Long Thread Podcast: Amy Norris

In our lifetime, computers have connected artists to each other and opened a world of design possibilities. But although she's a leader in digital connections and explorations, Amy Norris is committed to the support of the weaving community's foundations.

Anne Merrow Apr 1, 2022 - 3 min read

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Since Amy Norris learned to weave in the late 1980s, the digital age has swept through weaving in two ways: by linking the global community of weavers to each other, and by using computers to develop and manipulate weaving drafts. Weaving is ancient, but many weavers have been early adopters and digital enthusiasts. As founder and list administrator for WeaveTech, Amy has helped weavers everywhere share information (and play nice) with fellow curious weavers.

The internet has connected all kinds of groups, but the digital revolution offers breakthroughs in what weavers can do. As Amy points out, weaving is a binary system, with each shaft or thread in the up or down position—like the bits and bytes that computers process. Weaving software lets you see how any change in a draft will affect your weaving with just a click—a far cry from the hours with pencils, graph paper, and erasers needed for charting a design before the programs became available. Taking the technology boost a step further, computer-assisted looms use weaving software to digitally control which shafts rise and fall as the weaver treadles.

These explorations are the stuff of Amy Norris's dreams, so much that a particular, popular effect takes its name partly from her. (Amy and Marg Coe have been working on an approach to designing with parallel threading that has been dubbed the "Corris Effect.") Although computers have changed many aspects of the weaving world, Amy still believes in and dedicates her time to organizing and supporting programs at her local and regional guilds. Serving on a variety of boards and committees throughout the years, she has played a vital role in maintaining the traditional infrastructure of the weaving community.

You might never know, talking to Amy Norris, that she's one of the most quietly influential weavers working today.

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Subscribe to the WeaveTech mailing list or search its archives.
Complex Weavers Seminars 2022 will take place July 10–13, just before Convergence in Knoxville.
Marg Coe and Marian Steubenitsky will lead "A Parallel Universe — Echo & Corris," a seminar on parallel threading and the Corris Effect, at Complex Weavers Seminars.
A selection of drafts exploring the Corris Effect is available from Handweaving.net.

If you're curious about weaving software, explore Handwoven's WIF Library.