The Open Source Embroidery (OSE) exhibition presents socially - engaged new - media art which uses the tools of craft and software to create hybrid experiments mapping the relationships between the traditions of collective craft, and women’s technical skills, and the more recent culture of open source software and creative commons. The research for the OSE exhibition began in 2005, by bringing together the crafts of computer programming and needlework to explore their shared characteristics and ethics of production and distribution through works hops and small exhibitions. The project addresses gender balances between craft and computing, and engages the fine arts and crafts in rethinking digital media. The resulting artworks make visible, and physically tangible, the invisible processes of code, programming and new media ethics. The OSE exhibition investigates digital technology as an expressive, material and activist artform connected to older systems of sharing and collective working. The DIY culture of reverse-engineering inspires hackers and makers to deconstruct and reconstruct their machines and materials, recycling and re-using, modifying and adapting for contemporary life. OSE also uses open methods of facilitation and supports the creative commons. The project exists online and in social spaces and events.
The Html Patchwork and Patchwiki was facilitated by Ele Carpenter. The project brought together software programmers, html users, and crafts people to share their skills and knowledge and stitch fabric patches and wiki pages. Each patch is embroidered with its hexadecimal colour code, and personalised by the sewer, often with their url. Patches were made in workshops at Access Space Sheffield, BNMI Canada, Isis Arts Newcastle and the Fat Quarters Shop in Blackhall Mill 2007-8.