12-14 September 2019 at Loughborough University in London

The exhibition is open and freely accessible to the public from 10:00 – 17:30 on 12-13 September and 10:00 – 15:00 on 14 September.

A pdf of the printed exhibition catalogue can be downloaded here.

/// Works on Display

Chanee Choi

Atayal Modern Times – Camouflage Suit

Photo of model wearing Atayal Modern Times - Camouflage Suit

The camouflage suit attempts to deliver a new narrative idea about the identities of Atayal female indigenous weavers and the period of Japanese colonization (1895-1945).

Anne Toomey, Amy Winters, Elif Ozden Yenigun, and Sara Robertson

Surfaces, Structures & Soft Systems

‘Surfaces, Structures & Soft Systems’ presents a unique vision for advanced materials and a textile led approach to design. An exploration of the way that our SOFT material world resonates with the human condition to find new opportunities and solutions involving human interfaces, user acceptance and experience.

The film takes us directly into the dynamic textiles workshops and laboratories here at the RCA and our collaborations with material scientists, manufacturers, healthcare specialists, architects and engineers. Our hands-on approach of ‘thinking through material’ addresses the affective and sensory material values within a technological landscape. Staff and students develop innovative processes, surfaces, structures and soft systems to form products that reimagine our relationships with materials and challenge our traditional definitions of textiles.

Maurin Donneaud

E256 – eTextile music controller

Photo of  E256 - eTextile music controller

The E256 music controller features 30cm by 30cm sensitive textile that allows multi-touch sensing and pressures topographic analysis. Made out of conductive textile shaped in rows and columns and a layer of piezoresistive fabric, this textile sensor is designed to be easy to make. The E256 firmware implements all the functionalities to sense the touch and communicate with audio software such as PureData, SuperCollider, etc.

Jimi Demi-Ajayi, Felecia Davis, Julian Huang, Karen Kuo, and In Pun

The Responsive Phototropic Fiber Composite Structure

Photo of person interacting with Responsive Phototropic Fiber Composite Structure

Our team developed a responsive fibre-composite foldable structure by embedding conductive yarns into fibreglass fabric to initiate a response. The innovation dwells in the introduction of electronic components to make an e-textile that permits communication through the fabric via LED’s. We were inspired by Choma’s origami-Chakrasana and Davis’ origami African Burial Ground Memorial/Museum that communicates its message through its surface. (Testado, 2017, Davis, 2000)


Davis, F. “Un-Covering/Re-Covering:Memorial and Museum for the African-Burial-Ground “in White

Papers, Black Marks, Architecture Race and Culture, Ed. L. Lokko, 2000 Routledge

Advanced Textiles Research Group, Nottingham Trent University

Light My Elbows: A Cycling Jacket Incorporating Electronic Yarn

Photo of cyclist wearing a cycling Jacket incorporating electronic yarn with lit LEDs on the elbow

This jacket can help to alert road users to the presence of a cyclist through the movement of LEDs (light emitting diodes) in the elbows. The LEDs are included within a specially developed electronic yarn, incorporated into a bespoke weave. The weave includes fluorescent and retroreflective yarns to create a pattern suitable for use in a contemporary, multifunctional jacket. The electronic yarns fit into the jacket unobtrusively, without interfering with a cyclist’s movement or with rucksack straps. This working prototype demonstrates the potential for further collaborative ventures in which electronics are integrated into garments that are stylish, functional and ‘wearable’.

Heidi Biggs

High Water Pants: Tangible Intersections of Everyday Cyclists and Climate Change

Photo of trousers being worn by cyclist on a bike

The High Water Pants were designed to speculatively explore the intersections of everyday cyclists and climate change. Because climate change is difficult to perceive at the scale of everyday life, the pants were designed as a cycling-specific garment which ‘bends time’, layering future sea-level rise predictions over the ride-in-progress through subtle, tactile cues. The pants work by actuating and dynamically shortening within areas predicted by NOAA to be impacted by sea-level rise in the future which were translated into geofences. The pants leverage cyclists’ embodied knowledge of Seattle’s geography and climate into ways to notice and speculate about their futures with higher sea levels.

