Open Source Embroidery: Craft and Code at HTTP Gallery


[from Further Field]

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Open Source Embroidery: Craft and Code at HTTP Gallery An exhibition facilitated by Ele Carpenter

Preview Friday 16th May 6-9pm 17th May ? 15th June 2008 Open Fridays to Sunday 12-5pm

This exhibition explores the connections between the collaborative characteristics of needlework, craft and Open Source software. This project has brought together embroiderers, patch-workers, knitters, artists and computer programmers, to share their practice and make new work.

The centre-piece of the exhibition at HTTP Gallery is the HTML Patchwork developed in response to the popularity of quilting in Sheffield, the result of a participatory project initiated by Ele Carpenter in partnership with Access Space. The patchwork is built on open principles of collective production and skill-share where each person contributes a part to the whole. The final work is a collectively stitched patchwork quilt of HTML web-safe colours with embroidered codes, and a wiki website, where the makers of each patch identify themselves and write about their sewing process. Each patch is personalised by the sewer, often including embroidered web addresses.

In an interview with Jess Lacetti, Ele Carpenter said about the project: “The same arguments about Open Source vs Free Software can be applied to embroidery. The needlework crafts also have to negotiate the principles of ‘freedom’ to create, modify and distribute, within the cultural and economic constraints of capitalism. The Open Source Embroidery project simply attempts to provide a social and practical way of discussing the issues and trying out the practice. Free Software, Open Source, amateur and professional embroiderers and programmers are welcome to contribute to the project.”

The project was developed by Ele Carpenter when working as an artist in residence at Access Space in Sheffield and Isis Arts in Newcastle upon Tyne. Access Space is an open access media lab using recycled computers and open source software. Anyone can drop in and use the lab to develop their creative projects.

The exhibition at HTTP Gallery in Harringay, North London, includes works by 11 artists and makers alongside the collectively made HTML Patchwork quilt and wiki. Other works in the exhibition include Susanne Hardy?s Knit-a-Blog, a collective knitting project made by contributors from across the UK and USA, Iain Clarke?s PHP Embroidery, which explores the open source PHP programming language as a form of self-generating weaving, as well as artworks by Paul Grimmer, Tricia Grindrod, Jake Harries & Keith o?Faol?in, John Keenan, Trevor Pitt, Clare Ruddock, James Wallbank, and Lisa Wallbank.

The HTML Patchwork has been created by people at: Access Space, Art through Textiles, The Patchwork Garden, The Fat Quarters, Stocksbridge Knit n Chat, Totley Quilters, Isis Arts, and the Banff New Media Institute at the Banff Centre for the Arts, Alberta, Canada.

Further info:


Lauren Wright, HTTP Gallery laurenATfurtherfieldDOTorg

HTTP Gallery Unit A2, Arena Design Centre 71 Ashfield Road London N4 1LD +44(0)79 8129 2734

HTTP Gallery is dedicated space for exhibiting networked media art. is a not-for-profit, artist-led organisation. Based in North London, we provide an online and physical platform for creating, exhibiting, commissioning, and discussing networked media arts.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. rob says:

    Thanks for posting this. Definitely worth a visit. I had never considered the similarities between Embroidery and open source! One is in virtual space the other in the physical world.
    Rgds Rob.

  2. marc garrett says:

    Hi Rob,

    Thank you for your kind response 🙂

    This show kind of deals with these similarities in a way that makes one oh of course! Come along and see if yu are around during the period of the show…

    thanks again.


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