I love a challenge, and I also love new technology. So when this very cool fiber optic fabric came on the market, I was just excited to try it out. But when I got it home…. It’s difficulties presented itself. I plan to go over it in a more in depth post later on, but basically, the light effect is VERY difficult to see in even dim light. It’s best in pitch darkness. So when I wanted to show this work at a gallery show recently, I had a challenge. How do I get my viewers to see the work, but in a bright gallery space?
Enter this contraption, designed by my husband out of pink insulation board and then painted black. We put a drape over the top, and you view the work laying flat on the bottom in the box. Pretty neat huh?
I had this piece running on an LED that slowly changed colors, to add to the “northern lights” effect.
You can get a sample piece of fiber optic fabric at Sparkfun.com. (The white fabric is sold out, the link is to the black. It’s spendy for a very small piece of this, FYI)
The fine ladies of the North Suburban Needle Arts Guild invited me to speak and teach at their guild in early February. They wanted to learn about eTextiles, and I was so happy to oblige!
The lecture, “Intro to eTextiles” was a big hit! Check out the packed room of members!
The two day class started with 6 inches of snow in the Chicago area overnight, and I woke up thinking that maybe they would cancel the class. When I got to the parking lot, it was plowed and waiting for students! Nineteen of the 21 students showed up! That’s AMAZING! These were dedicated needleworkers, and they wanted to learn, which is what I hoped I gave them!
We made eTextile books on the first day, and light up voodoo/squeeze dolls the second. We had such a good time. Look at the amazing work they made!
That was some really fantastic work by my students and I am proud to share it with you. As always, if you want me to teach or lecture to your guild, I’d be excited to book a date.
I had a fabulous time at the International Quilt Festival in Rosemont (outside of Chicago). I had one heck of a packed schedule, and I got to meet so many new people and see lots of my good friends.
First off, I had great fun at the Open Studios. This is where you get to stop by and see what quilt artists are up to and what they are making. It started last year in Houston, and I loved it, so I was totally game for it again this year. I showed off three different techniques: Cartooning for Quilters, Heirloom Sewing, and of course, Light Up Your Quilts! I was asked so many times “Do you teach?” The answer is YES, YES, YES!
I also got an opportunity to teach Light Up Artist Trading Cards at Create on the Spot! This is similar to the old “Make It University” (which is coming back to Houston this year– YAY!).
The students in my light up class had a great time, and I had lots of kids in my class! Everyone’s project lit up! I thought the class was a great value and I hope everyone liked their project.
There have been a few places I’ve popped up since, like over on Pokey’s Blog, and on Generation Q’s blog, which is also nice.
It’s always great to have a quilt in the show, and my quilt “Schwerkraft (Gravity)” was part of the Naperville Modern Quilt Guild’s Log Cabin Modern Quilt Showcase. It was great fun to see it hanging.
There was also a great Modern Meet Up that Catherine and I co-hosted with the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild, and we got to see our friends and have a few drinks to wind down the day.
Again I demoed the Conductive Thread and lights from Superior Threads, who were super great to work with! They have the best threads. In all, it was a great weekend. I can’t wait until Houston! I already have my flight and hotel!
The Arduino quilt in the video from this post is my latest e-textile creation. My husband gave me the Lilypad arduino as a Christmas gift, and I had been trying to figure out what to do with it. I was also really stuck on using this fabulous piece of antique lace in an all off-white fabric manipulation piece.
The title of this work is called “Shattered” and it was designed for the Naperville Art League’s public art competition, but I didn’t complete it in time. It will go to some other venues and I’m happy that the idea is complete and finally finished.
This is what the fabric manipulations looked like in progress.
This is a close up of the arduino on the back. It’s held on by the stitches I used with the conductive thread.
I mounted this to canvas, because the battery back sticks out pretty far and it will not lay flat against a surface if hung on a wall.
I haven’t tested how long it will run on the one battery.
The program I wrote was done using a modified version of one of the basic ones it comes with. I must have tweaked it 30 times before I got it right. This uses PWM, or Pulse Width Modulation, which is how you get a LED light to fade. I wanted this to have a soft fade effect for the lights, and the sketch program that I tweaked was better than me writing it from scratch.
After the lights were put on the front, I painted them with some cream colored acrylic paint so that they more or less disappeared on the surface of the quilt.
I hope this answers some of the questions out there about this project. I loved making the quilt itself and really enjoyed figuring out the lights.
I’m exhaustedand need to sign up for a class tomorrow bright and early so it’s off to bed with me, and more tomorrow!!