Praxis and Practice: A Place on the Map

Praxis Fiber Workshop executive director Jessica Pinsky speaks to guests at the first Praxis and Practice, international digital weaving conference. Photo courtesy of Dru Thompson.

Praxis Fiber Workshop hosted the inaugural ‘Praxis and Practice’ Fiber Arts Conference from June 23 to June 25, bringing together a diverse community of fiber artists and designers. At the heart of the conference was the celebrated TC2 loom, a remarkable Digital Jacquard machine crafted by Digital Weaving Norway. This computer-controlled and manually-operated loom has revolutionized the creative process for fiber artists, enabling rapid prototyping, product development, and one-of-a-kind commissions. While there are more than 50 TC2s in the United States alone, Praxis Fiber Workshop in Cleveland hosts the only open-application residency in North America for artists to use this groundbreaking loom.

Sarah Paul, Pa’s Records 24, 27 x 41.5 inches, TC2 weaving with cotton and metallic thread, 2022.
Photo courtesy of Dru Thompson.

The conference aimed to foster knowledge exchange and exploration among TC2 users, offering panel discussions and presentations by noteworthy panelists and speakers.

Renowned figures such as Vibeke Vestby, the inventor of TC1 and TC2, and Janice Lessman-Moss, the retired Chair of Textiles at Kent State University, shared their research and insights into the intersection of fiber arts and the TC2.  The conference spanned multiple venues in the Northeast Ohio fiber landscape, including not only Praxis Fiber Workshop, but also the Cleveland Institute of Art, and Kent State University College of Art, which created a collaborative environment for attendees to delve into this transformative digital weaving technology.

Praxis Fiber Workshop has been a pioneer in embracing the TC2, housing the DWL AIR studio within its campus since 2020. This dedicated space adjacent to Praxis’s main studio and gallery has welcomed fiber artists and designers from around the world for two-week residencies, allowing them to explore and develop their digital weaving practice. The success and impact of the TC2 within the Praxis fiber community served as a driving force behind the conception of the Digital Weaving conference, fulfilling the vision of Cathryn Amidei, the Director of Praxis Digital Weaving Lab and North American representative for Digital Weaving Norway. With a focus on research, experiences, and a collective vision for contemporary art and design, the conference aimed to create an equitable platform for practitioners globally.

Molly Fitzpatrick, Red Efts, 40 x 40 inches each (2 weavings), Wool and cotton, 2022.
Photo courtesy of Dru Thompson.

During the conference’s opening night, the Praxis Fiber Workshop came alive as artists and designers congregated to celebrate the event. The walls were adorned with works from featured artists, and the night symbolized the convergence of individuals with a shared passion for pushing the boundaries of weaving and creating vibrant communities. The International Praxis & Practice Conference drew 107 artists from across the United States, Sweden, Norway, and beyond, highlighting the significance of this non-profit organization founded in 2015 and its pivotal role in connecting fiber artists and designers.

Cass Davis, Witness, 34 x 58 inches, Hand-woven Jacquard textile, with wildflowers, recycled vintage military wool, parachute cord, 2022. Photo courtesy of Dru Thompson.

The inaugural Praxis & Practice Digital Weaving Conference showcased the transformative potential of digital weaving in the realm of fiber arts. As the conference came to a close, the seeds of innovation, collaboration, and community had been sown, marking a new chapter in contemporary art and design in Cleveland and beyond. Congratulations Praxis Fiber Workshop for an amazing inaugural conference!

About the writer: Dru Thompson, a multi-talented individual, excels in the fields of design, writing, and education. Currently, she owns and operates Dru Christine Fabrics and Design, a vibrant fashion design studio and boutique located at 1615 East 25th Street in Cleveland. In addition to her creative endeavors, Thompson also imparts her knowledge and skills as a teacher, offering sewing and fashion design classes at her studio. To discover more about Dru’s captivating world, visit or connect with her on Facebook (Dru Christine Fabrics and Design), Instagram, @druchristine, Tik Tok @_druchristine, and Twitter: @druchristine, or YouTube at Hustle and Sew.

The opinions expressed on CAN Blog are those of the individual writers. Art is somewhat subjective. Well, somewhat. But yes, everybody's a critic.

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