Our Dresses Return Home

In March 2014, the Museum de Kantfabriek (Lace Factory Museum) opened their Traditie ontmoet Toekomst (Tradition meets The Future) exhibition.  The exhibition focuses on the combination of smart fabrics with traditional textile techniques and our dresses are showcased along with many beautiful works.

We’re especially pleased to be included in the collection, because of course the Lace Sensor dresses would not exist if it wasn’t for the Lace Factory Museum.  They were involved in the very beginning of our exploration into conductive laces, custom-producing our lace on their beautiful old machines.  The museum, located in Horst, The Netherlands, is a treat to visit even when they don’t have a special exhibition on, but if you can make it before the end of September 2014, you’ll catch the Traditie ontmoet Toekomst exhibition as well.  Worth a visit!


Lace Sensor Dresses at StAnza Poetry Festival

We were invited to exhibit our Lace Sensor Dresses at the StAnza Poetry Festival in St Andrews, Scotland.  The festival ran from 6-10 March 2013 and Anja went to represent our project.

LSP at StAnza 2

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pressure sensor dresses: finished

The Lace Sensor Dresses are finally finished!  We only just got the chance to photograph them before they were whisked away to Vienna for their big debut at the TechnoSensual Exhibition.

More photos after the jump!

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pressure sensor dresses: audio

Speaking of speakers, a few months ago David Littler recorded the three poems for our three dresses.  Among other things, David is part of a collective called sampler-cultureclash, which uses as a starting point the commonalities between sampled audio and embroidery samplers.  From there, they organise collaborations between a diverse range of musicians, designers, artisans, craftspeople and artists.

David seemed like the perfect person to contact about sourcing audio for our spoken poems.  He knows his way around audio, works closely with embroiderers (who naturally have a special connection to the poems we’ve chosen) and he lives in the UK, which is where we wanted the accents to come from!  Although he’s a busy guy (he just started a residency in Berlin), he managed to find time to help us and has provided three lovely audio files for us to load onto our WaveShields!

Oh, and we’ve decided to name our dresses after the women reading the poems (much nicer than Pressure Sensor Dress One, Pressure Sensor Dress Two, etc).  So our dresses will be named Sian, Emma and Pat!

pressure sensor dresses: sewing the speakers

Here’s how we’re attaching the speakers to the dresses:

The speakers will be covered with crochet, but we wanted to make them detachable in case something breaks or needs to be resoldered, etc.  First we embroidered our circuit with conductive thread, stitching pads on the dress where the speakers will be connected.  We’ve soldered crimp beads to the speakers so that we can sew them (with conductive thread) to the embroidered pads on the dress.

pressure sensor dresses: arduino sleeve

Things are moving along slowly but surely with the pressure sensor dresses.  Here’s a quick update on how we integrated the arduinos and waveshields.

The conductive threads from the speakers and sensors on the body of the dress all terminate at the back of the waste between the top-skirt and the under-skirt.  Here, we made a flap that the arduino attaches to with metal press-studs.

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pressure sensor dresses: amplifier circuit

As mentioned in an earlier post, the resistance on the conductive thread is interfering with the sound.  We fixed this by replacing the conductive thread with flexible wires up the sides of the zip, but we really wanted to try another solution.

So we built an amplifier circuit with an LM386N chip:

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pressure sensor dresses: almost done

Here’s a sneak preview of the first pressure sensor dress – it’s almost done!

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pressure sensor dresses: arduino sleeve

The Wave Shield and Arduino will be stitched into a fabric sleeve and then attached to the dress with press studs.  This way we can remove it for maintenance and washing if necessary.

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pressure sensor dresses: embroidered speakers

Very excited – the embroidered speakers on the shoulders of the first dress are done and we’re really happy with how they turned out.  Here’s a sneak preview:

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