Computer Applications for the Fiber Arts: Pathways to Innovative Design


Spring 2015 quarter

Taught by

visual arts, creative writing, poetry
mathematics, computer science

This interdisciplinary program links computational thinking with fiber arts. It is an opportunity for upper division students with expertise in either one of these fields to learn how to integrate that understanding with the other field. Students in this program will master a variety of techniques used by Fiber Artists to design both fine art and fine craftwork in the field. Everyone will design a warp, warp a loom, and draft and design treadling and weave patterns using a four-quadrant system to create color drafts on the computer. All students will weave a sampler, and learn a variety of off loom processes including felting, and a variety needle arts techniques in which they can use programmable Arduino LilyPad threads that will allow them to design art pieces which have elements that light up, make sound, or do other functions. Students will learn color theory, as it relates to design, and the history of Fiber Arts, in order to understand the evolution of the field over the past seventy-five years.  Everyone will be required to design one major individual project and one major group project that they will exhibit at the end of the quarter. To create their projects students will be required to either use computer-aided design for drafting, apply computer science to a design problem, or use programmable threads as part of their projects. In the process, students will learn about the history of computer-aided design (CAD) in industrial and fine art production of fiber arts and robotics and automation. Students will investigate standard CAD tools, as well as theories needed to design programs to create original fiber arts designs. This history will start with the Jacquard loom first introduced in 1801 to allow weavers to automatically program brocade patterns by using a series of cards and end with modern computer driven looms that allow weavers to create complex multi-harness designs. Students will study computational thinking, which is the basis for all programming.

Based on their prior experience with programming students will either learn the fundamentals of programming and algorithmic thinking, or for students who would like to do advanced work in computer science, there will be a weekly workshop on Machine Learning and Statistics. The work will include problem sets and programming.

The program will include guest lectures by noted artists in the field and at least one field trip, All students will do a research paper and presentation on a fiber artist whose work combines computer applications for the development of fiber designs, and a short PowerPoint Presentation on their work to the class.;

Program Details

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

fiber arts, design and computer science.

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Day


Buy books for this program through Greener Bookstore.

Online Learning

Hybrid Online Learning 25 - 49% Delivered Online:

Required Fees

$90 for weaving supplies, felting supplies, conductive threads and other components.

Special Expenses

Students should expect to spend around $300 for weaving materials and Arduino LilyPad threads for their samplers and projects.


Date Revision
March 2nd, 2015 $90 fee added.
May 7th, 2014 New opportunity added.

Registration Information

Credits: 16 (Spring)

Class standing: Sophomore–Senior

Maximum enrollment: 40


Course Reference Numbers

So - Sr (16 credits): 30266
So - Sr (1-16 credits): 30569

Go to to register for this program.

Need Help Finding the Right Program?

Contact Academic Advising for help in answering your questions, planning your future and solving problems.