Open Source Embroidery: Craft and Code at HTTP Gallery
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."