed textiles using digital tools interwoven with studio making practices, whether in traditional academia, on-line learning, or professional practice, illuminates a disconnect of practical application with newer theoretical ideologies. Whether the learner has a background in a digital or making environment they will be treading in unfamiliar territory and must learn the new material but must also break away from their perceived systems. As a method to connect digital exploration in a studio course, I teach Kaledo, as a point of design departure to create woven fabrics by utilizing the learners’ familiarity with fiber and cloth.


Normally while teaching digital design, lessons are structured to provide a cumulative progression of knowledge, however doing research with fibers and materials I engage in unstructured play and exploration. I’d like to engage in an experiment with the audience demoing Kaledo Weave digital software. I propose to combine an acting tool using improvisation to design, calling for input from the audience as the narrators of the woven design. They will make decisions on fabric construction, specialty yarn types, imagery, color palette and finishes to create an unexpected and collaborative end result.


At the end of the session there will be a finished pattern ready for construction. The audience will have empirical knowledge of how Kaledo can easily assist in patterning various materials in a design process that is just as much play as it is a structured digital tool. A collaboration of random ideas will ultimately convey physicality, and a visual and emotional expression in cloth. This unorthodox approach can create an obtainable means of teaching technology through ones’ familiar dress or preferences in fabric, in addition to defining what technology means in the broader context of design for both fibers and tools to execute products.


I aim to make a physical product from the collaborative design produced in this demonstration, by working with a local weaver and spinner for production into cloth suitable for wearable, non-wearable, accessory or houseware products. In addition I would like to refine this pedagogical approach in order to immediately engage reluctant students into a personal process of digital exploration.