Cellular Automata: A design language for industrial silk
& collect
Handmade Mudmee silk is part of the cultural heritage of Thailand and Laos with a tradition reaching back 2500 years. Its characteristic look results from its method of making: Patterns are being tied on silk yarns with hay, straw or banana ropes so that the untied parts will absorb the natural dye. The process of hand-weaving according to patterns inherited since generations gives these fabrics its intrinsic value.

However, there are only a few villages in northeastern Thailand left where this traditional handicraft is still practiced. Most silk is now manufactured by weaving machines which take digitally defined patterns as input.

The result is a digital industrial product whose patterns camouflage itself as handmade. As it can be produced fast and in large numbers, it contributes to erode the traditional craft of the remaining traditional silk weavers.

This design proposes a more adequate connection between this contemporary method of making and its appearance. Instead of imitating traditional patterns, it takes cellular automata to define patterns, reflecting on the already digital method of making and thereby establishing a unique appearance for industrial silk. Snapshots of the cellular automata process are used as input for weaving machines to produce unlimited variations.

Find the pattern generator at https://mariogagliardi.com/mudmee.html
Zoom in and out with your mousewheel or trackpad, reload the page to get different patterns.
(C) Mario Gagliardi 2017
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Cellular Automata pattern
Traditional Mudmee silk pattern
Cellular Automata pattern
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