Phase 2 – Textile Residency
The second phase of the project is concerned with scaling up both the physical size of the e-textile things, and the network they are part of.
We invited three textile artists to work with us for four days 14-18 June 2015 in the textile studio in the Bonington building at Nottingham Trent University. Sara Robertson, Lorna Smith and Joanne Hodge joined the textile and interaction design practitioners on the research team to explore advanced textile qualities and scenarios of use in An Internet of Soft Things. Sara brought with her a swatch book from one of the previous Paillard e-textile summer camps, which was fantastic to see, and she and Tincuta both attended the camp in July following this residency.
The residency started with presentations and a visit by the NICER group – students and alumni of the Oakfield School and College in Nottingham – and included mental health awareness training from Mind. We also shared the space with the textile design staff from NTU, who were doing some professional development, so there was crossover between the groups, including a presentation by the project RF, Tincuta Heinzel, to the staff team.
The final outcome was a collaborative piece by the three artists, using Joanne’s print, Lorna’s thermo-plastic knit, and Sara’s emissive light fibres.
Sara works with light emissive technologies and combines them with colour change inks and printing methods. She brought this sample of her work with her to demonstrate one of her methods for controlling the speed of colour change in response to heat generated by resistance in conductive yarns – using copper foil patches.
See Sara’s blog, The Pop-Up Workshop here.
Lorna graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2013 with a BA (Hons) in Textile Design, specialising in knit. Her final project was inspired by her dissertation on ‘Outsider Artists’, and her finding that many great artists were deemed to be ‘outsiders’ because of mental illness. For research purposes she visited The Royal Bethlem (Bedlam) hospital multiple times, talking to patients, spending time in the on site gallery as well as looking through their amazing archives. As a result, Lorna will lead a Textiles/ Art collaboration project with patients.
The research at Bethlem hospital led Lorna to develop fabrics not only focused on visual imagery but on tactility, which she achieves through knitting with a yarn that melts when heat-pressed. This creates a fabric that morphs from one tightly knitted piece into its complete opposite, showcasing a journey of sensations both visually and through touch. Lorna’s work was bought by the Central St Martins Archive and Museums, where it is permanently available to view.
Joanne Hodg is an AHRC funded PhD candidate at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, University of Dundee. Her research looks at personal communication objects, focusing on how these can be used to reinforce the parent/child attachment when they are not together. Parent and child have the ability to emotionally connect to one another through these networked objects that are integrated with smart textiles and wearable technologies. The image is from Joanne’s Trace project, also supported by an alt-w award from New Media Scotland. Previously, Joanne has explored thermochromic inks and dyes for interactive garment and textile object design.
We were also very pleased to welcome recent Product Design graduate Beata Rozycka, who developed ‘Arch’ as part of her final BA (Hons) year at NTU. Arch is a safe haven unit for children in primary schools who suffer from anxiety, and is designed to create a break from the busy, loud environment of the class room. Beata worked with children and staff at a local school to co-design the concept, which included beautiful, simple ways for the occupant to control their environment. These included a dip-dyed net curtain that could be drawn across the open wall, allowing the child to feel secure while having a view of surrounding activity. Beata was able to learn more about e-textiles to further inform her project.
Work being developed by team members included a large pillow with an array of switches for sound output, a check-in and check-out system for a domestic scenario, and a range of textured capacitive sensors to explore different interactions with users.
Finally, at the residency we began to develop the role of service design with PhD student Fergal Coulter. This is still in development and will be covered in another post shortly.