Digital Futures: e-stitches

Learning and Interpretation
December 5, 2017

This coming Saturday, Digital Futures will be bringing back members of the e-stitches group, a meetup for textiles and technology taking place regularly at the V&A, in a special session including a showcase, talks and smart festive gift wrap workshops – right on time for Christmas!

e-stitches has over 140 members from a wide variety of fields and experience, each bringing their own unique view on e-textiles. The group includes artists, designers, researchers, technologists, curators, choreographers, journalists, entrepreneurs and industry thought leaders. The e-stitches community creates innovative and experimental applications for art, design, research and commerce and on Saturday we will be sharing some of this brilliant work, so please come and join us!

EVENT SCHEDULE: Talks from 13.30 to 14.50 followed by drop-in workshops led by Becky Stewart and Sara Robertson with Claire Felicity Miller.


Maria Paneta is an architect passionate about interaction design and working on the verge of art and architecture, exploring new ways of sensing space. Her study in the Bartlett (MArch Architectural Design, Interactive Architecture Lab) resulted in the development of the wearable Sarotis, a prosthetic device that augments spatial awareness and an empirical experiment on the binding problem. Through Sarotis she explores how soft prosthetic devices can modify the user’s awareness and mitigate the distance between bodies, minds and space.

Bushra Burge is an artist-designer story teller whose work explores body centred experiences bringing together art and science through the use of a range of traditional and new media, from couture to digital installation. She has a background in wearable technology, sustainable fashion and software engineering. She has explored memory, illusion and sense-of-self amongst other human conditions through multi-sensory storytelling. She holds an MA in Applied Imagination from Central Saint Martins (Distinction), a BA in Fashion from the London College of Fashion, as well as an earlier BSc from Imperial College in Biochemistry, which enables her to bring a unique perspective and range of skills to her work. Bushra will discuss the understanding she gained from demonstrating her previous VR haptic worn experience ‘Dark Matter’ at numerous public events and how this has informed her new multi-sensory story Hokusai’s Wave. Here she is exploring the notion of ‘seeing touch’ through an integrated multi-media design approach of painting a VR story using tilt brush whilst iterating a haptic kinetic dress.

Hokusai wave, Bushra Burge

Rachel Freire is an artist, clothing designer and leather specialist working across multiple disciplines of fashion, film and stage. Hailing from Liverpool and based in London, she has a background in fine art and a BA Hons in Design for Performance from Central Saint Martins. She launched her conceptual fashion label on the catwalks of London Fashion Week in 2009. Her background is evidenced in narrative and sculptural collections and unique commissioned pieces evoking timelessness and craftsmanship. Militaristic and futuristic accents compliment overtly feminine elements in the meticulous construction of each garment. Her East London atelier hosts a myriad of projects and collaborations, working with highly skilled artists and technicians who can be found in the credits. She is currently fascinated with combining fabrics and circuits to create functional garments for the future and is a director and textile designer at gloves, a gestural interface to compose and perform music with your hands. Her work is designed to tell stories, or to inspire them.

WEAR Sustain is a new, €3m project, funded by the European Commission Horizon 2020 research and innovation initiative which will engage artists and designers to work more closely with technologists and engineers to shift the development of the wearables and e-textile landscape towards a more sustainable and ethical approach. The project will run between January 2017 and December 2018. In order to promote further collaboration between the arts and innovation activities, WEAR promotes cross-disciplinary/cross-sectoral collaboration and invites artist and design communities to engage the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industries, through co-design and co-development of ethical, critical, and aesthetic wearable technologies and smart textiles. Consequently, WEAR will engage stakeholders across Europe in the development of the EU wearable technology and smart textiles industries, drawing on the rich European landscape of wearable technology and smart textile developers. Camille Baker will share the progress of current selected project teams working with the call themes: environment, use and reuse vs. waste and planned obsolesce, energy and batteries, body/ physiology/somatics, emotional and mental health, social/ cultural/ economic (addressing data collection, surveillance, privacy, algorithmic focussed marketing, human rights and labour practices.

