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Women and architecture :
b remaking shelter through woven tectonics
h [electronic resource] /
by Kirsten Dahlquist.
[Tampa, Fla] :
University of South Florida,
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Thesis (M.Arch.)--University of South Florida, 2010.
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ABSTRACT: Weaving and architecture, conceived simultaneously with cave paintings, are two ancient forms of craft used to enclose space and provide shelter harmoniously with nature. In its basic composition, a useable textile is the interlacing of two members, warp and weft, at right angles to create structure and surface respectively. Textile artist Anni Albers of the Bauhaus attributes the organization of weaving to the skills of an ancient goddess. Her understanding of prehistoric cultures further links women closer to the overall creation of structure, though perceived as a masculine endeavor. Consequently, early advancements in architecture, the structural organization of shelter, are a result of feminine inventions. Moreover, it has been the female who has been entrusted with emotional and sensual elements of shelter since prehistory. Through the creation of a home, woman's mastery of the domestic realm strengthened and led to gender-defining ideologies. Suburban typologies of the post-war United States heightened the feminine domestic role through social and environmental isolation of the gender. The suburbs ironically conditioned an alternative sentiment of the built environment featuring ideals of tradition, sustenance, and continuity with nature. In the modern era, weaving and architecture have devolved to be similarly designed and chosen for aesthetic qualities only. Textiles are produced for an indoor existence with weaving traditions unchanged and innovation seen in synthetic fibers. Modern shelter is chosen and constructed using inefficient practices popularized in the 1950s, with advancements only in materiality. Both disciplines overlook their feminine link and mutual advantages of protection, flexibility, user connection, tactile engagement, and environmental impact. As a result of this disregard, the capacity of the planet suffers due to outdated and unsustainable residential building practices, while quality of life degrades due to the inabilities of built spaces to nurture and engage inhabitants effectively. Based on eco-maternalist philosophies within architecture and the structural, spatial, and tactile qualities of weaving, these crafts can again interlock into a modern, efficient construction of shelter. The time has come to rethink building design and the feminine integration of weaver and architect provides a foundation for the discovery of an appropriate assembly for the next generation
Advisor: Mark Weston, M.Arch.
Weaving Shelter Feminism Textiles Nature
x School of Architecture and Community Design
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.
Women and Architecture: Re-Making Shelter Through Woven Tectonics by Kirsten Lee Dahlquist A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Architecture School of Architecture and Community Design College of The Arts University of South Florida Major Professor: Mark Weston, M.Arch. Stanley Russell, M.Arch. Stephen Szutenbach, M.Arch. Date of Approval: March 24, 2010 Keywords: Weaving, Shelter, Feminism, Textiles, Nature Copyright 2010, Kirsten Lee Dahlquist
Dedication This thesis is dedicated to female architects working to sustain life for our children and grandchildren. These women pos sess the capacity and the spirit for change.
Acknowledgements I would like to thank the divine guidance of Anni Albers, th century. We never knew each other, but at the loom, Anni is always with me. I would also like to thank the supportive family and friends who used their hands to make this thesis dream a reality.
i List of Figures iii Abstract ix Chapter One : Initial Project Researc h Introduction 1 Connections of Weaving and Architecture 2 Making Shelter and the Implications on Women 7 Chapter Two : Case Studie s The Bedouin Tent 1 2 The Spanish Pavilion 1 5 The Textile Works of Anni Albers 1 8 The Cellophane House 2 2 The Textile Works of Julia Sherman 2 4 Chapter Three : Expanded Project Narrativ e Maternal Design 2 7 Table of Contents Expression of Culture Through Our Objects 3 1 Working with the Hands and the Handmade 3 7 Chapter Four : Initial Woven Experiment s Preparation for Work One 4 1 Work One: Untitled 4 3 Selected Preparation for Work Two 4 6 Work Two: Untitled 4 7 Chapter Five : Project Initiative s Problem Statement 5 1 Goals and Objectives 5 2 Chapter Six : Progra m Design Criteria 5 4 Locational Implications 5 6 Chapter Seven : Preliminary Design Concept s Weaving Meaning into Design 5 9 Preparation for Work Three 6 0 Work Three: Embedded Meaning 6 2 Maternal Structure Guidelines 7 0 Woven Shelter Concepts 7 1
ii Chapter Eight : Project Executio n Final Design Exploration 7 4 The Making Day 7 7 Post-Making Day Analysis 7 9 Conclusions 8 1 Chapter Nine : P roject Graphic s Prototype Design and Erection 8 3 Images of the Weaving Performance Day 9 7 Images of the Final Construct 10 7 References Cite d 114 Appendi x Appendix A: Communication of Ideas 11 9
iii List of Figures Figure 1. Diagram of connections between weaving, women and architecture. 4 5 6 0 Figure 6. Lakewood, California, mid 1950s. 1 1 Figure 5. Ladies Home Journal 1955. 1 1 Figure 7. Bedouin tent descriptive graphic. 1 3 Figure 8. Spanish Pavilion descriptive graphic. 1 6 Figure 9. Anni Albers descriptive graphic. 1 9 Figure 10. Cellophane House descriptive graphic. 2 2 Figure 11. Julia Sherman descriptive graphic. 2 4 Figure 12. Sample of ancient Peruvian weaving. 3 1 3 2 1 Figure 15. Measuring warp. 4 1 Figure 16. Making the cross. 4 1 in dents. 4 1 Figure 18. Fibers then inserted into heddles. 4 1 2 Figure 20. All bunches tied to back rod. 4 2 2 2 section weft. 4 3 Figure 24. Twill weave. 4 3 Figure 25. Plain weave with blue weft. 4 3 Figure 26. Plain weave with yellow weft. 4 4 Figure 27. Selvedge or end condition of weave. 4 4 Figure 28. Plain weave with alternating yellow and blue weft. 4 4 Figure 29. Twill weave with chunky weft. 4 5 Figure 30. Alternating, long-run twill weave. 4 5 Figure 31. Alternating, short-run twill weave. 4 5
iv 6 6 6 6 Figure 35. Alternating colors through beater. 4 6 as weft. 4 7 Figure 38. Cellophane weft in plan weave. 4 7 Figure 39. Hooking different wefts and changing direction. 4 7 Figure 40. Detail of hooking 4 8 Figure 41. Allowing jute weft to raise from twodimensional plane. 4 8 Figure 42. Increased amount of jute weft to raised from two-dimensional plane. 4 9 Figure 43. Detail of raised jute. 4 9 Figure 44. One directional twill weave detail. 4 9 Figure 45. Detail of jute. 5 0 Figure 46. Loose twill weave with metal mesh inserted. 5 0 Figure 47. Warping metal mesh after fabric is removed from loom. 5 0 Figure 48. Space memory details. 5 9 Figure 49. Emotional memory details. 5 9 Figure 50. Physical memory details. 5 9 Figure 51. Material memory details. 5 9 Figure 52. Setting up large weaving; tying onto front beam. 6 0 beam. 6 0 heddles. 6 0 1 Figure 56. Winding the warp onto the back roller. 6 1 Figure 57. Warp ready for weft. 6 1 as weft. 6 2 metal rods as weft. 6 2 Figure 60. Fishing line and meaningful relatives tie as weft. 6 3 tie as weft. 6 3 Figure 62. Untitled weave pattern with chunky and fuzzy weft. 6 4
v 9 Figure 79. Graphic of maternal structural constants. 7 0 Figure 80. Diagram of design criteria for maternal structure. 7 0 Figure 81. Diagram of design criteria for maternal structure. 7 1 Figure 83. Diagram of design criteria for maternal structure. 7 1 Figure 82. Diagram of design criteria for maternal structure. 7 1 Figure 84. Diagram of design criteria for maternal structure. 7 2 Figure 85. Diagram of design criteria for maternal structure. 7 2 Figure 86. Diagram of design criteria for maternal structure. 7 2 Figure 87. Diagram of design criteria for maternal structure. 7 3 Figure 88. Overhead diagram of human body connected to backstrap loom. 8 3 Figure 89. Making images from actual use of backstrap loom. 8 3 Figure 90. Elevational diagram of human body using backstrap loom. 8 3 Figure 63. Detail of untitled weave pattern with chunky and fuzzy weft. 6 4 plastic rod as weft. 6 4 plastic rod as weft. 6 4 Figure 66. Detail of copper tubing as weft. 6 5 Figure 67. Twill weave with plastic bag weft. 6 5 Figure 68. Expanded view of twill weave with plastic bag weft. 6 6 Figure 69. Selvedge condition of twill weave with plastic bag weft. 6 6 Figure 70. Rolled hardware cloth weft capturing spatial memory. 6 6 Figure 71. Rolled hardware cloth and large wooded dowel as weft capturing spatial memory. 6 7 Figure 72. Detail inside weft capturing spatial memory. 6 7 7 7 8 8 9
vi Figure 110. Completed prototype woven section. 9 2 Figure 111. Completed prototype woven section. 9 3 Figure 112. Alternative shelter construction design. 9 4 Figure 113. Alternative shelter construction design. 9 4 Figure 114. Alternative shelter construction design. 9 4 Figure 115. Inspirational images for cocoon shelter design. 9 5 Figure 116. Cocoon shelter rendering. 9 5 Figure 117. Cocoon shelter section. 9 5 Figure 118. Cocoon shelter elevation. 9 5 Figure 119. Cocoon shelter plan. 9 6 Figure 120. Invitational poster for weaving day events. 9 6 Figure 121. Images of loom set up for weaving day events. 9 6 Figure 122. Looms set up radially around tree on weaving performance day. 9 7 Figure 123. Looms set up radially around tree on weaving performance day. 9 7 Figure 124. Detail of loom set connected to tree. 9 7 Figure 126. Detail of Starbucks apron for use as weft. 9 8 Figure 125. Cutting donated materials for weft usage. 9 8 Figure 127. Novice weaver beginning to weave. 9 8 Figure 91. Concept collage of nature as inspiration for design. 8 4 Figure 92. Inspirational imagery for design. 8 4 Figure 93. Sketches of shelter design. 8 4 Figure 94. Laser cut sheet for personal loom set. 8 5 Figure 95. Laser cut sheet for personal loom set. 8 5 Figure 96. Laser cut sheet for personal loom set. 8 6 Figure 97. Shop drawing diagram of shelter fabric. 8 6 Figure 98. Shop drawing detail of shelter fabric. 8 7 Figure 99. Shop drawing detail of shelter fabric. 8 7 Figure 100. Shop drawing detail of shelter fabric. 8 8 Figure 101. Tree selected for weaving prototype. 8 8 Figure 102. Images of loom prototype pieces. 8 9 Figure 103. Images of loom prototype pieces. 8 9 Figure 104. Images of loom prototype pieces. 8 9 Figure 105. Images of loom prototype pieces. 8 9 Figure 106. Images depicting the setup of the prototype. 9 0 Figure 107. Detail images of prototype setup. 9 0 Figure 108. Detail images of prototype setup. 9 1 Figure 109. Detail images of prototype setup. 9 1
vii Figure 146. Working together to solve connection problems. 10 5 Figure 147. Altering the height of the woven sections in the tree. 10 6 Figure 148. Ensuring the shelter support piece is under proper tension. 10 6 Figure 149. Overhead connection of the second cocoon to the tree. 10 7 Figure 150. Detail of shelter support connection. 10 7 7 8 Figure 153. Newspaper weft detail. 10 8 Figure 154. Belt weft detail. 10 8 Figure 155. Christmas light weft detail. 10 8 Figure 156. Tie weft detail. 10 9 Figure 157. Colored T-shirt detail. 10 9 Figure 158. Tie weft detail. 10 9 Figure 159. Floor to wall section of woven shelter. 10 9 Figure 160. Wall to roof connection with shelter support piece. 11 0 Figure 161. Detail of plastic bag and newspaper at shelter support piece. 11 0 Figure 128. Weaving and rolling up fabric at waist. 9 8 Figure 129. Winding the shuttle. 9 9 Figure 130. Participant cuts up an old raincoat for use at weft. 9 9 Figure 131. Beginning to weave the raincoat. 9 9 Figure 132. Broken heddle board during weaving. 10 0 Figure 133. Winding the shuttle with plastic bag weft. 10 0 Figure 134. Winding the shuttle with Starbucks apron. 10 0 Figure 135. First complete woven section. 10 1 Figure 136. Working in teams to use the backstrap loom. 10 1 Figure 137. Working intently to make the weave tight. 10 1 Figure 138. Creating weft material from donated mens ties. 10 2 Figure 139. Resultant weave of mens ties. 10 2 Figure 140. Novice weaver working with supplied rope. 10 3 Figure 141. Several loom sets tied to tree. 10 3 Figure 142. The communal weaving group. 10 3 4 4 Figure 145. Weaver volunteers assisting in construction 5
viii Figure 162. Starbucks apron and hat weft. 11 0 Figure 163. Detail at shelter stake tie downs in ground. 11 0 Figure 164. Two woven shelter cocoons at tree site. 11 1 Figure 165. Two woven shelter cocoons at tree site. 11 2 Figure 166. First smaller woven cocoon on performance day. 11 2 Figure 167. Second larger woven cocoon. 11 3 Figure A-1 Personal blog page--continued both columns. 1 1 9 Figure A-2 Personal blog page--continued both columns. 1 20 Figure A-3 Personal blog page--continued both columns. 1 2 1 Figure A-4 Personal blog page--continued both columns. 1 2 2 Figure A-5 Personal blog page--continued both columns. 1 2 3
ix Women and Architecture: Remaking Shelter through Woven Tectonics Kirsten Lee Dahlquist ABSTRACT Weaving and architecture, conceived simultaneously with cave paintings, are two ancient forms of craft used to enclose space and provide shelter harmoniously with nature. In its basic composition, a useable textile is the interlacing of two members, warp and weft at right angles to create structure and surface re spectively. Textile artist Anni Albers of the Bauhaus attributes the organization of weaving to the skills of an ancient goddess. Her understanding of prehistoric cultures further links women closer to the overall creation of structure, though perceived as a masculine endeavor. Consequently, early advancements in architecture, the structural organization of shelter, are a result of feminine inven tions. Moreover, it has been the female who has been entrusted with emotional and sensual elements of shelter since prehistory. Through the creation of a home, womans mastery of the domestic urban typologies of the post-war United States heightened the feminine domestic role through social and environmental isolation of the gender. The suburbs ironically conditioned an alternative sentiment of the built environment featuring ideals of tradition, sustenance, and continuity with nature. In the modern era, weaving and architecture have de volved to be similarly designed and chosen for aesthetic qualities only. Textiles are produced for an indoor existence with weav tices popularized in the 1950s, with advancements only in ma teriality. Both disciplines overlook their feminine link and mutual gagement, and environmental impact. As a result of this disregard, the capacity of the planet suf fers due to outdated and unsustainable residential building prac tices, while quality of life degrades due to the inabilities of built spaces to nurture and engage inhabitants effectively. Based on eco-maternalist philosophies within architecture and the structur
x al, spatial, and tactile qualities of weaving, these crafts can again has come to rethink building design and the feminine integration of weaver and architect provides a foundation for the discovery of an appropriate assembly for the next generation.
