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Tie Up, Draw Down at the Center for Craft Creativity and Design

90% of weaving happens before thread ever touches the loom. Indeed, the accumulation of warp over weft is only one of many actions, including drafting/design, winding, measuring, looping, counting, dyeing, knotting, setting tension, and others. These actions formed the inspiration and starting point for this exhibition.

Tie Up, Draw Down explores weaving as a source for experimentation across media, genres, concept, and scale. Of the fifteen contemporary artists included in this exhibition, many hybridize weaving technologies, weave “the wrong way,” or adapt and innovate weaving processes to encompass new media. Others do not weave at all, but find a rich avenue of inquiry within aspects or stages of weaving’s complex field.

Artists include: Polly ApfelbaumJoell BaxterJen BervinFrancesca CaponeLiz CollinsMarianne FairbanksDel HarrowSheila HicksLoVidJohn Paul MorabitoDanielle MysliwiecMeghan PriceMolly SmithLaurel Sparks, and Margo Wolowiec.

Tie Up, Draw Down is curated by The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design’s (CCCD) 2017 Curatorial Fellows Natalie Campbell and Carissa Carman and organized by CCCD.

The CCCD Curatorial Fellowship is made possible by the John & Robyn Horn Foundation. CCCD is supported in part by a grant from the N.C. Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. Additional support for Benchspace programming provided by Sara and Bill Morgan.

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Solo show at the Institute for Labor Generosity Workers and Uniforms

Directional Twills, 2017

Directional Twills, 2017

Solo Show: Overtime

Institute for Labor Generosity Workers and Uniforms

Opening Reception: Saturday, April 8, 2017 --6:00-9:00pm

Marianne Fairbanks’s work in Overtime engages the binary logic of weaving, both metaphorically and materially, to question conventional value systems and political polarities.  Thinking through math, pattern, and language, Fairbanks presents bright plastic tape illustrations, screen printed posters, and a series of hand-woven tea towels. The work explores the relationship between time and production, probes the oppositions of binary language, and expands embedded mathematical patterns.  Both poetic and playful, the work encourages a deep engagement with our material world.

322 Elm Ave, Long Beach CA

I will be teaching at Haystack this summer, come join me!

The name of my course is Fiber Foundations and Futures

Beginning with investigations of textile structures, we will work with a range of experimental materials and digital technologies to translate the logic and form of those structures into new 2-D and 3-D work. For inspiration we will look to many pre-industrial textile technologies found in objects such as nets, armor, rafts, rope, bridges, fences, sails, shelters, filters, and kites.  We will cover techniques such as coiling, felting, weaving, netting, knitting, and crochet.  Once students learn how to create these structures by hand they will then use this embodied knowledge to interpret the process through the tools and technology in the Fab Lab including the laser cutter, CNC router, and 3-D printer.  Students will expand beyond traditional materials and processes to invent projects, tools and textiles for a new interdisciplinary and collaborative fiber future.

JUNE 11-23

 

A Chemist and a Designer Team Up to Weave Solar Panels Into Fabric

For years, fabric designer Marianne Fairbanks made solar-charged handbags. Her company, Noon Solar, was geared toward the high-end, urban-based fashion market and, at its peak, was selling in 30 stores in the United States and Canada. While Noon Solar closed its doors in 2010, Fairbanks, who joined the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2014 as an assistant professor in the school of human ecology, was still intrigued with the concept of solar design.

Once she arrived on campus, Fairbanks discovered Trisha Andrew, an assistant professor of organic chemistry now at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Andrew’s specialty is in developing low-cost, lightweight solar cells. Specifically, she had created an organic dye-based solar cell on paper.

The collaboration between the two began with an innocent phone call.

“I asked Trish,” says Fairbanks, “if we could apply her idea that she’d used on paper onto a textile. And that’s how our project started.”

“The way that today’s wearable electronics are created is a simple process of packaging,” says Andrew. “A Fitbit or an Apple watch—they all have a PCB [printed circuit board], which holds the little electronic circuit. It allows you to ‘wear’ that device, but to me that's not real wearable electronics. That’s only something that is patched onto another material.”

Their shared passion for solar innovation now has them working towards finalizing the design of a solar textile. While Fairbanks’s plans are to ultimately cultivate a finished fabric, Andrew hopes to take that fabric and actually manufacture marketable products. Andrew envisions fabric panels for heated car seats or even small solar panels sewn into a larger garment.

