May 29, 2013
A while ago, my friend Marcel, who works at the Technical University Delft and runs the Bucky Lab, asked me whether I could advise two students of his who want to weave some fabric for an assignment.
The general assignment was to create a sun shading device based on textiles.
Lotte and Leonard chose to create 'an up- and downwards movable 6-meter exterior sun screen on spindles with a transition from opaque fabric texture at the top to rather transparent texture at the bottom'.
Of course I was happy to help. When the two came to my house it turned out that they were well prepared - they had already studied the basics of weaving, knew the essential terms, and had put quite some thought into the requirements and possibilities for their particular project.
The goal was to create a piece a fabric that gradually changes from opaque to almost transparent, while keeping in mind that the final result was to be manufacturable industrially. Thus, hand-manipulated weaves were out of the question. We figured that changing the distance between the weft threads was the solution, and Lotte and Leonard plan to have 9 sections of different rates of transparency throughout the piece.
First I gave them my Flip rigid heddle loom to practice. Then we installed my 8-shaft table loom at the university where they started out with a narrow sample strip.
I showed them how to warp the loom and gave them a couple of hints on how to keep the tension homogenous. I am not sure how long the sample turned out to be because shortly thereafter they sent me a picture with the warp threads covering the entire width of the loom.
They got the tension near perfect - not easy with inelastic cotton warp threads.
I am excited to see the result.
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