1 this internal sense to the prehistoric era, when human kind began to insulate from nature, women created a meaningful, physical abstraction of what they intuitively understood. The invention of weaving became the means by which women could construct a permeable home for their families, enclosing yet still connected to nature. As society modernized, shelter retreated from weav ing and nature and as a result, became generally disconnected with its inhabitants and failed to meet established prehistoric stan dards. Women transformed into dwelling decorators, not able to adequately care to families within homes which were premade means of construction of the single family home, placing quantity over quality. Modern shelter embodies an architecture of thought less form, promotes a lifestyle unconcerned with the future of hu mankind and nature, and is a physical representation of culture historic times, can the modern form of shelter truly be considered progress? On observing the connections between constructing shel ter and the nurturing, sustaining behavior of the female species, mother A mobile shelterstructured by bone, held together by enormous world. Unseen and unseeing, we exist in a completely protected space. 1 This initial relationship indicates that women posses this sense of care and compassion innately, as it is their internal structure which carries forth the next generation. Linking 1 Curry, Erin, and then because I realized I have not written about dwelling, Sculptress Studio, cause-i-realized-i-have-not.html. Chapter One: Initial Project Research Introduction
2 nowned modern weaver Anni Albers also points to the earliest creators of woven structure, the ancient Peruvians, as initially us ing textile techniques other than weaving, but ultimately a more later spinning of material from living creatures replacing branch es. 5 Semper elaborates the establishment of woven architecture for shelter precedes even that of the primitive stone wall, a basis of space making within architecture. The enclosure and separa tion of permanent architecture also occurs after the invention of woven architecture. 6 Phillip Beesely and Sean Hanna state in Extreme Textiles woven. 7 The use of primitive woven architecture as a defense from external elements also precedes the creation of textiles as clothing. The art of dressing the bodys nakedness is probably a later invention than the use of coverings for encampments and 5 Albers, Anni and Brenda Danilowitz, Anni Albers : Selected Writings on De sign Hanover N.H, (Wesleyan University Press, published by University Press of New England, 2000), 45. 6 Betsky, Building Sex 13. 7 McQuaid, Matilda, Philip Beesley, and Cooper Hewitt Museum, Extreme Textiles : Designing for High Performance, ( New York: Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum; Princeton Architectural Press, 2005), 107. In initial regards to etymology, Mark Garcia author of Ar chitextiles points to several unequivocal connections of the an cient crafts of weaving and architecture. Textile, technology, text, texture, connection, and context of the same proto-Indo-European word, tek which is the root of architecture Additionally, technology and textile are also both derived from the Latin texere meaning to weave connect, and construct . 2 In the Four Elements of Architecture and Other Writ ings tecture and weaving in that they occur concurrently in prehistory 3 The invention of align ing two members found in nature at right angles to each other initially led to the weaving of a basic enclosure system. Prior to the inventions of crafts such as pottery or metalwork, humankind developed the pen, a woven structure bound together from sticks and branchesas the earliest vertical spatial enclosure. 4 Re 2 Garcia, Mark, Architextiles, Architectural Design; v. 76, no. 6, London: WileyAcademy (2006): 6. 3 Betsky, Aaron, Building Sex : Men, Women, Architecture, and the Construc tion of Sexuality, (New York: William Morrow, 1995), 12. 4 Betsky, Building Sex, 12. Connections of Weaving and Architecture
3 spatial enclosures. 8 To protect and contain the human body ani latticework of branches, to shed water, hold off the wind, and pro vide shade. 9 This textile house provided the means of prehistoric ondary skin system. 10 Most notably, this rudimentary enclosure system traditionally created by women establishes initial ideals of home, a separation of the inner life separated from the outer life and the formal creation of the idea of space for prehistoric cultures. 11 In Extreme Textiles Susan Brown notes that the most fundamental human endeavors have roots in ancient textile weav ing. 12 places it as the nurturer of humankind and a fundamental motiva tion for principles of modern shelter. Although architecture and weaving are fundamentally connected through basic woven shelter, it is however important to 8 Betsky, Building Sex 12. 9 Albers, Selected Writings 45. 10 Betsky, Building Sex 12. 11 Ibid,13. 12 McQuaid, Extreme Textiles 38. note the level of shelter permanence presents a discrepancy. If then textiles are its very antithesis states Anni Albers. 13 As roots of humankind began with nomadic tribes, their textile houses, the tent, evolved to be easily transportable. Aaron Betsky, author of Building Sex very easily and then change as you need; you can expand, con tract, or change its direction without having to worry about founda tions or even about openings. 14 He elaborates that every part of the structure can be easily constructed by re-weaving as required as the tribe moves. Anni Albers remarks that it is not only the tent that requires ease of relocation, but that the methods by which invention and construction. 15 A woven net or bag, comprising a group of strings carries the disassembled tent while the textile ma terial itself, pliable and lightweight adds to the ease of mobility. It is here that she notes the requirement of movement contributed to the development of a woven textile, rather than bulky hides, to decrease the weight of the transportable tent shelter. Acknowl 13 Albers, Selected Writings 44. 14 Betsky, Building Sex 13. 15 Albers, Selected Writings 45.
4 structure. 16 Weaving like architecture, despite differences in scale, is the regular interlock of two perpendicular members, leading to a product based on a logical structural order. According to The Man ual: The Architecture of Kieran Timberlake weaving and architec ture are both created from basic structural elements organized using replication and alignment to form an overall pattern. 17 In both disciplines, these fundamental constructions, when success ful, also reveal the honesty in the process of making and creating form. Anni Albers states that the more clearly the original forma tion is preserved or stressed in the design, the more successful the weaving will be in both structure and appearance. 18 With their alternative approach to Modern architecture through the assimila tion of design and construction, the Jersey Devil Architects concur a true honesty within architecture occurs through expression, sim ilar to Anni Albers approach to weaving. Seen within Modernism, architecture bases its claim on to truthfulness on its expression. 16 Kieran, Stephen and James Timberlake, Manual, the Architecture of Kieran Timberlake, (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2002), 161. 17 Ibid. 18 Albers, Anni, On Weaving (Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 1979) 38. edging that weaving and architecture diverge on the permanence of their common shelter inceptions, the contemporary Architecture that modern architecture should not embrace or aspire to achieve permanence, but yet strive to again be like the ephemeral woven Diagram of connections between weaving, women and architec Figure 1. ture.
5 tension. 21 length and widthwise, are continuous from the start integrity dispersed even ly throughout. 22 As each thread is structurally bound to its adjacent thread and so on, a continuous joint is formed and the overall ar rangement of the weave is enforced. This occurs because no member is static and their over and under bending creates friction and want to revert back to it at each overlap. This organization is consistent within the entire construct and as no member is relies on a supporting member, interdependence replaces hierarchy. The most fundamental textile technique, the plain weave or the basic over and under provides equal presence to the horizontal and vertical members of the weave. This method, which is also the most prehistoric, provides the utmost strength and stability to 21 Ibid. 22 Ibid. Honesty is subsumed by the manifest 19 An integral component of both weaving and architecture, clear underlying structure ulti mately conveys overall truthfulness to form. Both subjects are structurally organized from numerous position of the structure of weaving differs from that of architec ture. Modern buildings are assembled using a strict structural methodology based on compression and carried out in a precise sequence. Primary elements support secondary, secondary sup ports tertiary, and so on. Fundamentally, the size of each struc tural member is equivalent to the sequence of construction, creat ing a hierarchy of support. 20 The weight of each member added must be supported by the member below it, contributing to greater bulk and permanence of the lowest level members. The organiza tion of textiles is considerably different as each member shares an rigid connections based on compression, textile structures use 19 Piedmont Palladino, Susan, and Mark Alden Branch, Devils Workshop : 25 Years of Jersey Devil Architecture, (New York, N.Y.: Princeton Architec tural Press, 1997), ix. 20 McQuaid, Extreme Textiles 109. Figure 2.
6 the construct, essentially creating a truly balanced system. 23 cant to note that the non-hier archical systems of weaving parallel a similar system pres ent within a natural ecosys tem. Kim Tanzer and Rafael Longoria reveal in The Green Braid that an ecosystem is comprised of elements of many diverse kinds of plant and animal life brought to gether by physical proximity. Such an ecosystem depends equally on contributions from all types of diversity. 24 Furthermore they highlight that hierarchy is a human-made concept created to rationalize the goal of planetary 23 Ibid, 38 and 109. 24 Tanzer, Kim and Rafael Longoria, The Green Braid (New York: Taylor and Francis, Inc, 2007), 7. dominance, which is a fundamental opposite of an ecosystem. 25 William McDonough and Michael Braungart in Cradle to Cradle also tell of the equalities in the natural world: Each inhabitant of an ecosystem is there fore interdependent to some extent with the oth ers. Every creature is involved in maintaining the entire system; all of them work in creative and ultimately effective ways for the success of the whole. 26 As an honest and primary abstraction of nature, weaving is the basis of architectural shelter, thus the incubator of human kind. 25 Ibid. 26 McDonough, William and Michael Braaungart, Cradle to Cradle (New York: North Point Press, 2002), 122. Figure 3.
