This publication includes a workbook on weave structure as well as a reflection on how HCI (Human-Computer Interaction) researchers might look to craft publications for inspiration when communicating the contribution of craft-oriented research. The workbook included in this publication is intended for HCI researchers to learn the fundamentals of weave structure in the context of weaving force sensors. The project emerged in collaboration between the lab and Experimental Weaver in Residence Etta Sandry and our shared interests in communicating the technicality and fundamentals of weaving to broad audiences.
Laura Devendorf, Sasha de Koninck, and Etta Sandry. 2022. An Introduction to Weave Structure for HCI: A How-to and Reflection on Modes of Exchange. In Designing Interactive Systems Conference (DIS ’22). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 629–642. https://doi.org/10.1145/3532106.3534567
Wearables are often a primary means of collecting data on the body and in-situ. The data collected upon wearables can shape or record interactions in real-time, prompting practices like self-care and reflection. In this work, we became intrigued by textile structures that were non-digital, but in themselves “stateful”. We explored how these textile interfaces can fit meaningfully into the lives of people with disabilities as sensors and display. Our study revealed interesting practices that emerged for self-tracking that were qualitatively unique in their close relationship to the body and deeply physical modes of engagement. Our findings offer insights into (1) qualities of textile interfaces that are important to people with disabilities, (2) new forms of data that people found to be worthwhile in tracking, and (3) knitted interfaces for sensing and display.
Citation: Annika Muhlbradt*, Gregory Whiting, Shaun Kane, Laura Devendorf. Knitting Access: Exploring Statful Textiles with People with Disabilities. Forthcoming at DIS 2022.
AdaCAD is a design tool we have developed for weave drafting. It specializes in generating and managing complex weaving structures that are most often used in Jacquard weaving. It is free, open-source, and under active development as a tool intended to bridge engineering and craft. Specifically, it uses the design paradigm of “generative design” within the context of weaving that allows one to dynamically generate and adjust weave structures programmatically such as the structures shown above (generated using the “random” structure generator where the weaver and specify the size and ration of raised/lowered heddles) and the resulting fabric on the right.
Want to play with it on your own? Follow any of these links:
Alternatively, you can sign up for a workshop to learn more.
We’re running an hour-long workshop to teach people how to use the tool and our next workshop will be April 1 @ 10am Mountain Time (9:00 PST, 12:00 EST, 18:00 CET). If you would like to join, send us your email and we’ll send you a zoom link.
A few years of workshops on textiles, combined with an obsession with Sister Corita Kent, has given rise to a card game that we call “Objects of Care”. This card game walks plays through a design exercise reflecting on objects that provide “care” to them, and then creatively interpreting the care in those objects in different ways.
If you are interested in getting a deck or learning more about the project, please email us at email@example.com.
Sasha will be presenting this project at the Design Research Society conference in July 2022.
Sasha de Koninck, Laura Devendorf. Objects of Care. Forthcoming Design Research Society Biannual Conference 2022.
Stay tuned for a link that allows you to upload ideas generated from the game here.
Experimental Weaving Residency Spring 2022 : Consider Everything an Experiment
Part of the ATLAS Institute at the University of Colorado Boulder, the Unstable Design Lab is hosting its second experimental weaving residency with the goal of developing new techniques and open-source resources that can co-evolve fiber arts and engineering practice. The chosen resident will work with the Unstable Design Lab, as well as researchers from the University of Colorado, to create a series of samples inspired by challenges currently faced by engineering researchers. For example, shape weaving techniques for creating form-fitting and/or compression garments for counter-pressure spacesuits, integration of power harvesting diodes, compostable or easily reusable textile structures for zero-waste manufacturing, or structures that dynamically fold and unfold to support mechanical structures or soft robotics (to name a few, but not all, possible spaces for experimentation). Applicants should be open-minded, curious, and above all deeply knowledgeable about woven structures and their behaviors. No knowledge of computer science, electronics, or engineering is required for participation.
Sept 15, 2021
Notification to Selected Applicant
November 1, 2021
12 weeks between Jan 15-May 15
The resources available to the resident include a desk in the Unstable Design Lab, priority access to a TC2 digital jacquard loom (3W warped at 60 ends per inch), access to other weaving, spinning and knitting equipment in the lab, access to traditional and novel weaving materials, programming support for some custom software needs, access to the fabrication facilities at the ATLAS Institute, access to motion-capture and high-end audio equipment in the B2 Center for the Media Art and Performance, and an exhibition space to showcase work at the end of the residency (also at the B2). While we can provide instructions for getting started on the TC2, the artist is ultimately responsible for the design and production of their swatches—there is no technician devoted to realizing the work on the equipment.
