Sunday, 5 July 2015

Smart Textiles

I really like the idea of being able to incorporate technology into textiles and although it is interesting to use it in a practical way, I'm more interested in, or maybe intrigued by, how it could be used in textile art, so I booked on the Smart Textile course at the V&A which was run by Sara Robertson

One of the things we did was to stitch a circuit using conductive thread which lit up small LEDs which came on and off at different intervals.

We also did printing will thermochromic paint which changes colour when heated and experimented with paints that changed colour at different temperatures and sometimes mixing them with standard acrylic paints.

In this piece I mixed the thermochromic paint with standard acrylic paint and printed with one of my old gridy thermofax screens.The heat of my hand 'removed' the thermochromatic paint revealing the yellow acrylic paint that it had been mixed with.

This was printed with liquid crystal and it was fabulous but expensive. It is hard to capture the colour changes in a photograph but you can see on the right hand edge that there is little colour but some beautiful colours have been revealed where the heat of the hand has been placed. It has been so hot this week that this fabric has been constantly colourful and what's interesting is that different colours are revealed over time. How does it do that?

The garment above was created by See the Unseen using similar paint and I love it! They're based in Somerset House and they're definitely on my list to visit. 

So the really clever thing would be combine the circuits and thermochromic paints together and this was my first attempt. I stitched a line of conductive thread and added power so that it heated up the fabric around the thread and changed the colour of  the paint.

Not exactly a work of art but it starts to show the potential of the technology. 

Whilst I was on the course the V&A design bus arrived and our tutor Sara, had an exhibit displayed. I was very glad it hadn't been me that had to park the bus between two lampposts on a busy London street!

All the exhibits used technology in innovative ways and we were treated to an informative pack about the exhibits and the artists.  

They do things well at the V&A don't they? I really enjoyed the course and it has sown (sewn?) some creative seeds but I think I'm along way off being able to use it in my work. 

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