7 In Building Sex Betsky asserts that even before the in vention of a physical woven shelter, around 7000 BC, the primary location of human gathering for comfort, communication, cooking, child rearing, and making was the campground. It was a natural location round in shape, non hierarchical, neither horizontal nor vertical, inside nor outside, or void nor projection. 27 Understand ably as shelter evolved, the campground served as the logical site of a textile shelter. The woven tent, created by women, emerged transitory object. 28 However, in volume the tent had characteristics of both void and projection, seen from its curving arc moving from the horizontal to vertical axis. The tent was generally rounded in form and free from internal edges to eliminate spatial interruptions. In doing so, occupants are afforded maximum connection, both at the physical and emotional levels. Anthropologists note that such intimate interaction between occupants in the shelter only occurs in modern day within a mother-to-infant relationship. 29 It has even 27 Betsky, Building Sex 9. 28 Ibid. 29 Ibid. been suggested by Freudian theorists that the organic charac ter of a tent shelter is a symbolic expression of the environment of the womb. 30 However symbolic, they include sections outside where tool making and domestic work occurs and the activities with translucent light. The shelters allow for ease of adaptability to sleep with their parents, they are encouraged to stay with ex tended family and befriend other children within the camp. Within owned. Shelter within these cultures does not enforce separation between families and relatives, but rather it embodies the ideal of a social cohesiveness, a community. 31 Most importantly, while women held the ingenuity for tent design, both women and men constructed them communally. The building activity may also be ritualized, as the performer sets into motion a body of traditional knowledge shared with other women 32 It is the woven tent of women that makes everyone a home in the world. 30 Ibid. 31 Ibid. 32 Ibid. Making Shelter and the Implications on Women
8 chosen to be compatible with simultaneous child watching. 34 As young children resided mostly inside shelter, women needed to be istics: a reduced amount of concentration, repetition, interruptible, easy resumability, and not dangerous. The idea of hunting live animals with a child on ones back is not conducive to the safety of the child or the effectiveness of the hunt. Weaving, spinning, sew to successfully nurturing the next generation. 35 Although womens duties were of utmost importance to the survival of the prehistoric people, present cultures disregard the biological necessity, and the seed of a social construction of gender is planted. In regards to the modern era, dwellings, until the 19 th cen tury, were not for a single family but rather consisted of a large permanent building containing residences and workshops with spaces to house the immediate family as well as the extended family, protgs and household servants. Communal living and working was still predominant and shelter was not separated into 34 Barber, E. J. W. Womens Work : The First 20,000 Years : Women, Cloth, and Society in Early Times (New York: Norton, 1994), 30. 35 Ibid, 30. where women frequented more regularly than men. As such, the acts: the origins of architecture and also matriarchy: The women were the ones who bore chil dren, and they were the ones who could weave nature together into clothes, baskets, and tools. Women were the guardians of the future of the group, those in control of technology the turned raw materials into food and protection, and those commonly held beliefs. 33 came to be been entrusted with such undertakings? The solution resides in the fact that biologically the raising of children was not the predominant duty of men, as breast feeding took up to three years. If a community required women to provide any type of work, their participation depended solely on the compatibility of this work with the requirements of child care. Thus, if the productive labor of women is not to be lost to the society during the childbearing years, the jobs regularly assigned to women must be carefully 33 Ibid, 10.
9 represent and dominate the woman. 38 Fashionable domesticity guides and home economic science campaigns of this time tar duties as necessary to enrich the comforts of shelter and provide escape from the world outside. Clarence Cook notes the woman was both a manager of tasks and controller of aesthetic harmony within the home as dictated by Ladies Home Journal and House Beautiful Women spent long hours executing these learned, do mestic tasks on a daily basis as prescribed in these journals to make a home, eventually ascribing their self worth to their home making abilities. Coupled quite directly with the representation of the home and the quality of family life was now the representation of femininity. 39 Keeping in mind the role of shelter in social constructions of gender, Making Space suggests masculinity and femininity biological roles of man and woman of prehistory. 40 These charac ters soon transferred into shaping the built world of the 20 th cen 38 Matrix, M aking Space: Women and the Man-made Environment (London: Pluto Press, 1984), 39 Baydar, Negotiating Domesticity, 200. 40 Matrix, M aking Space, 7. 36 As industrial invention began to dominate the natural world, the idea tion between work and home and of the masculine and feminine worlds. The nature of the two genders considered men capable for work in the public realm and relegated women to turning the private sphere into places of respite and rest for husbands and fathers. Industry also moved basic textile production and other traditional work for women and the home into factories and every thing now was becoming readymade. In Negotiating Domesticity Joan Williams states when men began working outside the home division between breadwinners on one hand and caretakers on the other hand. 37 This is important as it highlights the decrease modern social constructions of gender. Because of this nineteenth century division, the success ful ability to shape the home for husbands, fathers and children and the overall quality of the domestic environment has come to 36 Gulsum Baydar and Hilde Heynen, Negotiating Domesticity: Spatial Produc tions of Gender in Modern Architecture (London: New York: Routledge, 2005), 7. 37 Baydar, Negotiating Domesticity 7.
10 lengthy route. Women were therefore relegated to a limited local realm, now not just because of their previously outlined domestic access to mobile resources. 44 The suburbs, based on an escapist notion and the de sires of personal independence, segregated the domestic space and sanctioned the womans duty of cultivation of a retreat free Building the Dream Gervase Wheeler states a common agreement at this 44 Ibid, 40. Figure 4. tury and developing patterns for what it should look like. 41 Most notably, the new housing typology of the suburbs, a response to the post-war housing crisis and an alternative to the blight and pol lution of the working-city environment accurately embodies these gender constructions. New suburban housing developments not only offered material gains from previous models by emphasizing the importance of a clean, quiet, and orderly home environment, but they also further highlighted the social constructions of gen der. 42 ties, Making Space uses the new ideal town example of Milton Keynes, built in 1967, in South East England as an example. 43 Home and leisure activities are split with access to these areas cally, at this time most men utilized the family vehicle to travel to their place of employment during weekdays and even in house holds with two vehicles, many women did not know how to drive. and bicycle paths existed, but comprised a winding and non-direct, 41 Ibid, 38. 42 Ibid, 44. 43 Ibid, 39.
11 time was that Ameri cans tended to enjoy associations with oth ers in their politics but not in their homes. 45 The dwelling for each family in the suburbs now became an in dividualized unit, 46 a welcomed improve ment upon 19 th century multi-family housing that was attributed to slum conditions. Co incidentally, the assumption that a separation from outside ele ments and families would enhance the family nucleus actually contributed intensely to the isolation of women in the suburbs. from the modern city, with the implementation of a clean, villagelike utopia in a natural setting, far beyond urban extents. 47 The development home and close community as notions of progress 45 Gwendolyn Wright, Building the Dream, ( New York: Pantheon Books, 1981), 88. 46 Matrix, M aking Space, 55. 47 Betsky, Building Sex, 145. in reality contributed to social gender constructions shaping the built environment and ultimately dictating the roles of women with in modern shelter. Figure 5. Cleaner You Never Have to Lift. The Retro Press. Lakewood, California, mid 1950s. Figure 6. Lakewood, California. The Dust Congress
12 short period of time for transport to the next site. 49 Traditionally Women have been the weavers of goat hair into yarn for modular tent panels and also the erectors of the actual tent structure. 50 The Bedouin people successfully utilize a material which is manufactured and extracted locally, as well as renewable as their primary source for tent creation. This is an ideal scenario as goats of their own herd are sheared in the spring and new yarn is spun and woven on a yearly basis. Tents typically take up to a year to create and last from 5 to 20 years depending on the con centrations of actual goat hair, as other substances may be added to decrease cost. 51 Utilization of local and renewable materials is an integral part of the search for a new construction method or as sembly as negative environmental consequences due rising fuel and transportation costs, pollution as a result of transportation, and depletion of long-cycle resources become apparent. Conven tional building materials also require natural resources in produc tion, greater growing periods, and are often take business away from local economies if made in other areas. 49 Ibid. 51 Jabbur, The Bedouins and the Desert, 247. The Bedouin are a predominately desert-dwelling Arab ethnic group, ranging from semi-nomadic to nomadic within the Persian Gulf States, mainly the countries of Jordan, Saudi Ara bia, Israel, and Syria. Central to the Bedouin tribe is their form of shelter, the goat hair tent, or bayt which is also the same word in Arabic for the familial unit. 48 Dating back to the time of King Solomon and still used today, the goat hair tent is well adapted to the climactic challenges of desert life and can be dismantled in a 48 Jabbur, Jibrail S., Jabbur, Suhayl J., The Bedouins and the Desert: Aspects of Nomadic Life in the Arab East. ( State University of New York Press, 1995), 242. Chapter Two: Case Studies The Bedouin Tent
13 The method of weaving employed by the Bedouin women not only makes the family tent, but also rugs, saddlebags, cush ions, and all other necessities for the home. All items start as nar row strips which are further lengthened or cut depending on their ultimate use. Individual panels of the tent can also be replaced as required, without destroying the entire construct. As an important shelter piece, such as a roof panel, becomes worn it is relocated to a less demanding area of the tent, such as the sides. When the side sections become worn, they can be converted into a saddle bag, rug, or tent patch. When a piece is no longer useable, it is left in the desert to decompose back into the earth as it is made of or ganic material. 52 As modern recycling is seen in todays society as a cure-all for the ills of waste production, it is rather downcycling or a reduction in the quality of the waste material and transference to another form. Unlike the Bedouin tent, modern materials are ever by implementing their smart materials and production meth ods into the making of a modern weaving construct, there can be multiple intended uses after the initial expires and the product can coexist within nature during its life and afterlife. 52 The World of Bedouin Weaving, Weavings. Typical erection of the tent occurs by unrolling the goat hair panels, stitching them together into a rectangular shape, and raising the fabric on poles. Guy ropes tied to the panel edges stretch out several feet and are tightened and tied while pegs are pounded into the earth to stabilize the structure. The fabric skin Bedouin tent descriptive graphic. Figure 7.
14 of design and construction for a desert dwelling people, however this is an inappropriate type for non-nomadic people seeking shel ter within a locale containing ample resources. The Bedouin ex ample is useful in providing supplementary ideas to enhance new applicable for modern day. successfully protects inhabitants from heat, cold, rain, and wind. 53 However, the fabric system is regarded as a primitive conven tion, is not structural, cannot support itself, and offers no sense of protection from other elements. Skin as structure or skin and structure working closer together are modern accepted, success ful, and permanent construction conventions which will be upheld. A tent structure will not be directly pursued as a source for inspira tion. Although some Bedouin have reverted to a static, urban lifestyle, most of them are still nomads like their ancient ancestors. Continuously traveling in a region where resources were always meager provided a natural cycle of replenishment for fallowed to this necessity of movement for resources. The tent climacti cally responds to different locations and seasons by opening and tions, depending on the level of permanency desired by increas ing tent width and rows of poles. Complete deconstruction can occur in less than an hour. 54 This is an extremely effective method 53 Jabbur, The Bedouins and the Desert, 243.
