Sunday, April 18, 2010

Handcrafted website

This weekend I've finally got round to updating the Open Source Embroidery website. This onerous task has become yet another DIY chore left for the bank holiday weekend along with fixing the gutter and painting the spare room. I've put it off for over a year and now there's lots to do: adding new projects, updating texts, fixing links, resizing new photos, tidying up code, standardizing the navigation, looking up html code for Swedish letters. These are all tasks for the DIY Html coder.

My main achievement is the new page for the Embroidered Digital Commons, which has started with a collective embroidery of the term 'Yarn' from the Raqs Media Collective 'A Concise Lexicon of/for the Digital Commons', 2003

In 2005 artist Sneha Solanki showed me how to use html to build and maintain my website. It was a thoroughly enjoyable few days, and she taught me the simplicity of html. It was through our conversations that the concept of the Open Source Embroidery project emerged. I was so impressed by how much I could learn in 2 days, by the fact that html was in English with a quirky mix of abbreviations, and that I had a website up and running. I wanted to expand the beauty of this code into a physical and material form, breaking out of the computer and into fabric. A couple of years later I was artist in residence at Access Space in Sheffield and created the 'Open Source Embroidery' website.

Five years later it is quicker to blog, facebook, twitter etc, and given half an hour I'm more likely to write a blog post than update my hand-built website. However, whilst this blog lazily uses a standard template and is hosted on a server somewhere in the world (actually I have no idea where), my website is a located and hand crafted piece of web design. I don't much care that it's tricky to navigate, or that some of the pages have been 'coming soon...' for five years! It could be more sophisticated if I was a more dedicated coding student, but my intention is to use the simplest tools creatively. The point is that it's my own work, I know every piece of code on it and how to update it and fix it for free. And I know exactly where the server is.

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