Historically, solar panels have been made out of glass or plastic—materials that are hard and can be destroyed fairly easily. Researchers first turned to textiles in 2001 in an effort to create a solar component that is pliable, breathable and flexible. Since then, solar fabrics have been incorporated into stadium covers, carports and even wearable art, but Andrew and Fairbanks claim that their fabric is superior to other groups’ in breathability, strength and density. Not only have they figured out how to utilize their process on any type of fabric, but because this is a collaboration between scientist and designer, they also have the ability to broaden the scope of solar textiles within a more commercial, consumer-friendly market.

“The biggest problem is that textiles, from an engineering and chemistry concern, are that they're incredibly rough,” says Andrew. “They're a three dimensional substrate; they're not flat.”

Their solar cell consists of one layer of fabric that has four coats of different polymers. The first coat is Poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene), or “PEDOT”, which Andrew and her post-doc research assistant, Lushuai Zhang, discovered worked incredibly well to increase a fabric’s conductivity. The other three coats are various semiconducting dyes, such as blue dye copper phthalocyanine, that act as the photoactive layers or light absorbers for the cell. Andrew and Fairbanks have achieved repeated success with the first two coats but are still working out the kinks for coats three and four.

Fabrics, as opposed to smooth and shiny glass or plastic, are porous, which makes evenly coating them with specific polymers a bit tricky. If you consider how a piece of fabric is created, it’s made up of multiple fibers twisted together. Each fiber will have a different level of roughness, which, from a chemistry standpoint, includes multiple light scales (nanometer, micrometer, etc.).

“In order to actually put the electronically conductive polymer over that surface, you have to traverse all of these different light scales,” says Andrew. “And that’s hard.”

To get around this issue, Andrew decided to try Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD), a technique typically reserved for inorganic experiments that use hard substrates like metals or plastics. By taking advantage of the mass transport properties, or the general physical laws governing the movement of mass from one point to another, Andrew can uniformly coat any arbitrary substance, including fabric, because the nanomaterials used don’t care about the surface of the substrate. Even better, she applies the PEDOT within a vacuum.

The next step was determining which fabrics would work best.

“I brought over silk, wool, nylon—all of these different substrates,” says Fairbanks, noting that the materials were standard samples from Jo-Ann Fabrics. To test the fabrics, they coated each one with PEDOT and other semiconductor materials, then hooked them up to electrode clips and wires. They applied voltage and measured the output current for each swatch.

“Some of them would warm up and take the energy and translate it into heat; some of them dispensed the heat, yet conducted much more easily,” says Fairbanks.

“The conductivity of the PEDOT was completely determined by the underlying textiles,” adds Andrew. “If we had a porous textile, we got conductivity higher than the copper. If we had a very fuzzy textile, like fuzzy cotton jersey or wool felt, or very tightly woven textiles, then the conductivity of the PEDOT was really bad.”

Based upon their initial experiments, Andrew proposed a glove prototype to take advantage of the various properties of each fabric. Essentially, their design used specific textiles to conduct electricity to warm different parts of the glove. The prototype is made out of pineapple fiber, which is very conductive and absorbs the heat, and cotton, which acts as a brake to keep the heat contained between the layers. This is the first item the duo has created that they hope to actually market.

“What’s really fascinating about this collaboration,” says Fairbanks, “is that we didn’t come together to create this glove, specifically. It was just one of these other side outputs of the original research.”

Through the process of research and development, Andrew and Fairbanks have experimented beyond their initial solar textile idea, which is still a work in progress, to another solar innovation that involves coating each individual fiber with PEDOT and weaving the pieces together to form the working circuit. This completely original fabric works like a triboelectric device, translating mechanical motion into power. The duo has constructed 10-by-10-inch swatches of different weave patterns, with the most efficient generating about 400 milliwatts of power, by simply waving it around like a little flag.

“If you actually made a standard curtain for a house, something 4-by-4-feet, then that is more than enough power to charge your smartphone,” says Andrew, noting that the material would only need a breeze coming through the window to generate that level of power.

Andrew and Fairbanks are working with several companies within a variety of industries that are interested in incorporating these ideas into future products. Andrew, for example, has an Air Force grant aimed at producing solar tents for soldier use and has outdoor gear in development with Patagonia.

“I get really excited, because textiles are portable and lightweight,” says Fairbanks. “They could be deployed in the wilderness for a hunter or in the field for medical or military applications in a way that big clunky solar panels never could be.”

Fairbanks sees boundless potential. The solar textile, she says, could be used for hundreds of future applications, including umbrellas, awnings and refugee shelters, while the triboelectric fabric could be used in housewares or athletic gear, such as running shirts and tennis shoes—anything that requires motion since that’s how it generates power.

