Since opening in June 2015, Praxis Fiber Workshop has been dedicated to supporting a vibrant community of fiber artists in Northeastern Ohio through educational programming and access to facilities. The full reach of our work and mission goes even further, bringing fiber artists from around the world to Cleveland to share their knowledge and techniques. Through classes, memberships, workshops, and partnerships with the Cleveland Institute of Art and countless other organizations, we engage over 1400 people per year with contemporary fiber art practices.
To celebrate Praxis’s fifth anniversary, we are raising funds to complete our Digital Weaving Lab with the purchase of a Thread Controller 2 (TC2) Digital Jacquard Loom. This specialized equipment allows the weaver the most intricate pattern and design capabilities in cloth. With the addition of the TC2, Praxis will be able to offer fiber artists of all levels with the most cutting-edge technology in our field.
As a center of fiber art education, it is our responsibility to showcase and make available the full spectrum of fiber art processes. The Praxis Digital Weaving Lab currently hosts three digital dobby looms, which are manually operated with computer assistance, but without a TC2 our offerings are incomplete. In fact, there is currently nowhere in North America outside of university fiber departments where a weaver can rent time on a TC2. Yet, because university fiber programs do have this equipment, generations of students are graduating with no facility in which to continue their explorations. By acquiring a TC2 and providing access not only to experienced practitioners but also emerging artists and recent graduates, Praxis will operate as a regional and national epicenter for fiber and textile innovation.
Opening the Digital Weaving Lab will allow Praxis to operate entirely on earned income. Revenue generated from artist residencies, classes, and individual rentals will help us sustain our staff and maintenance needs, as well as cast a supportive net for our main workshop and natural dye gardens. As an example, a digital weaving residency program at the Icelandic Textile Center recently purchased a TC2 loom and saw their residencies booked through 2021. While we can expect a small earnings margin with the equipment we currently have, a TC2 will greatly increase earnings, allowing us to ensure long-term operational sustainability.
- Promote Digital Weaving Lab across fiber communities and collegiate fiber departments across the US.
- Prior to the TC2 purchase, Praxis will reach out to artists, weaving guilds, and fiber art communities to begin scheduling residencies in the Digital Weaving House on each of the 3 existing digital weaving looms and the TC2.
- Acquire and install the loom in the Digital Weaving Lab – October 2020
- The TC2 unit will be ordered from Tronrud Engineering AS, Dept. Digital Weaving Norway, delivered, and installed at the Digital Weaving House at Praxis Fiber Workshop
- Residencies and classes begin in the Digital Weaving House.
why we’re doing it
The TC2 offers expansive creative possibilities that bridge disciplines and mediums. In addition to engaging weavers, we will develop programs for interdisciplinary research on the TC2. This way, image-makers of all kinds can use the TC2 to further their craft. Collaborative projects between fiber artists, photographers, painters, and digital artists have the potential to transform the way images are made, processed, and interpreted. By providing opportunities for these collaborations to happen, we aim to enrich the status of fiber art in the wider landscape of visual art.
In the time of COVID-19, we have had to rethink the ways in which we connect with our members and the community. Our educational model relies heavily on in-person, hands-on instruction, and we are working with staff and teachers to reconfigure our facilities and classes to accommodate social distancing measures. Of all fiber art techniques, digital weaving is best translated to partial remote instruction. Preparation of images in editing software such as Photoshop is essential to working on the TC2, and so instruction could occur online if necessary. This type of instruction does not yet exist in our field. Working on the machine itself could be done in rotation, so as to limit the number of people in the Lab at any given time. In the wake of COVID-19, and in anticipation of future moments where quick adaptation is necessary to our organization’s survival, now is the best time to launch the Digital Weaving Lab.