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!

Here are all three dresses together – we’re really pleased with the results!

Each of the three dresses in the Lace Sensor Dress collection is embroidered with a different poem, sourced from an antique embroidery sampler.  Each poem evokes a different emotion, which corresponds to a gesture that triggers a recording of the poem to be played through tiny speakers crocheted into the dress.  The sensors are created from custom-made conductive lace and the harder they are pressed, the louder the poem will play.

Here are all the pics taken by photographer Pieter Claessen:

To follow is a little bit more information about each individual dress with the poems in full.  Please note that the original old English spelling has been retained, and these are not errors.  By the way, we named the dresses for the women who recorded the poems for us with David Littler.


The poem embroidered onto this dress is about having control over one’s own life through acquiring a skill.  The sensors are on the hips, so that the audio plays when the wearer places her hands on her hips in a powerful, confident gesture.

When I was young I little thought
That wit must be so dearly bought
But now experience tells me how
If I would thrive than I must bow
And bend unto another’s will
That I might learn both art and skill
To get my living with my hands
That I might be free from band
And my owne dame that I may be
An free from all such slavery.
Avoid vaine pastime fle youthful pleasure
Let moderation allways be they measure
And so prosed unto the heavenly treasure.


This poem was relatively popular in late 18th century samplers, and is about being remembered after death.  The melancholy theme of the verse is reflected in the gesture: crossing the arms in front of the chest and embracing the self.  Pressure sensors on the sleeves are triggered by this gesture, playing the poem.

When I am dead and in my grave,
And all my bones are rotten.
When this you see remember me,
That I won’t be forgotten.


This embroidery sampler was made by a very young girl, around age 10, who complains that her embroidery would be better if she had a better needle to work with.  The idea that embroidery can be hard, physical labour informs the gesture of the wearer massaging her own neck while holding her right wrist.

Hannah Rolfe is my name and with my
nedel I rought the same and and if my nedel
had been better I would have mended it

One more thing – we want to mention the wonderful people who were very generous with their time in making the photo- and video-shoot happen!  The photos were taken by Pieter Claessen, the video shot by Michiel Koelink, and the models are Daan Bolwijn, Lisa Randoe and Fione van Wijk.  Of course they were lovely enough without makeup, but the makeup skills of Tamar Bosschaart just made them gorgeous.  Louloudi, Meg and Anja took care of the styling and the final video was edited by Anja.

None of this project would have been possible without the gracious help of the Museum de Kantfabriek.


3 responses to “pressure sensor dresses: finished

  1. Dear Anja,
    so beautiful once more, congratulations!
    love marjolein

  2. dearest anja – sorry for seeing this so desperately late, BUT: I can only quote what marjolein wrote (“so beautiful once more, congratulations!”)! and add this: “text into textile” is precisely what, in his DREAM, (walter) benjamin (letter of 12 oct 1939 to gretel adorno) was told – plus in french! “Il s’agissait de changer en fichu une poésie” (“Es handelte sich darum, aus einem Gedicht ein Halstuch zu machen.”) Isn’t that AWESOME? again: congrats & hi to the video artist! oudée

  3. Greta Grip


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