15 China. 57 An underlying concept of the pavilion is taking tradition and turning it upside down while joining two modern cultures with their shared handcraft history. 58 You have to work with traditions and transform them into new life, says Benedetta Tagliabue of EMBT, in regards to joining ancient weaving with the sensual curves of a showcased modern pavilion. 59 After a global research tour, the natural material of native willow stems was selected due to its ease of artisanal hand weaving into a wicker mesh. 60 Serving as a climactic membrane, the mesh thanks to a protective waterproof coating. 61 Seeking inspiration from local and handcrafted methods and materials enables ar chitects to question and invent based upon the already proven 57 Shanghai Expo, 59 Ibid 60 Ibid. The Spanish Pavilion for the Shanghai Expo 2010 by ar ized using traditional Chinese and Spanish basket weaving tech niques. The Shanghai Expo aims to be the most sustainable and technological of all its predecessors, providing the Spanish Hab itable Construction a sound platform for experimentation within 55 Developing the handcraft technique into a method of construction also enabled designers to build a bridge between East and West, namely the increased business relations of Spain and China. 56 The 75,000 square foot pavilion has an east wing public services such as a tapas bar that can hold up to 300 people and where cuisine based on Spanish products will be offered. A retail store, a 200 person capacity auditorium, and a business center which takes incorporates the Expos functioning as a meet ing place to increase and boost the Spanish business presence in html. 56 EMBT, Conceptual Memory, Projects, The Spanish Pavilion
16 changes. 63 However, Benedetta Tagliabue felt that with proper maintenance and timely substitution of worn wicker panels, a more permanent building could be created, perhaps even for housing. 64 Panels are now being tested under normal outdoor conditions un 63 Ibid. 64 Ibid. and successful, while also strengthening cultural and social tra ditions. Furthermore, a sense of pride is derived in the making of the wicker panels by the Spanish weavers knowing this is for their own country. This project also demonstrates that the need for new ways of enclosing space is possible and realistic using uncommon approaches. It is additionally interesting to note that when embarking on the project, EMBT was not aware they were not alone in undertaking a woven structure. Typically for small utilitarian objects, wicker and other woven materials are gaining acceptance as industrialized products through companies such as GKD Metal Fabrics in Germany. 62 EMBT acknowledges that using a natural element was a large step and it took some client convincing, but the imper manence of the work empowers an innovative and experimental spirit in design and construction. The uninhibited plan houses an and ideal for the sweeping willow mesh enclosure system. The non-traditional material also comes with limitations and luckily the six month duration of the Expo allowed EMBT to skirt such is sues as long-term maintenance and vast climactic and seasonal 62 RIBBA Jounral.com Spanish Pavilion descriptive graphic. Figure 8.
17 straightforward junction system in their assembly. 67 Wicker pan els were designed using in three weaves, three different colors, and in three different shapes, all adding to the variety and com plexity of the skin. 68 This innovative and integrated relationship of the skin and structure is a positive step from the separateness of the Bedouin tent components. Despite this structure also being temporary, it begins to further explore ultimate permanency and adaptability of a habitable woven structure. Accepting that the rigidity provides a sound rationale for an accompanying structure. The structural skeleton essentially forms its own fabric to support the skin, thus creating a double layered hybrid. This is a viable solution however, with the explorations of metal fabric and mesh, the fabric could eventually support itself, fabric skin as structure. As the willow stems of the wicker panels are a natural material, their life span as useful cladding comes into question. Their abil along with their local harvesting and manufacturing. 67 Ibid. 68 Ibid. der the Barcelona sun. 65 Having the freedom to experiment, with out many consequences is an ideal scenario for the creation of a new woven construct. The venue and use of the building enables different user experiences and perceptions of the space, prior to the introduction of more formalized conditions. The international presence of this alternative building practice also exposes to the layperson outside of architecture or construction that a new set of ambitions are replacing traditional thinking. In the search for new methods, this might not be the ultimate approach but it at least it transforms thoughts into concrete form. Developing the handicraft technique of wicker weaving into a practice of construction was the goal of the architects of EMBT. Simply connected yet separate was the approach to the structural system essentially consists of woven panels hung from a skeleton of undulating steel beams and pillars which is easily dismantled. 66 etry to be realized. Wicker panels are fabricated by a variety of different artisans, thus necessitating a wide margin of error and a 65 Ibid. 66 Ibid.
18 The creation of useable textiles, such as tunics, carpets, and blankets linked the artisan with the manufacturer and the beautiful with the useful. Historical accounts recollect it was a divine female being who presented the act of weaving to mankind establishing ancient connections of women to textiles. 69 Drawing from this historic link and ironically from gender prejudices of the time, the all female Weaving Workshop of the German Bauhaus was established in 1919. 70 Although the Bauhaus was created as a response to reforms of art education searching for the anti-pic torial and avant-garde, weaving was still primarily taught as and considered an aesthetic craft. Early teaching styles emphasized only decorative, post-war European designs that produced lace, embroidered pillows, and narrative tapestries, without establish ing any true woven meaning or structure 71 Anni Albers applied for admission to the Bauhaus in 1923 after rebelling from the con 69 Albers, Anni, On Designing (Middletown: Conn., Wesleyan University Press, 1962), 19. Anni Albers and Ancient American Textiles : From Bauhaus to Black Mountain, 71 Ibid, 80. ventional lifestyle of her wealthy Jewish Berlin family. 72 One year work, a wall hanging of plain weave construction made of cot ton and silk. 73 Through her work she searched for a conceptual and graphic language to join hand weaving with the mechanized loom, the importance of the link between material characteristics and the ultimate composition of threads, and the development of weaving to satisfy the useful and the beautiful. Upon entering the Bauhaus Weaving Workshop, Anni Albers concluded that decorative, pictorial weavings previously completed were not consistent with the institutions ideals, there fore unfamiliar and untried methods proved to be the only steady course for weaving advancement. 74 Already having an applied arts education and enrolled in European textile design and construc tion at the Bauhaus, Albers chose to forfeit all traditional instruc tion in the creation of this spontaneous, experimental, and playful 72 Wilson, Kristina, Review: [Untitled]; Josef and Anni Albers: Designs for Liv ing, The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 64, no. 3 (Sep., 2005): 362. 73 Troy, Anni Albers 85. 74 Albers, On Designing 38. The Textile Works of Anni Albers
19 threads under and over. It is interesting to note Albers approach to the new era and working with the material, she admits, was in competent. 77 Her openness to continued experimentation in tech nique slowly allowed concepts to emerge providing a basis for her later complex efforts. Removal of prescribed program, rationale, or decorative ideal during experimentation is an extremely valu able design tool when looking to break new ground. 78 In the case with a new woven construct, one of the few constraints will be not using previously employed techniques, such as traditional wood frame construction or design as merely embellishment. Initially excluded due to narrowing the Workshops in dividual search for a vision, design and production of industrial textiles later appeared along with the promotion of interdisciplin Keeping in mind the notions that fundamental textile organization should be echoed in both its form and function, Albers addressed hand. This still allowed her the experimental play, despite a use able outcome. 79 Form Master of the Bauhaus and painter, Paul 77 Albers, On Designing 39. 78 Ibid. 79 Ibid, 16. new work. 75 She embraced the abstract ideology of the Bauhaus tern itself. 76 The importance of her weavings was that they were designed from the direct result of the structural act of interlacing 75 Ibid. 76 Troy, Anni Albers 106. Anni Albers descriptive graphic. Figure 9.
20 cient Peruvian weavers preserved the links between process and product through direct material contact, something not seen in Eu ropean cultures. Although she admits the modern craftsman is relatively obsolete today, the artists direct contact with a demand ing material, like the Peruvian, inspires inherent meaning in the product. Without truly handling the material, the modern paint er, for example, is unable to learn limitations from unresponsive mediums. 82 It is exactly this dilemma that is occurring in todays building practices: we are disparate from and under-stimulated by the spaces we inhabit because of our lack of connection to them and their lack of instilled meaning. We generally know nothing about their origins or how they were constructed and they provide us nothing but protection. This is not advocating that laypeople design and construct their own shelter but if architect and builders utilize challenging materials, listen to them, and instill more com passion and thought in their making, a greater pride and inspira tion could be derived by the inhabitant from within the space. Taking the role of the craftsman of old under interpreta tion, Albers analyzes his dialog with material in that his matter was not immediately ready for molding, it required his touch. His 82 Ibid, 27. he symbolically equated the under and over structure of weav ing to the use of the checkerboard and grid pattern in his work. Klee also taught the Workshop that pure composition emerges with repetitious pattern and complexity occurs with the abstraction of these forms. 80 The open laboratory indeed allowed Albers to develop and a new weaving arrangement, but it more importantly let her isolate one element or idea at a time of this immense task a structure based on the fundamentals of weaving, the process is nearly as important as the product. Eventually all elements unite to a coherent voice, but without initially handling, carefully shap ing, and learning from each piece, the goal is lost. From Albers 1944 essay Work with Material she writes the modern man is alienated from materials as they exist natu suggests keys for reestablishing contact with unknown objects of our modern culture and truly getting in touch with the origins of the earth is to indulge our tactile sense in pure materials. 81 An 80 Troy, Anni Albers, 126. 81 Albers, On Designing 50.
21 once followed and will need to revive again in order to sustain the planet. followed. Invention was a necessity, making him an artist as well. Following only what the material told him, the craftsman organized all embodied energies, provided meaning to a material beyond itself, and therefore created art. 83 Creative energies of products either made from technology or art cannot satisfy all that we call for: the need for the functioning of a thing and the need for an appearance that responds to our sense of form. 84 Representing our modern culture, we have separated works of pure form on one side and equipment on the other. However, the usefulness of a product should not hinder its ability to become beautiful. Any material, any working procedure, and any method of production, manual or industrial, can serve an end that may be art. 85 Taking this research into the development of a useful and beautiful woven construct: Is it too much to ask that it be a direct result of the de signer as the producer? Could the inherent characteristics of its ditionally, could the product be both useful and beautiful, a result of embracing both art and technology? The answer to all of these should be no, it is not too much to ask because it is something we 83 Ibid, 3. 84 Ibid,2 85 Ibid, 15.
22 of the structure. 90 Although not directly stated, it appears that the Cellophane House draws upon the Bedouin Tent and other no madic structures, with the understanding of impermanence and evolution in regards to structures. In the modern world, where cheap and quick comprise the basis of a large amount of archi 90 Ibid. Cellophane House makes no claim to permanence 86 The design con cept stresses that this structure functions primarily as a vehicle for securing materials in such a manner that they form a habit able shelter. They crux of the concept lies in the fact that the materials are merely in a structural holding pattern rather than in 87 The design allows for materials in the structure to retain their identities as individual entities and for the possibility for them to be released from the structure at any time. 88 It is Kieran Timberlakes reasoning that in building construction composite structure, from which they can be freed only through the expenditure of great amounts of energy. 89 Most importantly, the materials themselves are actually of little importance and the method in which they are assembled comprises the quintessence 86 Kieran Timberlake, Cellophane House, Projects 87 Ibid. 88 Ibid. 89 Ibid. Cellophane House descriptive graphic. Figure 10. The Cellophane House
23 tectural endeavors, it is paramount to integrate the notion that the ing permanence must be reversed. If design was organized like a weaving where everything that can be woven can be unwoven, this understanding would come at the beginning of the design process. Coincidentally, this is the most notable element demon strated in the Cellophane House design. In its most basic understanding, a building is basically an assembly of materials intelligently organized to form an enclosed shelter. According to Kieran Timberlake, we recognize that these materials came from somewhere, are held together for a time by the techniques of construction, and will at some future time transi tion into another state. 91 Common conventions teach that build ings are permanent, but in essence they temporarily coordinate materials into a balance. However, it is important to note that this balance will inevitably be disturbed by the natural, chaotic forces of the universe. Despite architectural efforts, it is impossible to ber retains its individual identity within the overall pattern and re 91 Ibid. other as each desires to return to its previous state. As we are not presently erecting structures like the Coliseum or the Pantheon, technology, weather, general wear, and fashion ultimately deem structures as inhabitable or outdated, relegating them to non-use poses that permanence is not even a desire of construction.
24 weavers. The gallery space where it is being woven recedes to the back, while the large weaving comes to the foreground, direct ing the experience of the place. An untitled work created using a traditional loom inter twines both personal and collective female history of the artist: In two isolated incidents, the women of my family have given me their lingerie and silk of folk rituals and feminist theory throughout her formal works and enacted images. In Shermans artists statement she states her the homemade, the experiment and the discovery. 92 Additionally, she notes that her work must be understood as a performance and is then translated into a highly detailed installation. Shermans most recent project, Room-A-Loom, is a siteof the gallery, the loom uses the buildings walls to turn a room into a simple machine. With the loom spanning the width and breadth of the space, there is no place to enter without becoming 93 Span ning the width of the room enables the weaving, generally a twodimensional object, to begin to take on three-dimensional charac teristics. As it is constructed, it creates its own set of architectural characteristics, creating spatial interest and a dynamic with the 92 Sherman, Julia, Information and Links, Fine Art 93 Sea change Gallery, A-Room-Loom, August and September Art Exhibit, http://seachangegallery.org/2009/04/01/sea-social-environmental-art/. The Textile Works of Julia Sherman Julia Sherman descriptive graphic. Figure 11.
