Tuesday, 23 April 2019

How do you show a 100m long piece without a 100m long plinth?

You might remember my piece '1 hours production = 1 ½ miles = 15 lengths' that a created for Lesley Millar’s show 'Cloth and Memory 2' at Salts Mill, Saltaire, West Yorkshire.  The piece contains my biometric data recorded whilst running in the Spinning room at the mill as a metaphor for woollen cloth production in the 19th century.  I made the piece specifically for the space but have been thinking how I could also show you in other venues.  Its 100 m in length and whilst I had the luxury of a plinth that long at Salts Mill I know that is unlikely to be repeated.
So I have been thinking how I could show this piece again in another venue…..one without an enormous plinth!  

This year I will be showing the piece at Festival Of Quilts, NEC, Birmingham 1st - 4th August.  We will hang the piece from the ceiling letting it drop from the 15m ceiling and letting it rise again before wrapping it around the stand itself.

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Doing the hand sewn hack sessions

The workshop at the Science Gallery London was extremely well attended, indeed oversubscribed with lovely enthusiastic people; a real mix of sewers and those with a keen interest in robotics or e-textiles.  It was quite a challenge for them as we wanted them to stitch sensors using a couching stitch.  It’s a tricky technique where you stitch down a thicker thread with a second thinner thread.  Some really struggled.  One man spent the whole morning really persevering and managed to stitch two sensors.  At the end of the session he pulled me to one side.  He said “Well that was really tough…..”  and I thought ‘Oh dear’ but then he continued “I have such a sense of achievement……I am off for cocktails to celebrate!”
We wont really know how successful the sessions have been until Sam Pitou has spent months testing them off, however what we do know is that initial results show that they are comparable to machine stitched ones.  Positive news.

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Hand Sewn Electrode Hack

Mediators training to embroider sesnors at the Science Gallery London

You might remember that I have been working with the guys at the Centre for Robotics Research, Kings College London.  We have been working collaboratively developing embroidered sesnors that can pick up electrical muscle impulses off the skin

You can read about the start of the project here https://karinathompsontextiles.blogspot.com/2015/01/

Sam Pitou at KCL is particularly interested in developing embroidered sensors for low cost robotic prostheses in developing countries and we have been creating hand stitched sensors to investigate their suitability.

We are asking people to drop into the exhibition Spare Parts at the Science Gallery London  Great Maze Pond, London, SE1 9GU before 31st March 2019 and join us in creating sensors for a live research project.  

On Saturday 23rd March we are also running a Hand-Sewn Electrode Hack
In this workshop and research project, participants are shown how to use stainless steel conductive thread and embroidery techniques to craft electrodes which can detect muscular activity (electromyography) and enable prosthesis wearers to control the moving parts of their artificial limb.
The Hand-Sewing Textile EMG research project investigates cheap and effective alternatives to industrially produced electrodes which can be prohibitively expensive.
On the day take on the challenge to sew 10 electrodes in 3 hours, and feed directly into live research. Bring busy fingers, a patient frame of mind, and good chat!

Monday, 22 October 2018

Processions: Making the letters and tassels

So the plan had always been that we would have letters spelling out the phrase ‘Smile, it confuses your enemy’ individually decorated by the women.  These letters would then be placed on a digitally printed cloth featuring the smiles of 100 women that the women saw as role models or aspirational figures.

I had printed out the letters on paper to use as templates.  We cut them out and then the women choose letters.  Artichoke, organisers of the Processions march had asked for the suffragette colours of Violet, Green and White to be used.  I had bought a load of fabric in those colours and let the women choose what colour their letter might be.  They could decorate the letter however they wished…..and some really went to town with appliqué fabrics, jewels and chains.
Women hard at in in Holy Trinity, Shirebrook

So on some of the workshop session women were working on their letters whilst others were making wrapped cords that would be eventually be made into tassels that would form a fringe along the bottom of the banner or large tassels for the side poles.  The photo below shows the Rev Karen in action on a Pfaff Passport 2.0 sewing machine zigzagging strips of fabric to make wrapped cords.