Welcome to the new Tech+Art Podcast!
Join us on this adventure as we meet & speak with: artists, makers, researchers, designers and creators from all background and fields.
Our objective is to understand their creative perspective, dive into their workflow & creative process, be inspired by new ideas and their work – and stay one step ahead of cutting-edge industry developments.
In this episode, we’re chatting with Lee Jones, a researcher at Carleton University’s Creative Interactions Lab.
Lee is pursuing her PhD there and exploring topics related to wearables, e-textiles and co-design. She’s also a prolific creator and routinely delivers workshops around her work for the public.
Lee has created easy-to-use, e-textile prototyping kits for one of these workshops called ElectroStitches.
She’s also been a fellow at Open Style Lab in NYC & is currently doing a virtual artist-in-residency with Daimon.
[ 7:36 ] – It’s a field called Tangible User Interfaces, which is essentially any kind of technology that you can touch. It’s in your environment and you can play around with it in your hands. So the idea of a toolkit that’s a very common thing in that field – because basically it’s like people playing with things like Lego. We try to make toolkits that are kind of like Lego, where you can plug things together and build your own thing. Take it apart and put it back together again. So that’s where I was thinking about how could we do wearables like that?
[ 8:18 ] – But for people who have no background in sewing or electronics – this is very difficult to get into because it’s just a combination of so many different fields: you have to know how to code, you have to know how to sew and put clothes together, you have to to like do the electronics part of it. So we want to be able make that really easy. Just be able to plug it together, built whatever you want, and then try it on!
[ 11:25 ] – Ya so Electro-Stitches is all about combining craft with electronics. So it’s really useful for artists too, to get into electronics by doing handcrafts because it’s something that they usually do anyways. So like if you’re a woodworker, how can you incorporate electronics into your work? Or for me, e-textiles, how can I sew electronics in? And the cool thing about the way that these workshops are done, it focuses on the raw materials so that you can build your own components.
[ 13:15 ] – So it’s cool when things aren’t a blackbox. Like a lot of technology, you don’t see what’s going on inside. You just use it, you know how it works, but you don’t know what’s going on under the hood. And then with a lot of Electro-Stitches stuff and also with my own thesis toolkit, people can still see all the circuits – and they are very visual because it’s been sewn into something. You can actually see: ‘oh, a button is when two conductive pieces come together’. So I think it’s an easier way to understand what’s going on underneath.