Fyber Collective Projects
Documentation (in progress August 2023)
In putting together our first project, we were interested in exploring the overlaps and intersections that can be discovered by connecting emerging high tech tools with fiber art practices that are often framed as feminized domestic crafts. Machinery has long played an instrumental role in textile making, from Jacquard looms to knitting and sewing machines. These practices set the stage for much of modern computing and programming; in the early 19th century, female workers used punch cards to weave complex textile patterns with the jacquard loom, which inspired people like Charles Babbage and led to more modern computing hardware and programming.
We learned a lot working on these projects. Here is where we'll be documenting what we did, what materials we used, and what we would do differently next time / what we learned. Hopefully this helps future people either continue to hack on these specific projects or start their own.
Between April and August 2023, we worked on multiple projects that combined AI, code, woodworking, LEDs and electronics, quilting, embroidery, and machine knitting. Active participants include: TJ, Matt, Ken, Dana, Ellie, Julian, Michelle, Anthea, Emeline, Brennan, Emily, plus a lot of people who came out for a traveling quilting bee on August 13, 2023. We've been loosely calling this the "Fyber Collective".
For some of these projects, the hopeful intention is that we'll get them into a 'final' state and mount them for viewing at Noisebridge, but they will continue to be hackable. For example, people will be able to hack into the LEDs and update/change the patterns and display.
- Machine knitting: Emeline
- Machine embroidery: Anthea, Michelle, Emeline
- Quilting: Anthea, Michelle, Emeline
- LEDs: Julian, Matt, Ellie, Brennan, Dana, TJ
- Code: TJ, Julian, Matt
- Laser Cutter: Julian
- Woodwork: Ken
- Updates, logistics, and project history in the AI discord under #stable-diffusion-quilt. Example
- Writings from Emeline and Michelle: Substack
- Instagram updates: @fybercollective, @lowtechfibers, @e_mln_e
- We showed pieces or gave talks at: Dorkbot 2023, Open Sauce 2023, Medicine for Nightmares Semilla Fest 2023, AI Dreamlands at Pebblebed, Demos & Chill, and Noisebridge. We were also featured in Mission Local: Mission Local.
- Github Repo
[May/June 2023] Current project status: in progress. We're also now discussing incorporating electronic components (LEDs, arduinos, motion sensors) into the finished quilt. See stable-diffusion-quilt channel in the AI discord for more updates. Come join us!
Original project idea/post (April 2023)
I’m Michelle and I like making quilts. I have been using the Noisebridge sewing room for quilting. I'm on the Noisebridge Discord if you want to chat with me about this project.
I just ran a quilting 101 workshop in the sewing room. We ran it on meetup and 7 people showed up, and we made this baby quilt (which went to the resident Noisebridge baby!):
I have an idea for a special project that could teach people quilting while also contributing to the Noisebridge space and include collaboration from across other spaces/machines at Noisebridge. I wanted to run it by the community, especially since I’m not a member.
I’m open to any feedback, more ideas, interest in collaborating, or any push back for whatever reason. I outlined my brainstorm below, including the various steps I can imagine this project would take. Thoughts?
Special Project: Noisebridge stable diffusion display quilt
Brainstorm / March 2023
Tl;dr: A project that would be collaboratively created across different spaces and with different people at Noisebridge, and could result in a collaborative art quilt to display in the space. Could include collaboration from these spaces and machines:
- AI/ML group
- Woodshop and/or 3D printing
- Sewing Guild
- Laser Cutting group
- 2D printing
More info: I saw in the Discord that the ML/AI group has a local stable diffusion build. We could collaborate and come up with some prompts to generate an image of a quilt that could then be created IRL in the sewing room.
Example: I used the Stable Diffusion Demo to generate quilt images like this:
We could create the quilt in the sewing room, having open sessions for people who want to contribute, learn basic quilting techniques, etc. When the quilt is finished, we could use the woodshop and/or the 3D printer to create a quilt hanger. The finished quilt could then be displayed somewhere at Noisebridge, if the community wants it to be displayed.
Note: I know that there’s an ongoing conversation about art and authorship in the space. For this project in particular, I was thinking: As we work on the project, I like the idea of keeping a running list of people who help with it (as long as they consent, and whatever preferred name/pseudonym they want to offer), and then including this in the ‘display’ at the end - I thought it might be an interesting way for people to feel like they contributed to the space, to feel connected to it, etc. We can use the laser cutter to make a descriptive plaque with the names of participants and a description of the project, and include a space to display the original generated image (printed on the 2d printer).
- A way to collaboratively utilize materials/machines from different parts of noisebridge, and even get people who are more involved in separate areas to technically get to collaborate on a project (AI/ML group, woodshop, 3d printing, laser cutting, sewing room)
- A way to learn quilting or to learn more about different machines at Noisebridge
- If we run some of these working sessions on meetup, we can ask for donations to go towards buying the sewing room new domestic machines (or whatever else members decide the money should go towards). No other cost if I donate quilting materials.
- I’ve seen discussions in the discord about people missing the murals from the previous space - I think hanging quilts are an alternative wall art option.
- It potentially could help people feel connected to the space if they helped create something that is then put on display.
- Does this seem like a fun idea? Can I move forward with it? Any changes/additions/etc?
- I have no context around what people would like displayed in the space, any potential issues, context about past attempts to display/hang things, etc - anything that we should account for? * Any potential push back?
- Where could something like this hang?
- A question for later, if we come to it: how would you hang something like this on the wall?
- Talk to AI/ML group about generating some stable diffusion images of display quilts
- Brainstorm “prompts” for the generator. Ideas:
- Prompt for specific color palettes
- See what it spits out if we ask it to generate an image of a quilt with a theme of do-ocracy, or something Noisebridge related, etc.
- Q: Are there ways to submit an image and ask it to generate a quilt pattern? What types of imagery might be fun to play with?
- Generate image
- Acquire materials (michelle, unless someone else also wants to donate)
- Set up working sessions or special project sessions for people to come and learn about quilting / participate in creating the quilt
- Meetup vs. posting in discord sewing channel?
- Gather names of participants from AI/ML group, quilting participants, etc (if people want)
- Collaborate with woodshop or 3d printing / printing group to make a hanger for the quilt
- 2D color print the generated image for display
- Q: Are there any lamination options at Noisebridge, or other ways to preserve a printed paper for display?
- Decide how/where to hang
- Use the laser cutter to make a descriptive plaque with the names of participants and a description of the project, and include a space to display the original generated image.
- Hang / display in noisebridge, with the description/participants, original generated image, and hanging quilt.
Ways you could be involved: See stable-diffusion-quilt channel in AI discord for more updates.
I can certainly try to get trained on various machines (laser cutter, etc) and spearhead the process for each of these items myself, but if anyone wants to collaborate with me or run point on any part (like creating the plaque, or the hanging frame, or doing parts of the quilt), that would be more fun.
- Give feedback on this project proposal, including any potential problems, or ideas for how to utilize the materials and machines at Noisebridge
- Let me know if you’d like to participate in any parts of this / collaborate / take over anything / etc
- Other ideas?
- Participate in the quilting