The Barter Loom is a tool for visualizing trade between different actors or organizations using a “Time Bank” system.


The Time Bank consists of an exchange method whereby different organizations, actors or entities give and receive “productive hours” which are symbolically delivered checks. In a Time Bank what prevails is not the money itself, as in a typical bank, but rather currency is converted into time. Given the different interests and approaches of each organization, exchanging time with other agents is a relevant way of complementing the performance of these organizations.

Such exchanges of productive hours are then plotted using the Barter Loom where each actor involved weaves their network of exchanges using colored wool. In the end what you get is a web of different hues representing the hours given and received by all participants.

In addition, books are kept that keep track of all exchanged hours and monitor exchanges.

Qualitative ToolsSarah Derroisne