Design Studio Turns Songs Into Scarves

Organ book, weaving cards, and textile produced during Woven Song, 2013

Woven Song is a stunning new project from European design team Glithero that utilizes traditional punchcard technology to create truly innovative projects.

Textiles produced during Woven Song, 2013

Though modern computing has come a long way from its punchcard days, perforated stacks of cardboard are still used to program some basic kinds of technology, like knitting machines, looms, and organs. Wondering if these systems could be taught to communicate with one another, the designers produced an incredible discipline-fusing project that creates gorgeous textiles from simple programming methods.

Panta Rei Self-Dipping Candle Machine, 2008

Glithero is the brainchild of designers Tim Simpson and Sarah van Gameren, who met studying at the Royal College of Art. The studio has made a name for itself by fusing technology, traditional crafts, and art practice--including self-dipping candle machines (above)self-executing Pyrography works produced by screenprint, and sun-printed botanical blueware, a fusion of the artists’ Dutch and English heritages.

Blueware Lampshade, 2010

Scarf produced by Woven Song, 2013

Commissioned by the Zuiderzee Museum in the Netherlands, Simpson and van Gameren consulted with traditional weaver Wil van den Broek and master organ maker Leon van Leeuwen to bring the project to life.

Punchcard book used in Woven Song, 2013

Sewing together massive strings of cards to translate the code from the language of music to the language of fiber, the designers managed to teach a loom to literally weave music. The resulting programming artifacts, as well as the textiles themselves, are on display at the museum as part of their Made to Measure exhibition. Additionally, the duo produced a dual-screen film showing the process of the weaving split between the aural and tactile sides of the experience.

Punchcards used in Woven Song, 2013

Textile Produced by Woven Song, 2013

Textile Produced by Woven Song, 2013

The resulting textiles, while produced by wholly traditional methods, have a strikingly digital look.

Textile Produced by Woven Song, 2013

Woven Song handles some tricky artistic territory that Glithero manages to navigate flawlessly; interdisciplinary practices, technologies deemed archaic, and the lines between craft and art. 

Woven Song artifacts on display at the Zuiderzee Museum.

Images courtesy of Glithero. To learn more about Woven Song, please visit their website here. Woven Song is part of the Made to Measure exhibition at the Zuiderzee Museum, on view until March 30, 2014.