Friday, April 23, 2010

Help Support Osloom

The deadline for the Osloom kickstarter project is "looming" (sorry, can't help myself) and I am writing this post in hope of drumming up contributions. I know Margarita Benitez from a workshop I taught a number of years ago, and have been in contact ever since. She is a bright, energetic artist, a giving teacher, and an innovator. In her Kickstarter project, she is asking for $10,000 to create a computerized jacquard loom, which will be open-source--meaning anyone else can use her data to create their own loom.

If 100 people donated $100 dollars, she would make her goal. If 200 people donated $50, she would make her goal. Or if 400 people donated $25 each, she would make her goal.

As co-author of The Woven Pixel: Designing for Jacquard and Dobby Looms Using Photoshop® (written with Alice Schlein), I know something about contemporary digital weaving and designing. As an owner of a used TC-1 loom (the Thread Controller was invented by Vibeke Vestby and is sold through Digital Weaving Norway) I am fortunate to be able to weave the images I design in my own studio. Having travelled frequently to use other looms, before I owned my own loom, I know that there are opportunities out there, but travel and classes and materials can add up quickly.

As a teacher who frequently does workshops on digital weaving, I have run into many many many weavers who moan about the high cost of the available looms. So where are you all right now when there is an opportunity to support a new venture that could yield a solution to your desires? Whether Margarita and her team of experts succeeds or not, isn't a $25 or $50 or $100 donation worthwhile in terms of hope and moving towards a new loom?

I know there have been some negative remarks written about this project--and I believe these writers meant it as concrete criticism, nothing personal or mean-spirited--and I feel Margarita has responded in an even-handed manner. Please go to the Osloom sight, and read the debate, and decide for yourself.

Kickstarter is an all or nothing situation--if the goal for $10,000 is not met, then the pledges already made fade away. I am quite sure that Margarita will continue with this project, whether she gets funding this way or not, but wouldn't it be wonderful if the weaving community, which numbers thousands around the world, would come together and make her dream our dream.


  1. this is so very cool of you who already owns a jacq loom.
    i just do not understand all the negativity, i mean most people drop a twenty for 3 coffees at starbucks without thinking about it.

  2. It was a grant that enabled Vibeke to create the TC1 in the first place. I just love that weaving technology continues to grow, change, flourish. And if more weavers had chances to work on digital looms, our conversations would also bloom in new ways.

  3. We're trying to do our part on WeaveTech, too. I suggested that if each of the 1771 participants in the WeaveTech e-list contributed $3.50, Margarita would meet her goal. I hope that spurred a few more donations.