First, Marianne Fairbanks went big. Then, she went little. Very little.
In 2016, then an assistant professor of design studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she launched a “social weaving project” called the Weaving Lab, by the Image Lab created by cartoonist Lynda Barry at the campus’ Wisconsin Institute for Discovery.
For two summers, Fairbanks and a small team of UW students took over the Image Lab space, installing four large floor looms so that anyone could pause at a loom, think about the big questions she’d posted beside each, and weave their own contribution to the collaborative tapestries.
Fairbanks loved the project, but she kept hearing one thing from visitors: They’d love to weave on their own, but they just didn’t have the time.
She wanted to find a way to make weaving fit in their lives. The answer, she decided, was to make looms that fit in their pockets.
Note: Marianne Fairbanks and her company Hello! Loom is a Discovery to Product (D2P) innovator.