Alternative Weaving Systems

As part of an independent exploration during my studies abroad in Tallinn, Estonia in the Fall of 2017, I chose to use my knowledge of weaving and digital fabrication to create an alternative weaving system to create a new material structure.

Coming into the project, I knew I wanted to focus my exploration on three things: 

1) I wanted an end product that explored user-environment interaction
2) I wanted to focus on a system that would minimize waste
3) I wanted the system to be structurally innovative

Initial Sampling + Ideation

As an initial test, I lasercut the file on the left un a small sheet of acrylic felt and created a makeshift weaving system as demonstrated below.

The system transformed the originally flat surfaces into a dimensional surface.

Loom Explorations

Using the findings from the initial sample, I worked to create a system that could be built upon and were not restricted to the size of a single sheet of felt. 

I created a makeshift loom as shown below and instead of lasercutting a whole sheet, I lasercut strips of felt that could be "woven" into the warp with the help of a supplementary felt weft.

Makeshift loom set up

First round samples cut off of loom!

Understanding the System's Benefits

Through my earlier explorations, I began to notice the benefits of this new system of weaving. 

- Each "weft" system operates entirely independent of the others, meaning wefts can be individually removed or replaced without damage to the overall structure of the surface.
- The height of the wefts can also be customizable, as shown below, to create undulating movements over the surface that could serve ergonomic needs.
- The wefts were essentially self-reeding, as the spacing of the slits in the weft determined the density of the warp. Therefore, the width of the fabric could be, to a certain extent, controlled.
- The wefts are cut from a singular piece of felt with no post-cutting waste, as only slits and not holes are cut into the felt.

Continuing Loom Explorations

I continued my weaving explorations with various types of felt (shown below) and with different lasercutting files (shown above) to better understand the structural extent of the weaving system.

Felt strips lasercut from various types of felt

Second round of samples off the loom!

Final Product + Application

For the final application of this weaving system, I upholstered a prototype of an interactive seating object. The seat is only activated as a furniture piece when it use and it can only be used by two individuals collaborating and compensating for each others weight distribution.

The chair explores the changes in an interactive social space between the participants, the chair, and the space they all occupy.

This weaving system is a work in progress and I intend to further look into its more practical applications as a customizable seating system for transportation and interior spaces.

All watermarked images taken by Katrin-Matria Terras.

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