Bridging Textiles to the Digital Future

This project was initiated by the Icelandic textile researcher and weaving expert Ragnheiður Björk Þórsdóttir. She first came to work with the Textile Center in 2015 to assess and maintain the traditional wooden weaving looms in the building, now used now by artists and scholars in residence.

In 2016, Ragnheiður spend five months researching the unique Icelandic weaving patterns from the late 19th and early 20th century held within the Kvennaskólinn building. This initial research and preservation project has sparked the discovery of dormant industry knowledge; thousands of weaving patterns and fabric samples that are rich in cultural value and of potentially of great use to the weaving industry, designers, and educational sector.

A project proposal was submitted to the Icelandic Research Fund in 2017, including a three-step plan: 1) Analysing and translating patterns and pattern recipes, 2) photographing and registering them in a database, and 3) making them available to scholars, artists and designers online. By applying new research of traditional patterns and how they are woven, new digital weaving pattern technology can be applied to make old patterns compatible with the TC2 digital loom located in Kvennaskólinn. 

The three year project was approved for funding by the Rannís Technology Development Fund and started in September 2017. It is led by Ragnheiður Björk Þórsdóttir.

Most recently, Ragnheiður and project assistant Guðbjörg Stefánsdóttir have been experimenting with different weaving patterns, materials and colours doing sample weavings on the Tc2. Old patterns like Guðrún Jónasdóttir's 1932 block pattern of a coverlet are being transformed and reinterpreted for future use. 



 Sample weavings inspired by old patterns on the TC2 digital loom. Photo credit: Textile Center.