Jennifer Boldt has a special place in the history of Knotwe and the Fiber Textiles Surface Design Registry. She is our first member which at the time was a beacon of light to us as we tried to hope and see that there was an audience for what Knotwe is all about.
As with each of the Fiber Textiles Surface Design Registry members, we are eager to see the wonderful work and dedication by these terrifying smart and talented artists and designers. Early on, we sent Jennifer some questions wanting to capture what helped her find us, a tiny little light on a big horizon of fiber, textiles and surface design megaliths.
Jennifer's work continues to develop and represent a fascinating frontier of technology and fibers congealing into magic.
Your work is really diving into coding, integrating electronics and in
general technology into your weavings. How did this start and what
excites you about coding and being able to build complex projects?
Jennifer: I am currently an MFA student at the Open College of the Arts in the
UK and we are continuously being pushed to try new ideas and
techniques. Some of my earlier woven works used the ones and zeros
that make up computer code in the pattern. These pieces drew on my
fascination with the human brain and how it functions and stores
memories versus how a computer functions and stores memories. Other,
newer works, were influenced by artists using artificial light and
kinetic movement in their pieces. Using these techniques meant diving
head first into programming and robotics, neither of which I had any
experience with. I also found that weaving with atypical materials,
such as monofilament and fiber optics, presented new and exciting
challenges in my work.
Your weavings are beautiful and the way you are investigating
materials to incorporate with your work is clearly very important to
the work. How do you keep you investigation of materials moving
forward in your studio practice?
Jennifer: Thank you. Most materials I work with started out as experiments ---
if it looked string/thread-like, then it was fair game to try to weave
with. Monofilament was an easy one, my dad is a fisherman and soon
after learning how to weave, I wanted to try to make pieces with that
material. Other materials are chosen out of curiosity, what if I add
light to this, then I would need fiber optics...how would that weave
Tell us about your current exploratory project that you have been
covering on your blog.
Jennifer: The ‘exploratory project’ was something I was working on for my MFA.
The premise was to experiment with an emphasis on risk taking. Trying
methods that guaranteed success were discouraged. I decided to work
more in sculptural forms (playing with canvas cloth first) and then
moving to woven monofilament so the work would be transparent and
allow for light to pass through. I also decided to embrace my inner
geek and work with robotics for the first time in my life. I wanted
to create sculptures that embraced my love for artificial light and
kinetic movement. I found a tutorial online for building very simple
robotic parts and ordered the parts needed to try and make them work.
Did I mention I had never worked with robotics or computer programming
before? It took several rounds of ‘troubleshooting,’ but I finally
was able to make my pieces work! Hopefully this will be a successful
new direction for my work.
What attracted you to sign-up for Fiber Textiles Surface Design Registry Membership?
Jennifer: I discovered Knotwe and started making it a regular in my daily group
of websites. I enjoy that I can find out about new artists,
opportunities, books, and events all in one place. I am also a sucker
for goofy pictures of shorn alpaca. The membership aspect sounded
like a great opportunity to help others and be helped by others with a
similar love for all things fiber!
Check out some of Jennifer's latest work and her website: jenniferboldt.com