Wednesday, June 16, 2010

tech and stitch

Just found this online class offering. I don't think I'll have the funds to be able to take it, but it seems like it would be pretty awesome. I have GIMP, but I don't ever use it. I play with it sometimes, but it doesn't seem very easy to use to me even though multiple individuals have informed me that it is easier than Photoshop yet just as powerful and useful.

I think I'm more than a little behind the times as it were in regards to stitching, textiles and technology. I see terrific work all over the place that makes use of various computer interfaces/programs, printer capabilities/effects, photo editing and collage, transfer techniques, etc. Mostly, though, I have no idea how it's all been done. So in that respect the works I see using these things are even more like magic to me than normal.

I like technology; I really do. There was a time when I could look at circuitry schematics (is that even what they're really called?) and tell you exactly what all the little squiggles, shapes and jogs in the lines meant and what the resultant constructed item should do. Actually, with some simple diagrams I still can. Somewhere along the line I stopped being interested in how my technology worked and cared only for what it did. I think that happened about the time I became more and more interested in cultural history, story, music, and how they all affected each other, focusing most of my attention on the traditional to the exclusion of the modern.

There are people hard at work integrating technology and textiles. And not just the creation of new fibers and fabrics. The LilyPad Arduino board has led to lots of awesome, creative projects I want to try out some day when I can afford to buy a couple boards and conductive thread, including this Turn Signal Jacket for bicyclists. I'd still use hand signals, but the added visibility would be great at night especially since the lights sold for cyclists are cheap and break/fall off all the time on me anyway. I also think this TV-B-Gone hoodie is terrific. Aside from the monetary means being absent, I think I'm probably still a little too wrapped up in story/history/tradition to try out any of these just yet.

Jude Hill, Oh What A Night. Picture was printed onto cloth, embroidered and quilted. CC License

Maybe I shouldn't be as intimidated by the integration of technology and stitch as I have been. I love Jude Hill's work and in this post she describes how she just tapes fabric to printer paper and runs it through the machine. Here I was thinking I had to get special fabric for printing on. I suppose as long as I'm not going to be getting long fibers caught up in the mechanism, fabric is no worse than running paper through the printer. Jude's work is very grounded in tradition and story, but she still has integrated some tech into a few pieces; via use of printing in this case.

Goal for this afternoon: do some toe-dipping in the realm of stitch and tech and print something onto fabric.

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