25 weight of the weavers own body is employed in such a way to provide tension forces for each individual warp. This is a prehis toric type of loom and is also extremely portable. For this piece, I made 6 backstrap looms and taught friends to weave. The con struction of the piece happened over the span of 8 hours. 95 To construct the cone in the time duration, each loom is connected to a central line hanging from the ceiling with the counter-balance of opposing weavers uniting the construct into a whole. The weav ing occurs in a two-fold process as the weavers pass their yarn around in a circle, weaving upwards, and also connecting their looms to each another concurrently. The resulting shelter remains in the space as an installation. This installation exhibits the piv otal notion that the acts of weaving, creating, and connecting are more important than the resulting shelter product. The intricately devised weaving scheme and physical connection of the weav ers, translates individual contributions into a symbolic and holistic ritual. Both in the Room-A Loom and Cone of Power Sherman invited novice participants to be introduced to and involved with her weaving performances. In regards to the Room-A Loom per formance she states: 95 Sherman, Julia, Cone of Power, Fine Art stockings. I never had the impulse to try them on, but instead I decided to cut the gowns into long spools of silk thread and to weave them along with my grandmothers stockings and garter into a wall hanging. 94 By embedding these unusable, yet highly meaningful items, within her weaving, Sherman gives a meaning to the tex tile product beyond itself. She also suspends the moments and memories of her relatives to be enjoyed by future generations. Additionally, during the Room-A-Loom project, participants were include: dog fur, a blanket from distant travels, an ex-girlfriends poses an importance to the invited weavers and coupled with their own actions of hand weaving inscribe within the work meaningful messages. A performance weaving, entitled Cone of Power, is en acted using several portable, backstrap looms. The looms are all 94 Sherman, Julia, Untitled Weaving Installation, Fine Art
26 The loom itself is really simple and any one can be taught to use it in about 5-minutes. People are invited to gather together the material of their choice and to contribute to the weaving of this collaborative textile. Participants often form new friendships while sharing stories about the materials they bring in. 96 Having the opportunity to partake in a simple abstrac tion of a very complex craft provides excitement through learn ing basic weaving skills while interacting with the artist and other participating weavers. Most importantly, they are creating form from meaningful hand work and collective experience, ultimately changing the image of woven shelter. 96 Sherman, Julia, A-Room-Loom, Fine Art
27 ture-connected gender. 98 It is of no surprise that from this mental functioning, women of all backgrounds have been entrusted as the caregivers of society since pre history. 99 This responsibility not only affects womens heightened concerns for familial health and well being, but also the duty to provide an environment em responsible for creating quality of life. 100 Emphasis on providing a nurturing, sensitive, and balanced environment comprises a por tion of womens poetic, place-making intentions within the domes tic realm. However, results of these ideals echo beyond the walls of a home and have come to impact the welfare of the planet and all species. There is something about being brought up as nur turers, as sustainers of life that carries through everything states Janine Beynus in Women in Green 101 Womans poetic, domestic care giving effectively seeks to better the world by making it more homelike on all fronts. 102 Caring for the immediate domestic en 98 Ibid. 99 Ibid. 100 Ibid, 78. 101 Ibid. 102 Ibid, 5. next generation 97 they have instinctual feminine characteristics which provide tools for place making ideals for the home and its connections to the outside realm. According to a neuroscience and architecture study conducted by John P. Eberhard, men and womens brains appear very similar, however they are used in completely different manners. Men are generally left-brained and matter-of-fact and women generally right-brained and caring es sentially highlighting women as the more tender, gentle, and na 97 Gould, Kira and Lance Hosey, Women in Green : Voices of Sustainable Design, ( Bainbridge Island, WA: Ecotone LLC, 2007), 79. Chapter Three: Expanded Project Narrative Maternal Design
28 founder of the Land Institute elaborates that: The coming together of the ecological and feminist movements gives us a greater opportu nity to change patterns that not only lead to the extinction of countless other species but also de stroy what supports humansCertain attributes of womens culture must be employed to help us adapt to sustainable, ecological living patterns. What we might call the feminization of the culture will come about in response to the environmental crisis in the most decentralist social organizations of all, our families and partnerships. 105 have been labeled one of the most unsustainable types of de velopment 106 for both the environment and for the well being of the family unit. This failure is due in part to the typical suburban form and organization representing the opposite of maternal think ing. 107 The connections of the quality of the built realm to human health are increasingly more apparent and continuing to ignore the ineptitudes of the suburban home in America jeopardizes the lifespan of the earth. Embracing a feminization of culture will 105 Ibid, 5. 106 Ibid, 80. 107 Ibid, 10 vironment is tied to the instinctive duty to mother the earth. Referring to John P. Eberhard, right-brain dominated in dividuals have an increased awareness towards the impacts of the built world on the natural world, effectively attributing sustain ability practices to the holistic, place making views of women and the home. Likewise, this maternal derived method existed long before the modern sustainability movement became popular. 103 This is not to say men do not share in the concern for the natural world, they do, but their goals generally center along a techno logical sustainability, which seeks to solve environmental issues independently and on a case-by-case basis. Alternatively, women perceive an ecological sustainability, which recognizes environ mental issues as interconnected and in order to develop appropri ate solutions, a fundamentally new method of comprehension and perception must be adopted. 104 Similarly, as the growing popu larity of the modern sustainability movement has shown, current building design and construction methods need to be reevaluated sic, homelike ideals of women already provide basis for new methods to sustain our families and the earth. Dana Jackson, co 103 Ibid, 2. 104 Ibid, 9.
29 However, without the maternal approach, this dwelling model is incomplete for the emotional well being of the family. Equal attention focuses on womens instinctual principles to nur ture the family spirit, provide balance, versatility, longevity, inno vation, collaboration, and a respect of the natural world. These elements, although less concrete, ensure more meaningful, eco logical sustainabilites create a domestic environment that is so cially and culturally rich, provides a stimulating and sensual expe rience, and intelligently and courteously utilizes natures offerings, such as sunlight, plants, views, colors, textures, and climate. The value of the home is now not only measured in BTUs and dollars, but is translated to share an equal role to enhance family togeth erness, community involvement, and environmental stewardship. stinctual, ecological philosophies with technological innovations reveals a true system appropriately addressing a sustained type of shelter and, more importantly, a new approach to living. William McDonough, author of Cradle to Cradle states that at some point a manufacturer or designer decides, We cant keep doing this. We cant keep supporting and maintaining this system. At some point they will decide they would prefer to leave ensure the future of our species has a clean and livable planet as well as an understanding of the appropriate methods to sustain it. a few things out. 108 Kira Gould in Women in Green highlights the most impor tant question about the connections of the built world to the natu ral world for future generations: How do we enumerate principles that encompass everything from the number of BTUs our houses will burn this year to the spiritual well-being of our great, great granddaughters? 109 Modern sustainability guidelines do not ad dress a non-tangible, spiritual well-being and similarly, place mak ing ideals do not encompass a need for technological innovation and improved measurement systems. Qualitative and quantita tive goals need to be addressed at the same time. 110 Highlighting the individual importance with the symbiotic relationship of these two areas enables practical considerations and improved quality of life to equally contribute to a new maternally derived shelter construct. 108 Ibid, 159. 109 Ibid, 111. 110 Ibid, 116.
30 behind a positive design legacy. But when is that point? We say that point is today, and negligence starts tomorrow. 111 A mid century and genderized mindset, ancient and toxic building techniques, and the disconnection of the family unit are results of modern negligence exhibited and fostered in the suburban hous place we live. 112 Women understand it is not really about creating a new home, it is about rediscovering and respecting the one we already live on, guaranteeing our legacy for daughters and grand daughters. 111 McDonough, William, Cradle to Cradle 43-44. 112 Gould, Women in Green 168.
31 conceived within the weavers idiom. 116 Through this original language methodology, Betsky states a porous barrier was created between the actual and the interpretation of our world, however it still allowed a complete understanding through contact with earths material. 117 The no madic, prehistoric world entwined art, language, and common 116 Ibid. 117 Betsky, Building Sex 17. According to Aaron Betsky in Building Sex culture is the 113 Furthermore, we come to understand the world we live in through outlining it with our bodies and understanding it through explora tions in material form. 114 Making things help us understand who we are and where we are in the world. Before the invention of formal language, threads along with cave paintings were the origi nal communicators of meaning for prehistoric cultures. Accord ing to Anni Albers, the ancient Peruvian culture, having no written language, created some of the most intricate and evolved textile works that have ever existed. The entire history of the Peruvian culture, the full life of their world has been interpreted into woven form. 115 Andean cultures developed a semantic language of hiero glyphs imbedded within their woven works, enabling their textiles to exist for more than utilitarian function. Their personages, ani mals, plants, step forms, zigzags, whatever it is they show, are all 113 Betsky, Building Sex xvii. 114 Ibid,17. 115 Albers, Anni, On Weaving (Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 1979),69. Expression of Culture Through Our Objects Sample of ancient Peruvian weaving. Weber, Nicholas Fox, Figure 12. Anni Albers, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and Pandora Tabatabai Asbaghi. Anni Albers New York, N.Y.; Guggenheim Museum Publications; distributed by H.N: Abrams, 1999.
32 ing and connection with community. 120 Accord ing to Jacques Derrida in Betskys Building Sex construct that is neces sary for the creation of rational human society but that it itself a form of covering up or forgetting of a world we know only through senses. 121 Lan guage is also thought to be a masculine invention applying rules, grammar, and value, to conceal the natural woven interpretations of our surroundings. Meaning of the world was taken from com the few. 122 Substituting our experiences of the world with words, of the world through women. This is the way in which humankind 120 Ibid, 16. 121 Ibid. 122 Ibid, 17. agreement. 118 He elaborates that the tent symbolized culture for the nomad and although it is woven shelter and a material inter pretation of its surroundings, its invention marked the evolution of a further separation of interpretation: The tent was a built spiral that contained and preceded the rigid constructs of grammar and the layers of value that were the result of the creation of territory. Before there was land that was owned, and before there was an abstract language that was written down, there was the reality of the tent that made us at home in the world. It was a real place, made by men and women together. It was the scene of our human ity, one in which we made a world for ourselves. Yet the tent is also the site of the nomadic people who are removing themselves from nature. 119 This act of appearance set into motion the tension of prehistoric society: a desire to communally live and also a fear of the unknown natural world. The desire to categorize and replace rather than remake naturally through art as experience, initiated the dawn of modern language. Actual written words began to re place thread as text and carrier of meaning. Writing separated of words from their ephemeral connection with the act of speak 118 Betsky, Building Sex xviii. 119 Ibid, 18. Figure 13. Lapp Shelter. Wikimedia Commons.
33 perceive it from a masculine or feminine perspective, thus affect ing a future separation from nature. In regards to modern cultures, Anni Albers states con cerned with form and with the shape of objects surrounding us that is, with designwe will have to look at the things we have made. She continues that it is good for all of us to pause some times, to think, wonder, and maybe worry; to ask where are we now? 123 Essentially, the understanding of a culture has come to be represented in the language all of its designed products, in cluding both architecture and textiles. Consequently, what are the messages our products are sending about created places of this era? As demonstrated by the prehistoric woven tent, a space be comes a place through architecture and with modern architecture, constructed buildings have come to represent culture and give of the built environment. The messages of architecture articulate that structures of nature have been dominated by the structures of man, they are a symbolic construct of sexuality in the real world, and they are not a natural interpretation of our surroundings, thus 123 Albers, Selected Writings 34. the barrier of experiences is not porous. 124 Through their use of language, the modern form of build ing does not let us connect with or be at home in the natural world, ments were initially based around the model of the tent, however aforementioned prehistoric tensions prevailed and a replacing, in stead of remaking of the world ensued. The Neolithic period high lights humankinds change from a society based on cooperation, communication, and understanding to one of control, expansion, and exploitation. This happened at the same time as or because, we moved from a matriarchal to a patriarchal society. 125 Betsky notes that cities in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome were based around the patriarchal model and in the modern day, the creation of suburban residential developments, the modern ap proach to shelter, also reveals evidence of this type of design as well. 126 Built using the innovation of industry and mass produced 124 Betsky, Building Sex xiv and xvii.. 125 Ibid, 19 126 Ibid, 21.
