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Even before officially starting my RA at the Design Academy I was invited to participate in a workshop at De Waag Fablab by my CRISP team members from TU/e. The workshop called “Hypercrafting Fashion” was part of Amsterdam Fashion Week and winterSALON/2012 and focussed on using digital production techniques to create and alter textiles and integrating technology into textiles.


For a bit of inspiration and to get a sense of the possibilities of these digital production techniques there were presentations of some interesting projects by Kristi Kuusk (my colleague in the STS project) and Ellis Droog from Lemonbow Swimwear and an introduction of the FabLab concept by Alex Schaub. After that the group was split in two, with one group experimenting with the lasercutter on textiles and the other group learning the basics of making textile interactive.


To me the latter seemed most relevant so I joined the group lead by Marina Toeters. She demonstrated to us how a simple electrical circuit works and then taught us how to make it “soft”. The idea is simple: if you connect a LED to a battery it will light up. If you add a switch you can close or break the circuit and turn the LED on and off, making it interactive. A switch doesn't need to be a button, it can also be two pieces of fabric with some conductive material that close the circuit when you press them together.


We were given some time to each build our own soft switch and by doing so find out what worked and what didn't. This was a fun and easy way to learn about making circuits and controlling them. Of course after that we immediately started experimenting with multiple LEDs and switches and Marina also brought some little buzzers for us to play with. All the participants came up with a concept for an interactive textile and worked on these until the end of the afternoon, when we presented the outcomes to each other.


My concept was to make a switch that you don't press, but fold to close the circuit. By folding a piece of fabric in different ways, there will be different outcomes i.e. a different color LED will light up or the cloth starts buzzing. It was quite challenging to get it to work. My circuit was shorting out because the conductive threads I used frayed a bit and were touching. When I finally got it right it still wasn't working and it wasn't until I got home and took everything apart again that I realized the battery had run out...


All in all I spent a very interesting day at de Waag and it left me with a taste for more. So many possibilities open up when a textile becomes and I'm eager to start doing some more experiments. 

Published: 30-Jan-2012 11:30


  • Hypercrafting Fashion Workshop at De Waag Society


  • Hypercrafting Fashion Workshop at De Waag Society

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  • Hypercrafting Fashion Workshop at De Waag Society

    folding switch concept.JPG

  • Hypercrafting Fashion Workshop at De Waag Society

    folding switch working.JPG