Weaving lies at the heart of the Information Age. Many cite the Jacquard Loom as inspiration for the first computers. Yet this is where most histories stop, a move that positions craft's influence on technology as a curiosity. This exhibition challenges this narrative, highlighting women who worked with technology and textiles before the rise of personal computing. Works by Janice Lourie, Sonia Sheridan, Sonya Rapoport, Lia Cook, and Katherine Westphal, highlight the shared concerns and approaches that unite textiles and technology. The Computer Pays Its Debt tells the missing stories of women’s creative contributions to early computing while scrutinizing how corporations leveraged metaphors of craftwork and domesticity for commercial gain.
Two Ways to View
Online visitors can purchase tickets ($5) to attend a virtual tour of this exhibition with curator, Kayleigh Perkov.
The Center is offering free, unguided visits and affordable tours of its exhibitions to the public. Guests can reserve a 30-minute visit to explore the current exhibitions, learn more about the Center’s national impact in their Craft Research Fund Study Collection, and enjoy interactive activities. The Center is open to the public Tuesday-Friday, 12-6 pm. Hours of operation may be subject to change.
Center for Craft is monitoring the effects of COVID-19 on the community and following the instruction of federal, state, and local health departments. Our top priority is always the health and safety of our staff, coworkers, and visitors. At this time, the Center can only allow a maximum of five guests in its public space at once and will require the use of masks or face coverings by all visitors, including children. The Center reserves the right to refuse entry to any visitor that will not comply.
Cover images: Sarah Haskell weaving on a computer aided loom that is running the Weave Master software, Family Computing Magazine, Nov. 1983. Photo by Flint Born. ©
This exhibition was developed as part of the 2023 Center for Craft Curatorial Fellowship. This program was created in 2017 to provide emerging curators with a platform to explore and test new ideas about craft. Each curator receives an honorarium, access to professional development tools, mentoring, and the opportunity to work closely with the other Curatorial Fellows and Center for Craft staff to produce their exhibition, develop educational materials, design an exhibition catalog, and deliver a curatorial talk.