34 construction methods and lifestyle approaches encouraged lie at the heart of proven adverse affects already incurred on the planet. According to Woman in Green the typical suburb is the opposite of womens way of thinking about the world and with half the popula tion of this country living in the suburbs, suburban dwellers live an overwhelmingly misinterpreted lifestyle. Similarly, as written language has replaced our under standing of the world through textiles and permanent buildings have replaced our need for textiles as shelter, textiles have been downgraded to a minor art, decorative supporting parts, and indoor existences. But with their relaxed duties, that is, no longer hav ing to guard our life, [textiles] have accumulated more and more functions that belong to another realmaesthetic functions. 130 Textile chemistry and industrial production have advanced while the basic techniques of weavings have remained constant or have been forgotten. Advancements also have predominately affected quantities of fabric, leaving the quality of modern fabrics unmoved. Such a vital communication medium, with origins from women and the earth, has been lost to modern culture and used instead as embellishment. In Selected Writings on Design Anni Albers tells a fanciful 130 Albers, On Designing 20. nology and absolutely no sense of connection to community or nature. The suburbs are one of the least sustainable types of development states Lauren Anderson of the New Orleans Neigh borhood Housing Services in Women in Green 127 Designed to allow air, light, and promote health, suburban communities con mobile resources, degradation of the family-community unit and to the destruction of the natural ecology and limited resources. As most suburban communities are based around the introverted, single-family dwelling, connections between families, involvement in community activities, and a connection with nature are down played. A lack of interactions outside the home further contributes to the tendency of the human existence to evolve into an indoor species, most notably negatively affecting health and causing a continual increase in size of the spaces we inhabit. 128 Because suburban dwellings are generally not built by inhabitants, decorat ing is accepted as the method to personalize space with imper manent additions, privatizing little pieces of an alien environment as Betsky states. 129 Through the visual language of the suburbs, 127 Gould, Women in Green 80. 128 Douglas Farr, Sustainable Urbanism : Urban Design with Nature (Hobo ken, N.J.: Wiley, 2008) 19. 129 Betsky, Building Sex xix.
35 simple weave, and even the complex weaves of this era, as he observed the large quantities of mass produced fabric. Few ele ments of technique would intrigue him at this stage of fabrication and as a result, he would have several critiques and comments. What the Peruvian would call bareness in weaving can predominately be related to the increased use of the machine and the reduced use of the hand and spontaneous shaping. 134 Conse quently, divorcing the planning from the making of modern textiles disrupts the creation of thoughtful form, evaluated based upon the great works of the Peruvians. The natural and sometimes surprising characteristics of material are replaced by rigid design, durability, and quantity. Textile forms addressing both beauty and use have vanished, highlighting a deep emotional and practical division. Albers believes that it is therefore valid that new devel opments should be designed for the task of usefulness, while cor responding to the imaginations of art. 135 As weaving and architecture have evolved to be indus try dominated and devoid of human expression, to realign them means a truer built expression of the world. Contemporary build 134 Albers, On Designing 13. 135 Ibid, 14. story of an ancient Peruvian worker observing the textile work of today. She elaborates that as the weaver was part of the great est textile culture in history, he can be considered as fair judge of our achievements. 131 The weaver would wonder at the synthetic etc., and the vast assortment of colors now available. With the use of mechanical textile production the weaver would also naturally be in awe at the speed of production, intricacies of the weaving, and the consistency of the threads. Albers elaborates that initially the weaver would feel quite taken back at advancements which have occurred since his time, perhaps feeling underachieved about personal textile creations. Regaining his pride, the weaver would soon realize these modern contributions to textiles only oc of the traditional material and then in the innovative methods of construction. 132 Additionally, the weaver would cleverly conclude at right angles. 133 The weaver would immediately recognize the 131 Albers, Selected Writings 28. 132 Ibid. 133 Ibid, 30.
36 ings should interpret in their form an understanding of and coop eration with the natural world, rather than a dominance and sepa ration, through woven techniques. In essence, in developing a must regress to progress.
37 ception of touch, of forming is increasingly removed from the mod ern lifestyle. Additionally, as we touch things to make sense of the world our need for tactile stimulation is left inactive. 138 Things are created quickly and exist purely for our consumption, producing a society dominated by collecting rather than constructing. With the work than the hand powered loom. Each step towards the mechanical perfection of the loom, in common with all machines, in its degree, lessens the freedom of the weaver. 139 Albers does make note that technology and the foot powered loom are both rather than invention imagination. Despite the push for technological progress, humans have always had an innate sense and desire to create by hand, thus further disenchanting machine made objects from our pri mal existence. There is, of course, a most legitimate urge in everyone to use his hands, and this takes us back again to the earliest periods. For when man learned to go upright, his hands 138 Ibid, 69. 139 Ibid, 40. In Selected Writings on Design a collection of essays written between 1947 and 1965, Anni Albers uniformly supports that modern machines and technology have reduced the promi nence of handmade work and the vital role of the craftsman in shaping the objects of everyday use. No need to get our hands in the dough. No needalas, also little chanceto handle ma terials, to test their consistency, their density, their lightness, their smoothness. 136 Technology now breaks up these separate stages of investigation and design, placing these roles into separate and unconnected hands, thus affecting effectiveness of the sum of the parts into a whole entity. 137 A single craftsman is no longer at work. Candidly Albers remarks that technological advancement removes the unrewarding chores of ceaseless effort and struggle only dem onstrated by hand work. Because hand contact today generally whether this industrial progress is actually a balanced progress. connection to the material and experimentation in the medium of making? As a result of dominating industrial production, the per 136 Albers, Selected Writings 69. 137 Ibid, 19. Working with the Hands and the Handmade
38 Consequently, by reinserting the work of the craftsman, society can begin again to make and form by hand, recharging meaning to material far beyond itself. 145 It is understood that the original craftsman has been overrun by industry, but the modern artist seeks to continue the familiar link with pure material and slow process of form. Albers considers the modern artist as ca pable of embodying the spirit of the craftsman of yesterday. It is here, I believe, that the true craftsman is foundinventive as ever, ingenious, intuitive, skillful, worthy of linking us with the past. His terms for newly unfolding areas of awareness. 146 By taking mate rial back into the hand and directly experiencing material, society can regain a sense of balance. Although Anni Albers essays were written over 50 years ago, they elude a familiar perspective in regards to a continued and increasing societal reliance on mass-production and disconnect with the hand made. Her views of the re-embodied craftsman are still extremely prominent especially as a growing number of mod ern artists are creating work by hand and employing techniques and materials associated with craft. Demonstrated in By Hand: 145 Ibid, 25. 146 Ibid. were freed for the making of things, his most human trait, and his mind developed with it. 140 Without the outlet to create, modern society bases the creation of form on little more than a thought of outer appearance. 141 Furthermore, design has been reduced to indirect forming, through vicarious mediums of graphics, words, and unresponsive mediums. Albers points to the example of the painter and his ability to just squeeze, a tube and his obedient medium permits him to use it anyway he likes. 142 However hand weaving, considered a complex craft, arouses the hubris of cre forming (OD,). 143 With regards to all crafts, Albers considers the more possibilities for attack the material offers in its appearance and in its structural elements, the more it can call forth imagination and productiveness. 144 As few of these opportunities exist, the mental and physical struggle to shape the shapeless and to physi cally manifest a vision is removed from modern culture. 140 Albers, On Designing 63 and 64. 141 Ibid, 30. 142 Albers, Selected Writings 53. 143 Albers, On Designing 52. 144 Ibid, 52.
39 ern materialization of this ancient practice is a reactive response 150 A collective group of artists made-for-you society and embrace age-old techniques, often passed down from one generation to another, and focus on detail, craftsmanship, and tactility. 151 By Hand: The Use of Craft in Contemporary America, share a commitment to a tactile connection with materi als and the means of forming. Illustrating personal experience using hand work, this generation of artists emphasizes process as the product, rather than a means to an end. 152 Additionally, the artists carry emotional connections to the processes, as they have been taught from generation to generation. backgrounds prior to embracing handmade work. By bringing paint and charcoal into this constructive realm, their ideas are thus strengthened by unique materials and contexts and their de sire to explore a more intuitive approach to popular to design is 150 Ibid, 11. 151 Ibid, 12. 152 Ibid, 7. The Use of Craft in Contemporary America many artists are put ting down their paintbrushes and moving away from the canvas, with disciplines such as fashion design, industrial design, and the book arts following suit. 147 This current movement is a result of the technological inspiration of artists, designers, and architects of the 1990s creating work based around the personal computer. As design evolved into a seamless, digital aesthetic, a sort of global village of digitally networked computer users and helped to pro mote and maintain a sense of cultural homogeneity. 148 However, as Albers questioned if all progress balanced in the mid-century, the same concern emerged at this juncture. In everything from ism and personal uniqueness of creative work. As it had in Albers career, masked as progress, the monotonization of the world detained intelligent and meaningful hand craft from a means of making sense of the world. 149 Post-1990s however, resurgence in the do-it-yourself has begun to answer our innate need to use the hands. The mod 147 Hung, Shu and Joseph Magliaro, By Hand : The use of Craft in Contempo rary Art (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2007), 7. 148 Ibid, 11. 149 Ibid.
40 War I, she along with her colleagues chose to reject their previ ous training and the existing weaving curriculum, one based on pictorial notions of decorating and embellishment. Instead they embraced an ideal to work directly with the material to return to a sound basis of personal creativity and tactile exploration, leading to some of the most successful textile works in modern times. Her struggle with a rugged material while at the Bauhaus and for the remainder of her career validates the timelessness of the crafts mans methods and that the physical body is the primary means with which to experience the world and the most obvious tool for the production of creative work. 156 With the resurgence of the forms a new generation of artists that manual work is a genuine artistic experience. 156 Hung, Shu, By Hand 12. further supported. 153 Coincidently, in her essay One Aspect of Art Work Albers also remarks on the necessary colliding of academ ics and the realm of making something become real, for a true understanding of form and the freedom of constructing. But how do we know how to build? Edu cation meant to prepare us. But how much of education is concerned with doing and how much with recording? How much of it with productive speculation and how much with repeating? Too much of our education provides instead of prepares and thus loses its serving role and tends to become an end in itself Education in general means to use academic education, which becomes synonymous with an unproductive one. If we want to learn to do, to form, we have to turn part of it. 154 Albers does not speak of this approach to education in the speculative sense; rather she speaks from real life experience. She entered the Bauhaus in 1923 after having experienced the sterility of a traditional applied arts education. 155 With the spirit of the Bauhaus and the experimental nature of the arts after World 153 Ibid, 8. 154 Albers, On Designing 30. 155 Ibid, 38.
41 Chapter Four: Initial Woven Experiments Preparation for Work One Figure 14. Measuring warp. Figure 15. Making the cross. Figure 16. Tying onto front Figure 17. Fibers then inserted Figure 18. into heddles.
42 Figure 19. All bunches tied to back rod. Figure 20. Figure 21. Figure 22.
43 Work One: Untitled Figure 23. Twill weave. Figure 24. Plain weave with blue weft. Figure 25.
44 Plain weave with yellow weft. Figure 26. Selvedge or end condition of weave. Figure 27. Plain weave with alternating yellow and blue weft. Fabric still on Figure 28. loom.
45 Twill weave with chunky weft. Figure 29. Alternating, long-run twill weave. Figure 30. Alternating, short-run twill weave. Figure 31.
46 Selected Preparation for Work Two Figure 32. Figure 33. through beater dents. Figure 34. from rear. Alternating colors Figure 35. through beater. Figure 36.
47 Work Two: Untitled Figure 37. Cellophane weft in plan weave. Figure 38. Hooking different wefts and changing direction. Figure 39.
48 Detail of hooking Figure 40. Allowing jute weft to raise from two-dimensional plane. Figure 41.
49 Increased amount of jute weft to raised from two-dimensional plane. Figure 42. Detail of raised jute. Figure 43. One directional twill weave detail. Figure 44.
50 Detail of jute. Figure 45. Loose twill weave with metal mesh inserted. Figure 46. Warping metal mesh after fabric is removed from loom. Figure 47.
