Thursday, September 27, 2007

ETN Conference - Saturday 15th

Full day of stunning lectures. Some of the days most important messages were to use technology for what it is best for - precission and accuracy, to control the techniques and not be controlled by them and that Hand-made is the new luxury!

Janne Kyttanen spoke on the history and future of Rapid Prototyping (or Rapid Manufacturing as he prefers to call it). Products can be manufactured in any shape or size to a tollerence of .1mm, fully articulated and with integrated zips, buttons and buckles within its own packaging. The only drawbacks at the moment are the limited range of materials (nylon, ceramic and metal) and the imagination of commercial buyers. Janne spoke of a future where a customer will be able to walk into a store with an RM machine, having browsed their catalogue on line, call up the product they require, select its colour and size and have it printed on the spot. RM could be used for everything from cutlery to cushions, car parts to custom fitted football boots. Above is a picture of a piece of RM fully articulate metal 'fabric' draped over my finger.

Rachel Wingfield of design duo spoke of bridging the gap between the natural and digital worlds with environmentally responsive textiles.

Sonumbra is a five meter wide 'umbrella' which, in its ultimate form, will have a sun shade canopy with built in photovoltaic cells to collect power during the day, whilst offering shade from the sun, and use that power to light the underside, formed by a network of electro-luminescent wires, after darkness falls.

Sonumbra has been shown at several venues as a movement responsive piece. A 360 degree camera picks up movement and responds by triggering the lighting of strands EL wire, as people move around the structure so the light patterns change.
Further info from

Monday, September 24, 2007

European Textile Network Conference - Friday 14th

Fascinating day of lectures and demos on Digital Craft at the LMU Digital Manufacturing Centre. Demos included Digital Printing and Embroidery and the possibilities of the Laser cutting equipment. The picture is of laser etching on leather (apparently very smelly). Gina Pierce used layering to trigger memories and association. Her research into old maps of Spitalfields is translated into multilayerd printed fabrics, the etching away of the top layer with the laser is like an archaeologist scraping away a layer of soil.

One point that came up in the lectures was that we tend to become selectors and editors when we use digital mediums but that we can use the technology to allow creative minds to innovate.

For me the highlight was the SLS machine in action. Selective Laser Sintering is a form of Rapid Prototyping where 3D items are 'printed' from Nylon, ceramic or metal powders. The layers of powder are .1mm thick and, in the machine we saw 'welded', by a computer guided laser rather like assembling an exceptionally precise 3d slice-form model. The picture shows a SLS 'egg' approx 6cm long.

More info on LMU Manufacturing Centre

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Wild Lace - Interesting Month

Started with staging an exhibition of contemporary lace.
Carol Quarini, Jane Atkinson, Denise Watts and myself are exhibiting as 'Twist' in the Old Library at Highcliffe Castle in Dorset.
For Rhythms & Cycles I've been focusing on the relationship between lace and death.
The Old Library is approx 6m x 12m with 6m high ceilings so we had plenty of room to work with, producing between 2 and 5 exhibits each.
It was a real pleasure to work with professional staff who ran up ladders, leveled pictures and built plinths to order.
The exhibition runs to 27th October and I have several more 'Meet the Artist' sessions to do.