All posts in Smart Fabrics

Treacherous Torso Exposition at Northlight Art Studio

My first exposition relating to my PhD study was held on 26th July 2014 at my personal art studio.

An interesting group of women attended, resulting in some very fascinating and emotive responses from the participants. The level of engagement and dialogue varied from participant to participant, and there were some very interesting conversations.  Specifically, there were several comments about  how the sound created a physical sense of movement relating to different body parts. This proved very interesting in relation to the creative and theoretical aspect of my research.

Here is a short caption film of one of the participants interacting with Treacherous Torso: Sites of Struggle

New Artists Studio Space

Super Super Super!! After months and months of being on the waiting list I have at last  got my artists studio space  which I am really excited about (well I will be moving into a temporary space this week whilst the roof is being fixed). So… I will have lots of space to spread my work out, and hopefully I will be more productive with the practical aspects of my research because until now I have been doing everything at home, and have stuff everywhere which has not been easy when trying to be organised and creative at the same time.

Lovely Wool For Resistant Felt

My lovely wool for felting has arrived today, a much bigger bag than I had envisaged.  I bought it from Wingham Wool Work,  it is super soft which I am sure will be ideal for mixing with my conductive fibres.  Once my bamboo mats arrive, I will be attempting wet felting for the first time, with the aim of making a conductive tactile fabric. I expect I will need to experiment with the ratio of wool to steel, to establish a useable level of conductivity.

ISWC 2012

I attended the ISWC 2012 Doctoral Consortium yesterday where I met a diverse group of PhD researchers investigating a wide range of subjects within the wearable technology sector.  The research ranged from weaving fabrics with conductive yarns with embedded electronic components, to measuring errors in sensors embedded on garments.  My presentation “The Embodied Feminine and the Sensory Self”  discussed integrating body issue theories such as Social Comparison Theory, Self Schema Theory and Body Image Schemata into interactive installations went well. It can be seen here  I was the only PhD participant undertaking a full creative practice PhD and many of the other studies were predominately technical or scientific. I had anticipated at least several other similar creative practice PhD studies which led me to question why there were so few design led and examples of wearables in clothing. My interpretation of wearable, which is undeniably informed by my fashion design background is that technology is embedded within clothing  and that technology is worn on the body. I found myself asking the same question several times throughout the conference as many papers and presentations focused on the smart phone as a wearable. Whilst I appreciate the value of the extensive data which can be extracted and used in some way from smart phones, to me the phone is an accessory or gadget… as to date it is not worn on the body unless you use the bluetooth earpiece, which is rarely the case with users.

I had the opportunity to display a poster at the main event so that was good exposure for my work here it is:

 

The demo and design exhibition was interesting and I will be submitting my design work to the next ISWC 2013.

Here are some pictures of other designers at the design exhibition: Flutter by Halley P. Profita, Nicholas Farrow, Nikolaus Correll. Solar Family by Silvia Guttmann, Sara Lopez, Dziyana Zhyhar.  Context aware signal glove for bicycle and motorcycle riders by Tony Carton. Twinkle Tartiflette and Don’t Break My Heart by Rain Ashford.

So in conclusion, my experience of attending and participating in the conference highlighted that I would like to see more design presentations/papers which focus on integrating technology into wearables as clothing in a social and cultural context. In the panel presentation Lucy Dunne also highlighted clothing as a main area of development of wearable technology, and referred to body image schemata and social issues relating to fashion and clothing which my study directly relates to, so I am  pleased that the next ISWC 2013 now includes in the category Applications of Wearables, music with wearable technology in a social and artistic context.

ISWC 2012 Doctoral Consortium

I have been accepted onto the ISWC 2012 Doctoral Consortium this June so that is great news. I will no doubt gain some invaluable experience from industry professionals, artists and designers within the field of Fashion/Wearable technology. Super !! ISWC 2012

Conductive steel fibre… very interesting.

It is very difficult to find suppliers of conductive fabrics and threads in the UK, and I usually have to order from the states which is costly due to the postage rates. I have ordered some conductive stainless steel fibre from SparkFun which I am going to experiment with, and have found a great example of the potential application by Thomas Gerhardt who has created a Felt Resister by mixing the steel fibre with other fibres to create a felt.  Mixing the steel fibre with other fibres will obviously affect the conductivity so much experimentation will be required once it arrives…I am very excited about the possibilities of this fibre:0

Commencing new project as part of my PhD research called “The Speaking Frock”

I am currently working on testing some conductive fabrics to establish the best conductivity for my new project which is called “The Speaking Frock”  I will leave you to guess on that for the moment hopefully enticing you back for a further update.  There is some inspiration found here by the microsoft researchers exhibited at last years ISWC 2011 You are what you tweet – The Printing Dress