There is no better feeling this time of year than little bit of spring cleaning! Knotwe turned one year old this month and where we began and where we are heading is quite exciting. In September, we launched the Digital Fabrication Residency which is a program that works with artists to teach workflows that integrate project ideas with digital tools. This includes 3D printing, CNC routing, laser cutting, textile printing and digital embroidery. One of our fantastic machines is a 10-needle digital embroidery machine that is capable of producing large scale embroidery by multi-hooping. Our residents have also capitalized by creating a portfolio of pattern design and textile printed images based from their studio practice that utilizes the innovative company Spoonflower. Residents are able to produce textiles printed on silk, canvas, cotton sateen among the many material choices available through Spoonflower's print on demand services.
A key foundation to our program is that there is no silver bullet to technology and project goals. Post production (finishing work) and understanding traditional processes as well as understanding material properties is critical and a lot of that comes only through a traditional understanding of working with materials and processes. Using a laser machine to create an assembly of parts that act as an armature or hanging structure for a weaving ( or creating your own loom, see our feature on Samantha Bittman's use of a laser at Haystack) or using a CNC router to create a surface design that can be used with felting, paper casting or as a wood block. Or use of a program such as 123D Make to create a flat pattern from a 3D or 2D design that you can print out at home or send to a pattern printer, these are all useful strategies for creatively approaching a project.
With all these ideas (and everyday we learn more) what is remarkable and what stands as a pivotal point now for creatives is not that these machines are purchased and become a staple in your studio but that knowing the process allows you to plug into the machines without having to own a 40K laser or deal with the hassles of maintenance on a 3D printer. Yes, we have a 3D printer and some of these other machines but what is powerful about having the knowledge is that there are a plentitude of service providers from Ponoko to Shapeways to 3D Hubs among many other competitors that you can literally send your file to and receive within a relatively quick turn around. If you prefer a more hands on approach there are FabLabs and TechShops and a host of other digital fabrication resources around you that you may not even realize are there and able to take your file.
Digital fabrication and CNC machines have been around for decades. Unfortunately it is mainly 3D printing that is receiving the bulk of attention and hype but the reality is that the computer has become part of the process for majority of artists in some way or another whether as part of the creative practice or a necessity for online presence via a website or utilizing a social media platform.
There is so much potential to merging tradition and technology and that is one of the reasons that Knotwe came about and we continue to develop Knotwe and the Fiber Textiles Surface Design Registry. In the up coming months we hope you will keep plugged in and certainly as always Knotwe is a platform for you, our readers so share what you are working on or send us a note.
In the coming weeks, we will be launching a new face to the Fiber Textiles Surface Design Registry as well as some new features and other info. Spring cleaning it is!