51 Chapter Five: Project Initiatives Problem Statement shelter re-learn from prehistoric shelter? How can the structures of nature again be equal with the structures of humankind? How can woven architecture capture a memory to inform the future? How can the act of nurturing extend into the physical en vironment of shelter? With regards to beauty and functionality, how can the ob jects we make better represent who we are as a culture? After careful consideration of initial research and analy sis of woven experiments, the following are outlined as important questions in the development of a woven shelter artifact: How can shelter design be united again with the act of making, replacing what has already been made for us? How can an architecture of weaving reveal the processes of making and experimenting? How can we connect with and embed meaning into the spaces we inhabit? In making space a place, what elements can modern
52 Goals and Objectives After a thorough deliberation of issues and priorities of a woven shelter artifact, the following are outlined as goals and objectives to be achieved for an informed process and relevant outcome: Design a shelter installation centered on the act of weaving. Underline the preparation and making in the con struction of the device Connect with the raw materials of construction through making Utilize the properties of materials to create new combinations Embrace the versatility of a non-hierarchical structure React to suburban shelter which is made for us Instill meaning in the shelter materials. Design the shelter with an importance greater than outer appearance Embrace working by hand, woven language, and captured memory Replace objects which we actually construct rath er than just collect Becomes a representation of a culture rooted in making Design using notions of prehistoric woven shelter Exist within rather than on the natural world Implement a porous barrier of the natural world into the human-made world and tent Symbolize both void and projection Carve an amorphous and intimate in enclosure for human interaction
53 Embody the ideas of structure as inherent to femininity Develop a structure reminiscent of human nurtur ing Create both a cave and a skeletal frame
54 Chapter Six: Program Design Criteria of community, culture, and education. The performance of mak ing will celebrate interactions with it through sensation, demon stration, and physical connection with materials, nature, and com munity. The process begins with a basic and repetitive shelter framework, the warp frame. organization of the construct, related to the warp in handcrafted loom weaving and ideas of enclosure and structure based around maternal nurturing. Connections from interior to exterior, trans of interfab, weaving, is then woven within the warp frame creating surface, rial programmed within the consistent warp frame to embed emo in its form and suspends it for the future. In this sense meaningful, rather than premade or mass produced items, makes the form both useful and important. All work is done by hand, providing an through the connection with raw materials. When the warp frame is combined with the interfab using The design of the woven shelter construct will consist of an ephemeral, three-dimensional environment based on the literal and conceptual construct of weaving. In addition to its exhibition of creating meaningful form by hand, the construct will serve as an outdoor architectural installation for gathering, connection, and education. This is not a housing prototype, but a shelter with roots in prehistoric notions of maternal thinking and nomadic shelter. The construct becomes a conceptual catalyst for future innovative shelter constructs. Through a process of making, seeing, and do ing the conventions of modern structures already built for us are replaced with human connection with material and construction. Product is not a building, but architecture based on the synthesis
55 a woven tectonic language, the resultant is called an artifact The embodied artifact is the physical representation of the conceptual from nature was a porous woven enclosure, the artifact expresses elements future shelter should aspire to achieve. Spatial qualities of the artifact are intimate and nurturing, providing maximum hu man to human connection through an enclosing, yet permeable environment. Fluidity of space is enhanced through its amorphous shape based on the prehistoric tent: a non-genderized space, the artifact displays moments of containment and projection. The ar tifact remains intact for a temporary period of time and is then deconstructed, as everything than can be woven can be unwoven. nence of life cycles and growing stages of nature and humankind. nature rather than on it.
56 ably sustain the planet as a site for human settlement. 158 of successful and sustainable urbanism, the SDAT committee outlined several areas of which need improvement in regards to creating a more sustainable realm through art initiatives. Tampa is already authorizing public art as part of new public and private construction projects, giving the city an artistic face. However, the city could be more engaged in public art-making, giving mean ing to the city and its inhabitants, and celebrating the historic and cultural arts of Tampa. 159 Additionally, Tampa should continue to implement art events that inform how the population views down town, urban neighborhoods, and parks. Existing public art events like, Lights on Tampa an installation based around new interpretations of shelter and the woven arts will further assist the city in its commitment towards a sustainable future, an opportunity for audiences discover the city, its, and a means to put a small piece of themselves in city 158 The American Institute of Architects, Sustainable Design Assesment 159 The American Institute of Architects, Connecting Tampa, A report by the American Institute of Architects Sustainable Design Assessment Team, Locational Implications As the woven shelter artifact makes no claim to perma However, its installation in Tampa, Florida does invoke some time ly, locational relevance. The city of Tampa, like many US cities, is beginning to understand the importance of sustainable-based growth through informed design, education, and community par participation in the American Institute of Architects Sustainable Design Assessment Teams 2008 study. The Sustainable Design Assessment Team (SDAT) program brings together multidisci plinary teams of professionals from across the country to provide a road map for communities seeking to improve their sustainabil day without reducing the ability of future generations to meet their needs. 157 The SDAT program is based on the American Institute of Architects goal of assisting communities developing a sustain able and lasting relationship between humans, nature, and creat ing place. Furthermore, by attaining a balance among cultural, environmental, and economic systems, communities can respect
57 development. 160 It was further concluded that outdoor performance art and culture in the downtown should play a leading role in the ef fort to transform the meaning and image of downtown towards the public. 161 Artists and performers have the ability to provide unique perspectives, experiences, and opportunities with regards to all development efforts. Currently residents identify with the Through the incorporation of arts, individuals within a community 162 The opportunity to learn about prehistoric shelter, the need for increased connection with modern shelter, and the development of new methods and materials could contribute to a more holistic vision for the citys residential initiatives. The SDAT committee also outlined professional artists as key players in the sustainable development process. Artists are the people who can design the activities and lead a community 160 Ibid. 161 Ibid. 162 Ibid. group from beginning to end as an art piece or performance takes shape. 163 Through public work, artists learn to give back to the community via their art and the meaning it provides the city, while also taking on a new kind of artistic challenge. The making pro cess enriches them both professionally and personally as they venture into new territory to work with a new community. Fiber installation artist and Tampa native, Janet Echleman, has public art placed all over the world and no longer resides in the city. However, during Lights on Tampa in 2006 she returned home to construct a temporary installation for the Poe Parking Garage in garage in the public image, Echlemans design drew people inside unknown space into a place. I was drawn to this site precisely be cause there was nothing to draw me to it. Its in America that ultimately disappears from pub lic memory. Last year, I began my research by asking people in Tampa what they thought of the garage. The vast majority of people couldnt re call what it looked like, and werent exactly sure where it was, despite the fact it takes up an entire city block of waterfront in the heart of downtown Tampa. The site called for an infusion of warmth 163 Ibid.
58 through the space. 164 vision, however it is important to note Echlemens realization that the installation could have happened in any parking garage in the country. The installation was about the overall artistic awakening of a garage, but coincidentally it was incorporated into an artistic and cultural event. Similarly with the performance of woven shel ter artifact, it corresponds to a particular message of connections between shelter and nature, connection and construction. This is particular focus of the city of Tampa for its sustainable future, but a non-locational base enables the message of the artifact to more importantly, be relevant on a global scale. 164 Echelman, Janet, Line Drawing, Janet Echelman
59 Chapter Seven: Preliminary Design Concepts Weaving Meaning into Design Space memory details. Figure 48. Emotional memory details. Figure 49. Physical memory details. Figure 50. Material memory details. Figure 51.
60 Preparation for Work Three Setting up large weaving; tying onto front beam. Figure 52. Figure 53. beam. Making knots Figure 54. heddles.
61 Figure 55. Winding the warp onto the back roller. Figure 56. Warp ready for weft. Figure 57.
62 Figure 58. Figure 59. Work Three: Embedded Meaning
63 Fishing line and meaningful relatives tie as weft. Figure 60. Figure 61.
64 Untitled weave pattern with chunky and fuzzy weft. Figure 62. Detail of untitled weave pattern with chunky and fuzzy weft. Figure 63. Figure 64. Figure 65.
65 Detail of copper tubing as weft. Figure 66. Twill weave with plastic bag weft. Figure 67.
66 Expanded view of twill weave with plastic bag weft. Figure 68. Selvedge condition of twill weave with plastic bag weft. Figure 69. Rolled hardware cloth weft capturing spatial memory. Figure 70.
67 Rolled hardware cloth and large wooded dowel as weft captur Figure 71. ing spatial memory. Detail inside weft capturing spatial memory. Figure 72. Figure 73. Figure 74.
68 Figure 75. Figure 76.
69 Figure 77. Figure 78.
70 Maternal Structure Guidelines Graphic of maternal structural constants. Figure 79. Diagram of design criteria for maternal structure. Figure 80.
71 Woven Shelter Concepts Diagram of design criteria for maternal structure. Figure 81. Diagram of design criteria for maternal structure. Figure 82. Diagram of Figure 83. design criteria for maternal structure.
72 Diagram of design criteria for maternal structure. Figure 84. Diagram of design criteria for maternal structure. Figure 85. Diagram of design criteria for maternal structure. Figure 86.
73 Diagram of design criteria for maternal structure. Figure 87.
74 waist to apply tension to the threads as the fabric is woven. 165 The loom is then attached to a stationary object, primarily a tree, to maintain and adjust tension. 166 The basic design of this type of loom, as compared to the traditional heddle loom, allows complete anyone can quickly be taught to use it and it also can be adjusted to any size body or weaving expertise. 167 The very elegant and simple fabric produced from the backstrap loom and its extreme versatility is an inspirational mod ule in the interpretation of weaving space to provide shelter. With a jump into the human scale and an extension into the vertical plane to wrap three-dimensionally, the woven section lends itself to creating a habitable space. The three realms of basic archi planar adjustments to match these elements. Furthermore, with a repetition of the woven modules radially around a stationary ob ject a complete enclosure is constructed. 165 The Fabric of Mayan Lives: An Exhibit of Textiles, Backstrap Looms, 166 Ibid. 167 Ibid. weaving space led to weaving objects off of the traditional loom and exploring weaving in three dimensions while still keeping the ideals of material memory and maternal structure. Additional research on the history of weaving in primitive cultures led to the discovery of the backstrap loom and its portable and modular characteristics relevant to this study. According to a textile exhibit entitled The Fabric of Mayan Life, the backstrap loom is a fairly simple and mobile type of loom, as it largely consists of sticks and a strap worn around the weavers Chapter Eight: Project Execution Final Design Exploration
75 actually start producing cloth, youre in production mode and not thinking about the design. 169 Meinolfs design reinterpreted sev eral of the pieces of a traditional loom, such as making the heddles and the beater into one piece and replacing the soft heddle loops bers. Most importantly, Meinolf used digital fabrication, namely la ser cutting, to create his reinterpretation allowing many loom sets As Meinolfs loom sets were used to create blankets, a loom set used to make shelter took into consideration many other elements. The resulting weight of a shelter fabric contributed to an increase in width and length of the loom set and an increase in thickness of plywood for construction. Due to an increase in tension of the shelter fabric, personal comfort of the weaver and strengthening the connection points to the body and tree were also closely addressed in the new loom. With the use of com puter aided drafting and subsequent digital fabrication practices, making changes to the loom set was simple and straightforward. Subsequently, several prototypical sets for weaving space were constructed to adapt to the jump in scale, use as shelter creation, and preservation of portability. 169 Ibid. As the backstrap loom typically attaches to a tree to cre aesthetic implications as a center of the woven enclosure. The course of this study thus far has comprised a return to nature as the center of modern life coupled with a respect to how the built world interacts with it. Using the convenience of the tree as an ex tion for the overall design of the woven enclosure. The language shelter design conceptually and physically connected to nature. Being a very prehistoric tool, the elements comprising the backstrap loom can be readily found within nature. However, as a major project intent. Textile artist Travis Meinolf provided a vast array of information in regards to updating both the production of loom elements, streamlining the process, further enforcement of the process over the product in the act of weaving, and the com munication of weaving to a mass audience. 168 The setup of the loom is where most the design decisions are made. Once you 168 Barseghian, Tina, Blanket Offer, Craft: Transforming Traditional Crafts, no. 08 (Aug. 2008): 46.
