How can technology enhance the experience of making something by hand?
I plan to make a wearable device that plays music based on the motion of knitting. As someone who knits, I have become increasingly interested in how to capture and convey the natural rhythm of the craft. I am also interested in exploring what it means to be a crafter and what it will mean in the future.
My design aesthetic will be highly influenced by images of the future in science fiction and popular culture. I will challenge the user to imagine a future where crafting is highly valued, and where prominent figures carry tools rather than weapons to indicate power. The music produced will promote mindfulness for the wearer and inspire a new way to connect to their process.
For this project I will be researching knitting and textile processes, mindfulness, and sound design.
To better understand sound design, I am familiarizing myself with outside projects. I am looking to develop a critical ear and start thinking about how I want my needles to sound. I am starting conversations with musicians I know, and I'm attending a music theory workshop hosted by a classmate. I think a great resource will be talking to people at the music school, and bringing them early prototypes as soon as possible.
One suggestion I received for testing was to ask knitters to knit while listening to different types of music and record their experiences. This will really help me make stylistic decisions.
I do have a good number of knitters, crocheters, and weavers who I can contact for user testing and interviews. I am in contact with a couple weaving studios that focus on healing and meditation, and I plan to reach out to various knitting communities online and in New York.
I am interested in the crafter and textile artist of the future – specifically what it will be like to knit, crochet, embroider, weave, sew, spin, or macrame in 5, 10, or 20 years. Machines already exist that automate each of these, and yet there is still a very real human desire to work with our hands. At an earlier point in time these crafts were seen as oppressive, domestic chores. Today people find these crafts to be calming, healing, community-building, self-expressive, and empowering. I have chosen a wearable form because I am interested in how this shift has influenced the identity of the crafter, and how it will continue to change. When someone wears my project, they should feel powerful. When they craft, I hope to inspire a stronger connection to their process.