The movement brings together knitters, embroiderers and quilters who see parallels between the way they create their crafts and how open source software creators share their ideas. At the BildMuseet (art museum) at Umeå University in Sweden, an exhibition — also called Open Source Embroidery — showcases artworks that use embroidery and code as a tool for participatory production and distribution.
“The idea of collaboration has been made cool by open source software,” says Carpenter, the curator of the exhibition. “But artists have been working like this for a long time.”
Even the differences between needlework crafts and open source software are alike, she says. Embroidery is largely dominated by women, while software is created mostly by men, she says. In embroidery, tiny stitches come together to create a pattern visible on the front of the fabric, while its system is revealed on the back. It’s similar to how software is created.
The arguments about open source vs. free software can also be applied to embroidery, says Carpenter, where artists struggle with questions around borrowing and modifying patterns. “The Open Source Embroidery project simply attempts to provide a social and practical way of discussing these issues and trying out the practice,” says Carpenter.
There’s also a nice shoutout to MAKE and CRAFT in the article, too!