The resident will be expected to work at least 30 hours per week with the lab members and collaborators evolving concepts that address the artist’s interests as well as the engineering teams’ needs. The selected resident must be willing to share any techniques they develop as open-source resources to both the collaborators and public more broadly, including producing necessary documentation for others to replicate their techniques. To facilitate the exploration of projects of mutual interest, the organizers will schedule meetings with various researchers during the first week of the residency to better understand their needs and challenges when it comes to integrating textile structures into their research. The resident, then, will be able to select the challenges that most interest them to further explore, sharing their findings with the research teams as they develop.
Timing, Housing, Stipend
* the stipend will be taxed by the US government and this may have significant impact for international applicants ** materials budget does not go directly to artist, but is to be spent by the lab during the residency on supplies determined by the artist.
The residency scheduling is flexible but should total 12 weeks should take place between January and May 2022 in Boulder, Colorado. The resident will receive $9520 as a stipend, $450 towards airfare to and from Boulder, and a materials budget of $500 to be spend during the residency. The artist will be responsible for locating housing and travel to and from Boulder, Colorado. International applicants are welcome to apply but should note that the stipend will be lower due to taxes taken by the US government on international workers.
We welcome international applications. If you are of non-US citizenship, please make note that the stipend will be particularly affected by US taxes on international workers as well as some fees for VISA processing in your country of citizenship. As we reach the later stages of the application process, we may use this information to provide you with more specifics on the taxes you may incur as well as verify with the host university that you would be eligible to work within the institution. We can provide flexibility in the residency dates to support applicants who may be facing additional challenges obtaining a VISA and/or traveling to the US due to current current restrictions given COVID. For more information on the particular program through which we host residents, visit: https://www.colorado.edu/isss/cu-departments/hiringhosting-international-students-scholars/international-scholars-j-h-e-pr/j-1-3
Laura Devendorf (she/her), Director of the Unstable Design Lab Assistant Professor, ATLAS Institute & Dept. of Information Science website
Steven Frost Faculty Director of the B2 Center for Media Arts & Performance website
Allison Anderson Assistant Professor, Smead Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences website
The selection committee and organizers will work together will determine the finalists. The organizers will ultimately select the chosen resident.
Kristina Andersen, Future Everyday, Eindhoven University of Technology website
Matt Bethancourt, Director, Whaaat!? Lab for Games and Experimental Interactions, website
Sarah Rosalena Brady, Assistant Professor of Computational Craft at UCSB, website
Annet Couwenberg, Fiber and Material Studies, MICA, website
Annapurna Mamidipudi, Scholar and Craft Researcher, website
As a collaborator in the Unstable Design Lab you will be working among artists and researchers across many domains of research. You would share immediate lab space with the students and faculty listed on the people page. Additionally, we will be working closely with Ella Schauss (a PhD student working with Prof. Anderson) and Michael Rivera (who will be a post-doctoral researcher at the lab during Spring 2022).
To apply for the residency, please fill out the form below. Our selection criteria will be determined by your approach to experimentation, aesthetic of your work, and the demonstration of techniques that you employ in the work so please use the images and statements to provide details to those ends. Details about how you document and share your work will also help your application.
In support of our newly developed class, we found ourselves writing a reader to explain different techniques, material sourcing and structures of textiles that could be leveraged for so-called “smart” applications (but if you read our intro, you see we get into a bit more complexity on that). This has been authored by Laura Devendorf, Sasha De Koninck and Steven Frost but it is available via Github so you can contribute as well if you so wish. You can find the complete book at the link below:
We developed a course and curriculum for teaching textile structures to an audience of students interested in engineering and physical prototyping. We have released this course, as well as our materials lists, kits, and assignments, as an open education resource here: https://unstable.design/soft-object/_book/
AdaCAD is a drafting software that we are developing in the lab. Our hope is for the tool to support both experimental forms of weaving and experimental forms of draft making that borrow from principles of generative design.
When I first watched an ASMR video I was both fascinated and confused. I found these videos to be fantastically strange because they had an uncanny way of taking conventionally boring objects and situations and turning them into a source of interest and relaxation for millions of people. I wondered if the way that we interact with ASMR videos is reshaping our relationships with technology. Or perhaps indicative of some cultural shift that is already underway. Over the course of a year, I worked with Laura to gain a deeper understanding of ASMR related media and whether or not it could be relevant to the design of technology, specifically the wearable kind. This project included: an indepth look at ASMR videos on youtube and tried to isolate their unique aesthetic qualities; a pilot study where users took home a “sonic toolkit” in order to understand how “ASMR-like” sounds relate to everyday life; and an interview with a Melinda Lauw, a “live” ASMR creator. The project culminated in the creation of two interactive garments that are based off of Laura and I’s individual interpretations of how ASMR videos can inspire wearable technology for connecting meaningfully with our surroundings.
To learn more about the garments as well as all of our different ideas surrounding ASMR and design please check out the paper!