Friday, November 14, 2014

Weaver length and the closure problem

Work in Progress III by Dasa Severova.

Traditional baskets are generally left open, but structural baskets generally need to form a closed shape. Closure involves splicing, but it is a different kind of splicing than used to extend a weaving element while the fabric is being worked: a closing splice work into fabric that is already largely complete. That involves feeding a weaving element through multiple crossings, a difficult task that is made even harder if the basket surface is corrugated.

A chain is no stronger than its weakest link, and a basket is no stronger than its closing splice. Seeking high basket strength by weaving long elements gets us nowhere if the closure cannot be made with weavers of the same length.

Insisting on putting a splice everywhere a splice can be placed (in order to avoid the teleological problem) leads to very short weavers, but long weavers that would be too long to complete a closing splice offer only illusory strength.

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