This blog is produced by the Fibre Program at the Alberta College of Art & Design with contributions from weaving instructor Mackenzie Frère, gynecologist studio technician Tara Niscak, Fibre students and alumni. It’s primary function is to share what we do in the studio with our colleagues and other artists who weave around the world.

ACAD's original computer-assisted loom, an AVL 16-harness Compu-Dobby

ACAD’s Fibre Program was an early participant in digital design software and computer assisted weaving, purchasing a Compu-dobby loom with software in the 1980‘s. The leap in terms of equipment was modest as dobby-style looms had been around for some time. The impact of design software on curriculum was significant as students were now able to explore the interaction of structure and image in woven cloth with increased complexity and speed.

close-up image of compu-dobby loom with a few recent samples

More than twenty years later computer assisted design and weaving remain a dynamic component of the curriculum, continuing a legacy of complex weaving in ACAD’s Fibre Program. The recent acquisition of new, state of the art software for textile design and a computer-assisted Jacquard loom presents a natural evolution of this legacy and will enable the design and execution of complex woven textiles and the facile manipulation of repeating pattern for either woven or printed textiles.

First sample woven January 15, 2012...a portrait of Anni Albers (from a photograph by T. Lux Feininger)

As a generative tool this new software will allow students to explore of hundreds or even thousands of variables before committing to a final design. In ACAD’s Fibre Program, the adoption of new technologies is recognized as a natural extension of a legacy of craft methodologies that possess an inherent technological pragmatism where new tools and processes are incorporated and often transformed in use.


Images of the Jacquard loom in action with samples by students, faculty and alumni coming soon…
A sampling of work designed by ACAD Fibre Students in 2010 during a workshop taught by Louise Lemieux Berube. The files each student created were then woven in Montreal at the Montreal Centre for Contemporary Textiles. New images of student, there
faculty and alumni work produced using the the Jacquard loom at ACAD will be added soon.


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