Weavers Look Forward on 50th Anniversary

Lit arches at The Dairy in Boulder

Lit Installation Images credit: coil-lighting

I was contacted in early 2014 by Becky Vanderslice of the Handweavers Guild of Boulder County about a lit sculpture they wanted to build for their 50th anniversary exhibition at The Dairy Center in Boulder. She and her team wanted the sculpture, a nod to the convergence of technology and textiles, to be built into the metal arches in front of The Dairy. After much experimentation including building mockups and simple LED system with a Teensy 3.1, we settled on a design of metal strips woven into mesh and lit with almost 2300 individually addressable LEDs. The timely introduction of the Fade Candy board and a generous donation by Sparkfun greatly simplified the design. I designed an Isolated LED driver system and oversaw the technical aspects of the installation.

All technical components of this project have been released under Open Source licenses. Mike Bissell created the lighting control server called Udder that drives the Fade Candy servers with a complex, never repeating show. Eric Miller modeled the sculpture and designed a visualization system running in Chrome that allows testing effects before deployment. The lighting control server runs on a Beaglebone Black computer driving a Fade Candy server controlling 5 Fade Candy boards on a Raspberry Pi.

The sculpture was officially unveiled on Nov 19, 2014 and is scheduled to operate until the front of the building is renovated. The Handweavers Guild donated the sculpture to The Dairy Center and the city of Boulder with the hope various student groups will create effects and interactive sensors to control it in months and years to come.
System controller showing five PSUs and Octo Controllers with Pi and Beaglebone black

System Controller prior to adding BeagleBone Black

System laid out in a garage

Pre-installation system test

Me up in the rafters...

Controller installed in building

Becky on the lift

The team's fearless leader checking out the work

Waterproofing outside enclosure

Waterproof Driver and strips prior to mounting

Wiring coming through the roof

Cable management

A view installing on the arches from the roof

Weavers (and Eric) hard at work

Close-up of the lit arches

Detail showing LEDs and driver