Artist Libby O’Bryan Crowdsources A Blankets Worth


Image: Libby O’Bryan

What is a product’s worth to you? Is it based on cost or sentimental value?

Asheville, North Carolina based artist Libby O’Bryan took on the big question with her What is it Worth? instillation examining the process and product of textile manufacturing.

According to O’Bryan’s site, the installation followed process from concept design to sales making thirty blankets, entitled “Blanket (Product)” How the 30 blankets were “manufactured and each stage of production – weaving, cutting, sewing, finishing, and fulfillment – has been choreographed and filmed, entitled Blanket (Process) in an effort to view industrial production through a poetic perspective. Actions regularly preformed at Sew Co., the artist’s own sewing manufacturing company, and The Oriole Mill, an artisanal weaving mill that houses Sew Co., inform the work from real-life experiences.”

libby o'bryan

Image of Libby O’Bryan by Tim Robison

From Libby O’Bryan: “Industrial production of textiles has become ubiquitous to our lifestyles of consumption. The hand of the maker (who still exists even in a factory setting), the celebrated anomalies of making (which still occur on a machine), and the value of the object has diminished. In turn, we have a depleting environment, a deepening socioeconomic divide, and de-skilled domestic labor force. This small batch of thirty blankets hanging in the gallery adjacent to the video represent a microcosm of an industrially produced textile. The repetitive nature of their construction processes are endless, but their individual life stories are unique. As performers, they have been compelled to more ambitious and inefficient tasks than the average blanket, exposing them to deeper imbedded meaning. What is it Worth? connects, disconnects, reconnects, separates, builds up, breaks-down,floats, fumbles, balances, and flutters. It is up to the viewer, as a member of our culture, to define the meaning of this project and assess its relative worth. The blankets are for sale for a price determined by the viewers.”

To see what people were actually willing to pay for the blanket knowing how much materials and labor cost, go here.

To watch O’Bryan’s process, watch the video below.

Thanks to textile artist and designer Liz Collins for the heads up on this great project. Know of a project we should know about? Email amy(at)