76 studied earlier in Material Meaning By making the process of selecting materials personal, an even greater connection is made to the place of inhabitation. The prototypical shelter section proved to be extremely effective in erection and temporary use. Most importantly, the process took less than two hours and required little expertise to than a traditional loom, therefore easily translated to other people. to a broader, novice audience. Anyone, regardless of their weav ing experience could now make fabric for their own shelter. Along the same vein, the kit of parts could be brought to any location and, with the use of a stationary object, construct a temporary woven shelter. The overall aim of the shelter is that weavers have input in the design, construction, and use of the shelter, beyond that which is available in traditional, modern shelter. Based on need, the intricacies of the process are understood and the parameters the piece meaning beyond itself. The weaver also has complete control over what materials to use because the weft yarns are free for exploration. As the process and structure of weaving captures meaning, a weaver may choose to select a material for reasons
77 Conceived as weaving performance, goals of the event emphasized handwork, use of meaningful material, and the resul tant social fabric of construction. Most importantly, the perfor cance greater than traditional shelter. Participants from the local community were invited to interact with fellow novice-weavers and loom kit. Invitees were also requested to donate a weft material of their choice that could be transformed on-site for weaving the shelter. This material could consist of but not be limited to plastic grocery bags, old clothing, plants or vines, fabric, ribbons, panty hose, shoelaces, blankets, electric or computer cords, belts, video within the formal guidelines of this study, while also allowing a personal creativity, authorship, and connection which could not be pre-designed in the shelter. Over the course of two weeks, twenty-one backstrap loom sets were designed, laser cut, assembled, and attached to the base of the selected tree in preparation of the event. The nearly 12,000 feet of warp rope included in the looms was ready for programming with meaningful weft. tion and related analysis, the succeeding step revealed to be a temporary construct highlighting the process of weaving and the personal, emotional connection to shelter-making. A grove of trees south of the University of South Florida, School of Archi shelter locale. The largest tree within the grove, having a trunk circumference of over 100 inches and branching off into three im mense limbs at a height of 6 feet, served as the stationary object and a conceptual basis. In this particular instance, there is al ready shelter from the overhead tree limbs. However, relating to insect cocoons hanging in trees, secondary shelter is provided by the tree, but primary protection and privatization of space is achieved through the insect-created shelters. A series of three grounded, woven cocoons were envisioned to carve out place and to allow perception of the space underneath the tree with new eyes and consciousness. Each cocoon would be made of seven woven sections, with the width and height of each cocoon being determined by the branch it was connected to. This shift in scale and reaction to place further demonstrated the adaptability of the weaving system. The Making Day
78 The event Remaking Shelter: An Adventure in Collabora tive Weaving occurred on March 6, 2010 from 10 am until 6pm. Over the course of nine hours, over 30 different individuals of dif ferent backgrounds and ages were taught to weave, contributing to fourteen complete shelter sections. One complete cocoon was erected using the methods of the initial prototypical woven section during the weaving event. The following day a second cocoon from the weaving day. Weavers donated nearly 5000 feet of their own unique weft material, ranging from relics, recycled elements, or pure experiments, to construct the shelter and embed a piece of themselves into the construct.
79 of making, strengthening communal relationships. The resultant creativity and thoughtfulness in which weav ers collected and donated a personal weft material was extremely successful. Nearly every participant donated a unique material for themselves and in some cases had remainder to share with other weavers, adding to the overall richness and connections embed ded within the shelter. The supplied rope, which coincidentally was the easiest material to work with, was immediately perceived as a boring weft and exists very little in the construct Materi al ranged from Christmas lights, a childs raincoat, a Starbucks apron and hat, plastic grocery bags, mens ties, t-shirts, electrical cords, newspaper, Spanish moss, and other unique items. Do nated material transformation into a useable form for weaving on site was also an important job and also contributed to personal connection to shelter. The majority of participants, having no experience with weaving or familiarity of construction methods to erect shelter sections, exhibited an impressive array of construction ingenuity throughout the weaving performance event. On several occasions participants were observed innovating construction methods and tools on site for alternative uses in weaving and shelter erection. After chronicling the events of the weaving performance, several notable areas of activity were analyzed in relation to initial project intentions. The transformation of invitees into an actual weaving community was immediately perceivable with the start of the event. Novice weavers from different backgrounds and loca tions joined together for communal making and to achieve a com mon goal. Backstrap loom sets originally designed as individual tools, evolved throughout the day into a process of teamwork due ticipant would throw the shuttle while the other participant, having the loom around their waist, would adjust the heddle board as Most notably with regards to community-making was the arrangement of weavers and looms around the tree. Initially, seven in relation to the cocoon design. However, as weaving advanced woven fabric was rolled at the participants waists, moving them closer to the base of the tree. Correspondingly, those fabricating weft material for the weavers also moved. Weaving techniques and tips were also shared verbally as weaving advanced. Social connectivity increased through decreasing the physical proximity Post-Making Day Analysis
80 mance based on the process and not the product. lines were initially set and dictated, but when working in a com munal setting with novice participants, challenges do arise. De spite much assistance and help from the weaving community, the an outcome that was consistent with the design parameters. Con sequently, the construction of the second cocoon the following day allowed for further analysis and a change in the construction method to allow for an elegant and less haphazard detail. With regards to construction methods and ingenuity within a communal setting, the overall goal and true success is to clearly outline pa rameters but be willing to remove personal connections to actual authorship. material required different handling tactics in order to be woven. Several pieces of the loom set failed throughout the day and were replaced with new pieces. After each breakage, how ever an informal, verbal analysis was conducted to determine cause of failure. Participants were eager to continue, but more importantly wanted to ensure a proper usage of the tools and methods. This desire enabled them to stay alert to their weaving movements and also maintain a high level of craft for the woven section. A quick reiteration of proper methods, typically solved the weaving breakdown, however in some instances the problems could not be resolved. As craft and accuracy were obvious goals of the event and lenge of communal construction. In regards to design and image of the woven sections, some participants easily understood the process and were able to construct highly crafted pieces. Other participants struggled and were not as successful in the weaving task, thus resulting aesthetically in a piece of low craft. However,
81 The obvious lack of continuity and sensitivity to nature within current construction led to the incorporation of innate ma ternal nurturing and a return to the prehistoric woven shelters of women. In further strengthening a connection to the natural world, the internal shelter of the female body symbolically became a design impetus for the permeable enclosure of both cave and skeleton, exhibited in the construct design. Being communally created, the work embodied many voices as well as being a vehicle of communication in regards communal making go far beyond those of just the project site, but begin to educate a greater audience and spur movements for change. All the voices realize there is a different way of making and the need is now. Its not a landmark building, a set of rules, or a single event that is going to make a difference in shelter construction, but rather looking differently at the things we already possess in order to move forward sensitively, intelligently, and sustainably. Carol Franklin in Women in Green states that the earth is one large household we have a responsibility for. 171 For countless 171 Gould, Kira and Lance Hosey, Women in Green : Voices of Sustainable Design, ( Bainbridge Island, WA: Ecotone LLC, 2007), 168. As mentioned By Hand: The Use of Craft in Contempo rary Art, the physical body is the primary means with which to experience the world and the most obvious tool for the produc tion of creative work. 170 The design output of this particular study became precisely that: an exercise in hand-making, as well as Rather, powerful queries about the fundamentals of society, cul ture, and the built world instead probed the heart of the matter: making space, personal place. A temporary, spatial construct acted as a creative tool to alter the perception of building and social connection with place. Weaving, literally and conceptually, linked prehistoric shelter with modern building and questioned whether current construction methods are true progress and positive representations of cul ture. Design and construction of the construct was rethought in terms of weaving, highlighting hand making, material connection, over product. 170 Hung, Shu and Joseph Magliaro, By Hand : The use of Craft in Contempo rary Art (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2007), 12. Conclusions
82 centuries humanity has been above nature. An architecture in corporating the natural constructions of weaving is an intuitive process that holds true potential in bringing humanity back down to its root. With the innate guidance of women, nurturers of the earth, the pursuits of change become even more palpable. This study scratches the surface of the task given to this generation of architects. Most importantly, it leaves room for continued explora tion with the only result being the question Whats next?
83 Chapter Nine: Project Graphics Prototype Design and Erection Overhead diagram of human body connected to backstrap loom. Figure 88. Making images from actual use of backstrap loom. Figure 89. Elevational diagram of human body using backstrap loom. Figure 90.
84 Concept collage of nature as inspiration for design. Figure 91. Inspirational imagery for design. Figure 92. Sketches of shelter design. Figure 93.
85 Laser cut sheet for personal loom set. Figure 94. Laser cut sheet for personal loom set. Figure 95.
86 Laser cut sheet for personal loom set. Figure 96. Shop drawing diagram of shelter fabric. Figure 97.
87 Shop drawing detail of shelter fabric. Figure 98. Shop drawing detail of shelter fabric. Figure 99.
88 Shop drawing detail of shelter fabric. Figure 100. Tree selected for weaving prototype. Figure 101.
89 Images of loom prototype pieces. Figure 102. Images of loom prototype pieces. Figure 103. Images of loom prototype pieces. Figure 104. Images of loom prototype pieces. Figure 105.
90 Images depicting the setup of the prototype. Figure 106. Detail images of prototype setup. Figure 107.
91 Detail images of prototype setup. Figure 108. Detail images of prototype setup. Figure 109.
92 Completed prototype woven section. Figure 110.
93 Completed prototype woven section. Figure 111.
94 Alternative shelter construction design. Figure 112. Alternative shelter construction design. Figure 113. Alternative shelter construction design. Figure 114.
95 Inspirational images for cocoon shelter design. Figure 115. Cocoon shelter rendering. Figure 116. Cocoon shelter section. Figure 117. Cocoon shelter elevation. Figure 118.
96 Cocoon shelter plan. Figure 119. Invitational poster for weaving day events. Figure 120. Images of loom set up for weaving day events. Figure 121.
97 Images of the Weaving Performance Day Looms set up radially around tree on weaving performance day. Figure 122. Looms set up Figure 123. radially around tree on weav ing performance day. Detail of loom Figure 124. set connected to tree.
98 Cutting Figure 125. donated materials for weft usage. Detail Figure 126. of Starbucks apron for use as weft. Novice weaver beginning to weave. Figure 127. Weaving and rolling up fabric at waist. Figure 128.
99 Winding the shuttle. Figure 129. Participant cuts up an old raincoat for use at weft. Figure 130. Beginning to weave the raincoat. Figure 131.
100 Broken heddle board during weaving. Figure 132. Winding the shuttle with plastic bag weft. Figure 133. Winding the shuttle with Starbucks apron. Figure 134.
101 First complete woven section. Figure 135. Working in teams to use the backstrap loom. Figure 136. Working intently to make the weave tight. Figure 137.
102 Creating weft material from donated mens ties. Figure 138. Resultant weave of mens ties. Figure 139.
103 Novice weaver working with supplied rope. Figure 140. Several loom sets tied to tree. Figure 141. The communal weaving group. Figure 142.
104 Figure 143. Figure 144.
105 Figure 145. shelter. Working together to solve connection problems, Figure 146.
106 Altering the height of the woven sections in the tree. Figure 147. Ensuring the shelter support piece is under proper tension. Figure 148.
107 Images of the Final Construct Overhead connection of the second cocoon to the tree. Figure 149. Detail of shelter support connection. Figure 150. Figure 151.
108 Figure 152. Newspaper weft detail. Figure 153. Belt weft detail. Figure 154. Christmas light weft detail. Figure 155.
109 Tie weft detail. Figure 156. Colored T-shirt detail. Figure 157. Tie weft detail. Figure 158. Floor to wall section of woven shelter. Figure 159.
110 Wall to roof connection with shelter support piece. Figure 160. Detail of plastic bag and newspaper at shelter support piece. Figure 161. Starbucks apron and hat weft. Figure 162. Detail at shelter stake tie downs in ground. Figure 163.
111 Two woven shelter cocoons at tree site. Figure 164.
112 Two woven shelter cocoons at tree site. Figure 165. First smaller woven cocoon on performance day. Figure 166.
113 Second larger woven cocoon. Figure 167.
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119 Appendix A: Communication of Ideas Selection of Online Blog Posts Personal blog page--continued both columns. Figure A-1
120 Personal blog page--continued both columns. Figure A-2 Appendix A: (Continued)
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