Faith Kane, Kurt Komene , Peter Brorrens, Marie-Joo Le Guen, Tanya Ruka, Angela Kilford, Rangi Te Kanawa, and Huhana Smith

Harakeke Nonwoven Bio-composite Samples and Harakeke nonwoven with Harakeke Taniko Video Projection by Tanya Ruka

An Evolving Net(work) of Knowledge for Harakeke Materials and Textiles

As the interdisciplinary field of materials design expands, pressing environmental, social and economic crises mean that the impacts of materials are more clearly perceived. This presents a challenge to activate materials towards positive change. Design practices that are relational, place-based and deeply attuned to justice and the Earth are needed (Escobar 2018).  This team submission presents work that aspires to such design practice and comprises of a series of new materials concepts resulting from a recent investigation into the development of Harakeke (Phormium Tenax/New Zealand Flax) based bio-composites and nonwovens

Aurelia Mckelvey

Taxonomy of Line

Textiles: A touch too much

The installation communicates research into the everyday use of textiles in relation to function, choice and sustainability. The binary data collected created a weave pattern. The use of patterns and marks on textiles to record ideas and data also echo the traditions of older civilisations. The work draws awareness of how language shapes perception. Tim Ingold (2007) describes how lines are divided into threads and traces, and I have utilised these concepts to show how the perception of textiles is altered when these concepts are defined. Just as a binary system of creating data is the basis of computing, so the way threads are transformed into traces and traces into threads lies at the heart of all textile production.

Antonin Mongin

Artisanat d’art du cheveu coupé (Craftsmanship of cut hair)

Inspired by the hair work craft practice which disappeared in the middle of the 20th century, this research project joins scientific activities and manual skills in dialogue with textile design, with the aim of placing cut hair in a new category of creative material intended for art craftsmanship.

The project is conducted through four experiments, each developed by typology of precise fibre lengths, enhanced by textile techniques coupled with chemical processes, selected and adapted accordingly. Each hair donation is processed individually. These textile models are technically reproducible but are made unique by each donor’s cut hair in the material.

Alexia Venot


Hay & husk is based on the following observation­­­­ : Each year, 75,000 tonnes of rice are produced in the Camargue, on a base of 18,000 ha. For meteorological reasons, in most cases, rice straws, consi­dered as waste, are burned or buried in the field. Rice bark, a residue from hulling, is co-produced up to 15,000 tonnes per year, some of which is recovered in the form of energy. This project proposes to value the value of organic waste from rice fields in the Camargue through design thanks to the exper­tise of various stakeholders. It explores through artisanal pro­cesses (traditional papermaking, weaving, finishing) and indus­trial processes (extrusion, compression) the different qualities, effects and plasticity of the residues, transformed into mate­rials.

Sarah Taylor and Sara Robertson

In the Making: Light Emitting Lace

The film captures two, interconnected research projects by Dr Sara Robertson and Sarah Taylor of industry and academia based, practice-led collaborations: Light Emitting Lace (2016-2017) a materials-led academic and industry research project and feasibility study in collaboration with woven lace manufacturers, MYB Textiles and Innovative Lighting Solutions for Smart Textile Production (2017-2018) a design-led academic and cross-sector project with MYB Textiles and lighting specialists, Mike Stoane Lighting.  The film shows the stages involved in developing a combined textile and lighting modular system as a new product and captures the processes and people involved within this.

Danica Pišteková and Mette Ramsgaard Thomsen

Wall Curtain (mockups)

Photo Credit: Danica Pišteková

Imagine that architectural space is not an empty void, but it is filled with soft proximities which build different spaces and invites us to visit and experience its inner cavities. The project works with textiles in both the physical and digital realms to show that it is possible to control and manipulate its pliability. The new layer creates a lively interface between the facade and the room, the flat surface and the inner space, and includes the traces of the body accommodated in it, as well as the architecture in which it hangs.

Irene Posch

The Book my Grandmother Might Have Made

Photo Credit: Katia Golat

Crafting Stories investigates the possibilities and potentials of eTextile crafts in the context of storytelling and interactive books: What qualities can new technological developments bring to this form of storytelling? What forms of interactions and engagement can evolve, or are prevented? What insights to the weaving of technology into our everyday lives result from the making end using of resulting artefacts? The first artefact within this ongoing research is dedicated to re-imagine and re-make an interactive children book incorporating new technologies. An existing handmade textile book from the 1980ies serves as inspiration for interaction scenarios to be augmented with electronic textile techniques.

Prisca Vilsbol

SEGÏA 1, 2 and 3

‘Programmable Textiles’ is an ongoing body of artistic research which proposesto rediscover the poetry of textile design through the lens of additive manufacturing, self-assembly and automation. Using almost no seams, the texture, fit and shape of the pieces are ‘pre-programmed’ through careful placement of prints and cuts, that strategically weaken, stiffen or texturize the fabric according to the need of that particular area of the garment. Using pattern-making expertise and screen-print techniques, the manipulations and their sequence are optimized to allow for full automation of the process. It is an aesthetic framework, as well as a conceptual and systemic approach to design.

Tincuta Heinzel and Bryony King

Soft Circuitry Kit

Photo of embroidered circuitry

The soft circuitry kit is conceived to fill the gap between the already existing electronic boards/processors (Lilypad, Arduino mini, Photon, etc.) and the different textiles sensors and actuators circuits. It aims to support trainers in their teaching of e-textiles, as well as fast prototyping in e-textiles. This new version of the kit proposes several sensors circuits: a matrix-based sensor circuit, a flex sensor circuit, a capacitive sensing circuit, a pressure sensor circuit and a light sensor circuit. The kit also searches to investigate the translation of the circuits into semiotic signs, allowing to recognise the existence of different inputs and outputs into textiles structures.

