Woven Symphony, 2023
Video, sound, text
Woven Symphony explores the musicality of traditional weaving through a combination of historical research as well as contemporary technology. It explores the woven fabric as a map, and as a score. It traces the influence of the Jacquard loom on the invention of the earliest piano rolls in history. It delves into the shared principles and professional concepts underlying the structures and surface patterns in both artistic fields. The project seeks to decompose and reconstruct the common understanding of weaving and music history while using modern technology to interpret and illustrate the relationship between the two.
The music is created entirely from the weaving draft. To create different patterns of fabric, a weaver must set up the warp for the loom, design the threading draft and tie-up box, and hit the treadles with their feet in the right order. The fabric diagram created from the weaving draft can be written in numbers, translated into a musical score, and then 'weaved' into a piece of music. In Woven Symphony, seven different weaving drafts played by seven different musical instruments were arranged into a symphony. The number 1-8 represent 8 harnesses in the weaving loom and translate to the doe re mi fa so la ti and doe of a western major scale.
Essay “Woven Symphony: Exploring the Parallels Between Weaving and Music” read here.
Weaving structures from Carol Strickler’s ‘8 Shaft Patterns’. Special thanks to Bryan Away for help with the music arrangement and Evan Korte for editing the essay!