WORKSHOP | Weaving the Wind

MatterApp’s “Weaving the Wind” workshop captures the spirit of a tactile learning experience. Participants were invited to explore the conceptual and technical elements of woven shade structures by working together to build one over the course of an afternoon on March 20, 2010.

In the past, M&A members have built shade structures from trucker’s nylon strap webbing and rip-stop parachute fabric, following a strategy developed from string figures – specifically, the “clown’s collar”- to create a customized net. The technique, similar to lace making, optimizes a balance of form and function. Designs in the past used overhead streamers to create a gently undulating volume of unique and lively shade, while presenting minimum surface area to wind load. The Weaving the Wind workshop took this approach as a starting point, remaining open to improvisational inputs from participants.

During the workshop, participants collaborated on the design, inspired by ideas of spinning spiders and flying lotus. After deciding on an intersecting floral inspired pattern, construction of the canopy began. In nothing short of a whirlwind effort, participants wove together a tantalizing canopy that delights the passerby with its bright colors and dizzying design.

The canopy hangs above the Craft and Folk Art Museum (CAFAM) courtyard and incorporates modern design and patterns from the nomadic cultures represented in the current exhibition Bold Abstractions: Textiles from Central Asia & Iran. This exhibition originated at Mingei International Museum, San Diego Ca. and was curated at both Mingei and CAFAM by Rochelle Kessler.

CAFAM marks the fourth MatterApp project and canopy is viewable from the streets and is open to the public from March 20th until the end of May 2010.

Input:

From Bold Attractions

For millennia, nomads have wandered across the steppes of Central Asia in search of pasture for their herds and traveled along the Silk Road, which stretched from China to the Mediterranean. The exhibition presents mementos of this nomadic culture in a dazzling display of mid-19th to mid-20th-century traditional garments, personal adornment, and domestic accessories.

A feast for the eyes, this exhibition includes brilliant-hued Uzbek ikat-dyed robes and exquisitely embroidered Turkmen mantles. Boldly conceived Kyrgyz felted tent trappings contrast in texture and technique with smaller-scale Persian masterpieces in the form of woven pile carpets that once faced animal pack bags. Throughout the exhibition visitors can delight in bold designs in the form of highly stylized animal, vegetal, and cosmological symbols. With origins in some ancient, unwritten compendium, these motifs allude to abundance and well-being, basic desires of all peoples past and present.

Similar to nomadic textiles, the woven canopy with its voluminously bold overhanging streamers provides function (shading the courtyard), portability (reweaving it from the M&A courtyard to CAFAM with the same trucker’s nylon strap web), and aesthetics. The canopy exhibits various textures and techniques.