Kasia Molga is a media artist/designer/environmentalist and creative coder who works on the intersection of art, science, design and technology. Through her practice she examines changes in our perception and relationship with the planet in the context of climate change and unforeseen futures in this increasingly technologically mediated world. She does that by exploring various aspects of transmitting and manifesting real time environmental and biological data and seek to facilitate an agency for sources of that data. That way she attempts to give a beginning to a dialogue between viewers and the source or entity from which the data originates, so that the representation of that data becomes a language of that source. She creates interactive, participatory and immersive visual and spatial experiences and narratives, often using Open Source and Hardware technologies and techniques, bespokely created electronics, user interfaces and code, but also plays with more analogue and traditional visuals, animations, film, photography or sometimes hand-drawn pictures.

Human Sensor, Kasia Molga in collaboration with Prof.Frank Kelly and Dr. Andrew Grieve, King’s College London, Ricardo O’Nascimento and Erik Overmeire

Becky Stewart is a lecturer in the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science at Queen Mary University of London. Co-founder of Codasign, a creative technology education company that runs workshops teaching kids and adults how to use technology to develop creative projects. Becky works with e-textiles and signal processing to build interactive, body-centric wearable computing systems. These systems often incorporate performance, fashion, music and/or design.

Sara Robertson is Tutor and Researcher in Smart Textiles at the Royal College of Art and honorary Research Fellow at DJCAD, University of Dundee. She trained in printed textile design gaining her first degree from Manchester Metropolitan University, after which she worked as a freelance textile designer and started teaching at the University of Portsmouth. Sara began exploring the application of smart materials to textiles in 2004 during her MA at Winchester School of Art and was successful in gaining a doctoral award from the AHRC in 2006 to continue her research in the area of smart textiles at Heriot Watt University’s School of Textiles and Design. Sara’s research and practice focuses on materials, making and technology through a broad, colourful and futuristic lens. She regularly collaborates with designers and researchers across disciplines using craft-based exploration to showcase the potential of smart materials. Recent work, Digital Lace, was created in collaboration with Sarah Taylor (optical fibre specialist) and showcased at the EMP building and Microsoft’s Studio 99 in Seattle as part of the International Symposium on Wearable Computers, winning the 2014 Design Jury Award for Fibre Arts. Digital Lace has since been selected and exhibited in the V&A Museum of Design, Dundee’s first touring exhibition Design in Motion.

Claire Felicity Miller is a Materials Designer based in London, UK. Claire’s recent experience includes working for Nike’s Footwear Innovation Design team as a Materials Designer for future athlete performance products. Claire is passionate about working collaboratively across design disciplines and has worked with Fashion Designers and Automotive Designers -notably with Jaguar on a sculpture showing ‘Future Form and Material Language’ for the brand. Claire is a Visiting Lecturer on the RCA MA Textiles Programme and a Stavros Niarchos Foundation PhD funded scholar at the RCA.

Sarah Taylor is Senior Research Fellow at Edinburgh Napier University. She has worked as an academic and research practitioner in the field of e-textiles for over 20 years and specialises in light-emitting textiles. Sarah completed her research degree in 1995 which explored the visual potential of fibre optic technology within textiles. She has a particular interest in the aesthetics of light within cloth and in using different technologies to enhance or activate visual effects or interaction for example. Her craft-based design work has been exhibited at major national and international exhibitions over the years and she has worked in collaboration with experts from other design and technology disciplines and enjoyed the diversity of working on a range of cross-disciplinary projects. Over the last two years Sarah has worked with Sara Robertson, MYB Textiles and other partners to develop Light-Emitting Lace.

Digital Futures: e-stitches is taking place on Saturday 9 December, from 13.30 to 17.30 in the Learning Centre Seminar Room 5,  on level 3 of the Museum.

Digital Futures is a regular meetup and open platform for displaying and discussing work by professionals working with art, technology, design, science and beyond.  It is also a networking event, bringing together people from different backgrounds and disciplines with a view to generating future collaborations.

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