Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Needlework & Technology


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My brother is a computer geek, and I’m a needlework nerd. I know a little bit about computer stuff and can manage a bit of technological maneuvering when necessary. Why is it that my brother, though, can’t handle working with a needle ‘n thread? Well – maybe this new initiative will bridge the gap!

Over on Gizmodo, there’s an interesting feature on needlework and technology, highlighting a recent article from Wired. It’s kind of interesting, and certainly worth taking a look at, even if you don’t plan to stitch a motherboard or electrify your latest embroidery project! Just think – a whole new use for metal thread embroidery!

The article on Wired highlights the fact that the first programmed machine was actually a loom, so the connection between the textile world and technology is nothing new, really. Much of the main focus of the Industrial Revolution was, after all, the textile industry.

Take a look at the two articles – the original on Wired and the overview and commentary on Gizmodo – to see a whole new take on technology and needlework…

Then stop back by and let me know what you think….! If you’re any kind of a computer-oriented person or spend your “real job” working on computers, do you see connections between your needlework and your computer work?



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(7) Comments

  1. Okay, I went to the sites and read. My take on technology and needlework is backwards to say the least. I got so wrapped up in the "new tech" embroidery machines and software (loved it) that I decided handwork was for the birds and it lay wasting in oblivion for many years. Until…… now wait for it… I was watching the techno sewing machine stitch out a design and realized I could use this system as a way to learn surface embroidery by hand. Sooo, I am backwards in my learning! I went from sewing tech geek to handwork geek and I do mesh the both of them to help me keep up with all of it that comes my way every day! I have no regrets!!! By the way the handwork results are spectacular in comparison to the ones generated by the computer!

  2. I've noticed an inverse relationship between my work on the computer and my needlework. When I'm intensively building spreadsheets to prepare our annual budget (I work at a community college), I'm not remotely interested in doing handwork or patchwork when I come home. When I get in to the more abstract parts of my job, I love the structure and discipline required by following the lines or making the patches fit together.

  3. Just imagine what this will tell the folks viewing these pieces as archival pieces in a museum 100 years from now! Ha!

    I have found that as my needlework improves, so does my attention to detail on the computer at work, particularly with reference to the layout of documents, databases and spreadsheets. My skills in the use of color and shading to create a document or screen that draws attention to pertinent details has improved. I think it's because my needlework is teaching me to think differently.

  4. nope, that's why men have women in their lives. My brother has mailed me his shirts from thousands of miles away for me to fix BUTTONS..

  5. I see huge potential for the LilyPad Arduino concept and the home artisan. The examples given are pretty tame though. I am thinking of things like a stumpwork butterfly programmed to flap its wings, or some sort of costume involving LED lights. Perhaps a soft toy that makes a noise when you make a loud noise like a clap.

    Unfortunately the rest to me seems like pointless art. Nothing like the stunning pieces you create!!

  6. Oh… I should have mentioned… my job is a web designer… lately the only connection between technology job and craft hobby is the lamentation of being stuck in an office doing things for other people when I am motivated to sew, then getting home and feeling too buggered in this cold weather to actually achieve much. lol

  7. I love this kind of stuff, I study at an art school where we work on combining technology and game/interactive media with the theater, and as someone who is mostly focussed on theater design, this is very intresting to me! I love the idea of combining clothing with technology, and embroidery and technology is a good combi too, I think. It is actually quite similar!

    Though I think there could be done more with the concept than there is currently done. Imagine you could make pieces of embroidery light up to illustrate a certain part you would like to show, or to make it touch sensitive so people could actually play around with moving their hands on the piece and activate all kinds of movies and sounds and make it a true interactive, storytelling piece of embroidery! Not just have it hang on a wall, do something with it and let it be a special experience for everyone who plays with it, as if the maker of the emboidery tells you a story, not only through the embroidery but also with lights, touch and music..

    I'd love to see more of this, I think it's a great combination. Maybe I should try it myself!

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