“I’m excited to get it 100 percent functioning and out into the world,” says Fairbanks.






 

Catching Up: Marianne Fairbanks' Weaving Lab

                Gayle Worland, gworland@madison.com August 15, 2016

                Gayle Worland, gworland@madison.com August 15, 2016

M.P. King--State Journal Christie Suchomel, a recent grad of UW-Madison's textile and fashion design program from Sun Prairie works in the Weaving Lab set up at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery for the summer by Marianne Fairbanks. 

M.P. King--State Journal

Christie Suchomel, a recent grad of UW-Madison's textile and fashion design program from Sun Prairie works in the Weaving Lab set up at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery for the summer by Marianne Fairbanks. 

Marianne Fairbanks is still working on solar textiles, a project she and her collaborator hope will lead to the mass production of everyday cloth that collects and stores solar power.

In the meantime, she is looking for worn-out blue jeans.

Fairbanks, assistant professor in the School of Human Ecology’s design studies program at University of Wisconsin-Madison, is creator of the Weaving Lab that’s taken up residency this summer in the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery building, 330 N. Orchard St.

The Weaving Lab (weavinglab.com) is a drop-in, hands-on exploration of weaving, open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday through Aug. 25. A free, public closing reception will be held that evening, from 4 to 6 p.m.

“I wanted to call it the Weaving Lab because I like the idea of the image that it’s a lab where we’re asking different questions around weaving,” said Fairbanks, who has long been interested in the intersection between art and science. “This idea of not only exposing people to the process, but also asking questions about the process that I just haven’t had time to ask, or to answer for that matter.”

Fairbanks also continues to work with former UW-Madison chemist Trisha Andrew on concepts for creating solar power-collecting textiles. They are also now exploring triboelectric charging, where certain materials can be electrically charged through friction with a different material. (Think, Fairbanks notes, of the potential of a runner’s triboelectric charging shirt, where the runner rubs her arms against her torso as she moves.)

Fairbanks kicked off her collaboration with Andrew just after the textile artist got her job at UW-Madison in 2014. Previously, Fairbanks had run a company producing handbags that could store solar power. She was profiled by the Wisconsin State Journal in January.

“One of the things that’s a little disappointing is that Trisha has now taken a job at Amherst (College in Massachusetts),” Fairbanks said. “We intend to continue the research because it’s gotten pretty far, but she will no longer be at UW. We’re at a place where it doesn’t make sense to stop.”

In the Weaving Lab in the Discovery building, Fairbanks has set up several looms — including one that is meant to explore how long it takes to make an entire bolt of cloth by hand. Another measures how productive a weaver can be in an hour. A third is meant to be a “meditational” loom, to allow visitors to simply enjoy the rhythm and repetition of weaving.

“I like the idea of one loom where you don’t have to worry about time. You just sit there and weave,” said Fairbanks, who has received donations of worn-out blue jeans to be cut up for makingrag rugs and meditation mats.

“I think the most interesting part has been just how interested people are,” she said.

“Being in the WID has been awesome, because just the amount of traffic that pops in is really great, from young people to researchers to just people from across campus. In that sense, I think it’s really lived up to what I hoped it would be.”

The Warp and Weft of Discovery

The Weaving Lab will be open Monday - Thursday from 9am - 4pm through August 25th.

There is a new field of inquiry at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery this summer. The materials in this lab aren’t bio or nano; they are muslin, linen and cotton.  There is warp but it has very little if anything to do with speed.  As a matter of fact, the pace in the room is measured and rhythmic. In spite of these differences, the researchers are every bit as intent on the process and product as any wet lab researcher in the building.

 

Marianne Fairbanks, Assistant Professor in the Design Studies Department at the UW–Madison School of Human Ecology (SoHE), along with graduate student, Liz Kozik, and undergraduate student, Christie Suchomel have temporarily converted Lynda Barry’s Image Lab to the Weaving Lab: Plain Cloth Productions. This lab of five looms warped with simple yarns will serve as a site of textile production and exploration of the creation of simple cloth.

Fairbanks is interested in studying pre and post-industrial textile technology. The reality that the floor loom is all but defunct led her to consider the southern traditions of weaving. In the 1880’s, The Fireside Industries, a craft school at Berea College, encouraged women to weave from home and sell their items through Berea College’s networks. Earnings were credited toward their tuition. It was a way for young women to “earn as they learn”. Fairbanks finds production in relationship to education quite interesting. The idea of putting the floor loom to work as a site of production and studying production at a local scale is the theme of the Weaving Lab. 