Bruna Goveia da Rocha, Oscar Tomico, Panos Markopoulos, and Daniel Tetteroo

Embroidered Inflatables

Three view of an inflatable

The Embroidered Inflatables are part of a research through design (RtD) that investigated how to create silicone-based inflatables whose design and behaviour are determined by machine embroidered substrates. This process consisted of five sample series that explored different parameters to the fabrication and the interaction possibilities of the soft actuators. Through reflecting on this work, three behaviours were identified, which we refer to as Interaction Modes. Machine embroidery allowed shifting the complexity of the designs away from the casting process, while enabling the creation of a wide range of shapes and behaviours through layering of textile structures.

Frances Joseph and Miranda Smitheram

Critical Materialities of Textiles and Ecology

The installation presents documentation of work from the Phenomenal Dress project, where processes of making-with ecosystem and localised phenomena have been used to co-develop mediated materials, textile surfaces and dress-like forms through material-aesthetic activations. The ecosystem is recognised as primary collaborator, repositioning human and more-than-human relationships. Based at Karekare Beach, New Zealand, the project is Informed by  New Materialist philosophy and New Zealand Māori perspectives. The complex mesh of relationships at Karekare is understood through the concept of whakapapa as layers of connection, a genealogy of people, place and things. This ontological shift moves away from a focus on the human subject and matter as object, to emphasise agential relationships and interconnectedness through “the active materials that compose the lifeworld” (Ingold 2012). 

Rubble as heritage, Matter of design research

Anna Saint Pierre

Les Petites Affiches a Parisian building dating back to 1922 and subject to rehabilitation between 2017-2018, 111.39 kg of rubble were collected to explore how they could be textilised. Some fragments were grinded and sieved to achieve the fine grain of a pigment before being mixed with a binder. The ink obtained, charged with the site’s history, was printed on textile using silkscreen methods. Inspired by the printing history of the building, the designed pattern (developed in collaboration with the graphic design studio Rimasùu) acts as a reminiscence of the void left by the site new configuration. (Other fragments of stories evacuated from the site a long time ago, but preserved in the form of paper archives are also embedded into the printed pattern: plans of the St Honoré cloister, building permits, photographs, newspapers…)

Riikka Talman and Karin Peterson

Weaving form, forming weave

Weaving form, forming weave is a joint venture that explores the materiality of textiles in relation to form through a series of investigations using formable textiles and separable dress moulds. Here, changes in texture, size and shape of the textile and the placement of openings for limbs inform the shape of the mould and direct the placement of the textile. Likewise, the mould informs the shape of the garment through the textile’s abi­lity for change. This allows for close communication between the textile and the form as both are develo­ped in conjunction, from initial sketch through to final garment

Sara Diaz Rodriguez and Natalija Krasnoperova

Studio HILO

Studio HILO is a Berlin-based studio for digital textile education. They developed a digital spinning machine pretty much like a 3D-printer: The open-source spinning machine HILO is controlled by a software, which allows users to design and produce their own local yarn. Studio HILO concentrates not only on developing an open-source spinning machine but also a community of designers, researchers, small manufacturers and artists for local yarn manufacturing. The studio offers workshops, training and cooperations on sustainable yarn manufacturing and design, open hardware machines and digital spinning processes.

Gozde Goncu-Berk

X-Kite: Upcycled Pullover with 3D Printed Pockets

Photo of pockets in X-Kite: Upcycled Pullover

X-Kite aims to give a new life to the retired kitesurfing kites and to experiment with the direct 3D printing of polymers onto textiles. The kites change between 5-18m in length, which result in large amounts of highly technical and visually appealing textile waste that cannot be recycled in a closed loop. X-Kite utilizes 43 pieces of nonuniform leftover kite material joined by zigzag stitches. X-Kite also features digitally modelled patch pockets created by selective direct 3D printing of thermoplastic elastomer filament onto polyester fabric that required to optimize the printing parameters for strong adhesion between the polymer and the textile.

Efthymia Douroudi, Maria Voyatzaki, Ioanna Symeonidou, and Maria Lantavou

Re[in]spired textile

Photo of hand bending Re[in]spired textile

Re[in]spired textile is collaborative research on skin prosthetics, able to respire, providing thermal comfort conditions to users responding to stimuli received from the environment. The design methodology deploys digital technologies that enable further experimentation with complex forms via external stimulations which adapt to different topologies, geometries, scales and environmental conditions. This textile is inspired both in form and function by scales in nature. It consists of an adaptable skeleton, informed by the topology of the body, and aperture-components that open and close in order to achieve natural ventilation, improving the environmental impact regarding energy consumption.