But weaving’s history goes back much further: weaving is one of the earth’s oldest technologies. Evidence of the practice has been found in the Neolithic Era and recent archeological discoveries point to a possible Paleolithic origin.

Weaving is also connected to other modern technologies in unexpected ways. In the early 19th century, Joseph Marie Jacquard, a French weaver and merchant, developed a loom controlled by a series of punched cards to direct the warp (vertical) yarns in a loom to go up or down for each (horizontal) row. The binary concepts were eventually applied to programmable machines, and the earliest IBM compiler was founded on this technique.

No stranger to technology, Fairbanks is excited to be among WID researchers. She recently shared an exhibition at SoHE with the Living Environment Lab’sKevin Ponto. Currently she is also collaborating with chemist Trisha Andrew to create a solar textile. Being located in the Discovery Building is really important to Fairbanks because she wants passerby traffic, scientists walking in the door, and school groups coming through. She finds the contrast of the building’s cool glass and limestone makes the warm wooden looms look even more archaic than their actual age.

Through August 25th while the Weaving Lab is in residence, Fairbanks intends to explore five main questions.

How many yards of plain weave cotton cloth can be woven on a floor loom?

Can you weave an entire bolt of cloth on a floor loom? The lab will study time, efficiency, and labor. They will question the loom as a tool, the weaver as a site of production, and the weaver’s body in relationship to the loom.

How long does it take to weave a yard of simple cloth for an amateur or expert?

The weaving lab currently has a display of five “hour towels”. Suchomel created each of them within a sixty-minute timespan but under varying conditions: listening to different kinds of music, being interrupted, or having to reload the shuttle with more yarn. All the towels are different lengths and the assorted conditions are documented on the front of each one. As different people use the looms, the diverse collection is expected to grow.

Going forward, Fairbanks plans to create “album towels”. “We’re going to take albums that are about an hour long and assign each towel to that album”, Fairbanks said. “I feel like it (music and production) is so connected. I want to now be more specific about it. Being old school, I like the idea of [listening to] an album from beginning to end.”

What meditational value does the act of weaving provide when not tied to production but just as an act of creation?

There is a rhythm to weaving that lends itself to meditation. Fairbanks describes it as ‘you get into a sort of rhythm or a flow and you forget’. She wants to discover what the mind is able to think about when it’s in a sequence of ‘doing’.

How can we explore and invent weave patterns based in math structures?

Fairbanks really wants to reveal the numbers and the structures that are involved in weaving. The loom is a binary instrument. It the warp is either up or down. She wants to create connections between people entering data and thinking about the binary codes that they are entering.

Can simple garments be woven that need little sewing and create little waste? 

The lab will explore the production values of weaving garments with built in neck holes, buttonholes or selvedges to create the least amount of waste.

“Let’s keep our hands busy in a different way – have them making.”

-Marianne Fairbanks

The Weaving Lab will host an open house tonight from 4pm until 6pm in the Image Lab in the northwest corner of the Discovery Building. Although people are encouraged to stop by the Lab whenever the door is open, it will be open to the public every Monday through Thursday from 9am-4pm with a daily program at 1pm demonstrating how a floor loom works and weaving on the demo warp. After the program, visitors are welcome to volunteer to be a production weaver for the lab. There is a sign up sheet and lab members are happy to provide more information or a volunteer may contact Marianne Fairbanks directly. The volunteers will not create new projects to take home, but will add to the research already being done.

As a memento, all visitors will be given a small tapestry loom Fairbanks created on a laser cutter. The kit includes the loom, a needle for weaving and a comb for pushing the rows together (to “beat in the weft” as weavers would say). She created two varieties: one the shape and size of a postcard and another the shape and size of an iPhone. Fairbanks explained, “I thought this is something we’re very familiar with having in our hands, let’s keep our hands busy in a different way – have them making.”Next

Patricia Pointer

Futurescan 3: Intersecting Identities

The Glasgow School of Art, Uk

http://www.ftc-online.org.uk/futurescan-3/

I just got back from this great conference in Scotland. It was such a pleasure to present to such amazing participants and the keynotes were just wonderful. 

Carole Collet

Professor in Design for Sustainable Futures, Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London

Noa Raviv

Fashion Designer & Artist, Creative Director Noa Raviv

Paul Simmons

Designer & Owner, Timorous Beasties

Reiko Sudo

Professor Tokyo Zokei University, Design Director & Owner, Nuno Corporation

UW Profs Weave Together Plan For Solar Power Textiles

Andrew and her team are currently coating different weave types and structures with a polymer that increases the fabric’s conductivity tenfold. Once fully coated, the fabric will serve as the bottom electrode, and a base layer on which to build the rest of the solar cell. Photo: Wisconsin Energy Institute  

Andrew and her team are currently coating different weave types and structures with a polymer that increases the fabric’s conductivity tenfold. Once fully coated, the fabric will serve as the bottom electrode, and a base layer on which to build the rest of the solar cell.

Photo: Wisconsin Energy Institute

 

 

Trisha and I were just interview about our solar textile research on WPR's Central time!

Click here to listen to the interview!

Source: http://www.wpr.org/sites/default/files/sty...

Solar textile collaboration weaves chemistry and design

A new faculty member at the University of Wisconsin-Madison,Marianne Fairbanks is bringing decades of experience with dyes, fibers and design to the development of a technology she's been dreaming of for years: the solar textile.

"I found myself on a campus full of brilliant people of all disciplines so I just Googled 'solar research UW-Madison,'" says Fairbanks, assistant professor in the School of Human Ecology's design studies program and co-founder of Noon Solar, a Chicago-based company that made solar-charging handbags.

That search led her to Trisha Andrew, a rising star in energy research and assistant professor of chemistry at UW-Madison. Andrew draws from the fields of chemistry, materials science and electrical engineering to develop low-cost, lightweight solar cells.

Her most recent innovation is an organic dye-based solar cell deposited onto paper.

Fairbanks comes from the art studio and Andrew the chemistry lab, but the two women had an instant, if unexpected, rapport. Fairbanks, who arrived to their first meeting with a stack of textiles, got Andrew thinking about fabric and, by the end of the encounter, the collaboration had begun.

Andrew and her team are currently coating different weave types and structures with a polymer that increases the fabric’s conductivity tenfold. Once fully coated, the fabric will serve as the bottom electrode, and a base layer on which to build the rest of the solar cell.

Andrew and her team are currently coating different weave types and structures with a polymer that increases the fabric’s conductivity tenfold. Once fully coated, the fabric will serve as the bottom electrode, and a base layer on which to build the rest of the solar cell.

Photo: Wisconsin Energy Institute

"The idea of building solar cells on fabric is potentially transformative," Andrew says. "If we take this technology to grow devices on material, then we could talk wearable technology, as well as solar curtains, solar umbrellas, solar tents, or applications for the military."

Though Fairbanks and Andrew are not the first to conceive of solar textiles, their collaboration overcomes a manufacturing challenge that Andrew says is slowing the rollout of cheap, consumer-friendly solar cells, namely the early integration of technologies emerging from the lab with actual manufacturing processes.

"There's no one out there, there's no designer working with a device person trying to do this — that's us — and that's what really excites me about this project even today," says Andrew.

With a recent grant funded by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) and awarded by UW-Madison's Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education, Fairbanks and Andrew have begun experimenting with different ways to create solar textiles.

“I thought that was brilliant. I never would've thought of that. If we could literally weave together a solar cell: mind blowing. ”

Trisha Andrew

One project has materials science and engineering graduate student Lushuai Zhang using vapor phase chemistry to coat different fabric weave types and structures with a polymer that increases its conductivity. Once the weave is at least 10 times more conductive than it was before coating, the fabric will act as the bottom electrode on which Zhang will deposit two different dyes and a top electrode — the contact between the four deposits making up a complete and functional solar cell.

A second idea grew from Fairbanks' knowledge of weaving. Since the four layers of a dye-based solar cell actually don't need to be placed down in sequence — the point being only to create the right contact between the four components — Fairbanks suggested they try creating a spool of thread for each of the components. If Fairbanks could then weave those threads together, two electrodes and two dyes, the weave's cross-sections would also create the contact points necessary for a fully functional device.

"I thought that was brilliant," Andrew says. "I never would've thought of that. If we could literally weave together a solar cell: mind blowing. We're really integrating each step of the process, on the textile side, on the device side."

By this time next year, Fairbanks and Andrew hope to have developed a prototype using the coating technique as well as proof of concept for what Andrew affectionately calls "our harebrained weaving idea." Either technique could mean many more years of translating their different disciplinary languages to each other for the purpose of creating usable, even wearable, technologies.

"Science and art aren't too different," Fairbanks says of the project. "We're all experimenting. To get to do it together is a dream come true."

—Krista Eastman


July 29, 2015

Source: http://news.wisc.edu/23915