textile backs

left to right: embroidery by Tina Downes; knit by Martha Glazzard; weave by Nigel Marshall; all, fit by Karen Harrigan

Aeolia was supported by an R&D grant from the alt-w fund and was featured at Cryptic Nights’ 10th anniversary event for New Media Scotland on 2nd July 2009 at the CCA in Glasgow. The project explored the use of a commercially available, and then proprietary knitted stretch sensors on the body through textile design practices, and resulted in the three backs (above) and a prototype cello garment (see below).

Picture 1_3

Aeolia originally aimed to explore concepts of bodily engagement with the land and ideas of space and place. In combining feedback from remote land based sensors below, upon and above the earth with biological data from the individual wearers of the body pieces, the work would draw attention to different forms of engagement with the world. We are currently seeking funding to continue with these aims.

the backs

The three backs were made to the same pattern but each fits the body very differently. They revealed the very different creative processes within Textile Design and demonstrated the power of the physical object to attract attention, being exhibited widely. The ends of the 2mm carbon rubber stretch sensor can be seen sticking out of the channels in each garment, our solution to incorporating it as a fibre into the designs.


woven garment with stretch sensor
weave by Nigel Marshall

The stretch sensors in the backs are not connected to a circuit: the garments remain in a state of potential, demonstrators of textile knowledge for wearable systems. They have been used to explore movement and findings from workshops with dancers will inform future prototypes. Please see the costumes post for new directions, and the cello garment (below) for working stretch sensing on the body.


knitted garment with stretch sensor
knit by Martha Glazzard


embroidery by Tina Downes

selected exhibitions

  • Wanderlust, Bonington Gallery, Nottingham, April 2011
  • Bursary Exhibition, Visual research Centre, Dundee Contemporary Arts, May – June 2010
  • TEI Demos, MIT Media Lab, Boston, CA, January 2010
  • Made in Future, British Council, Milan, December 2009
  • New Media Scotland Festival Exhibition, Informatics Forum, Edinburgh University, August 2009
  • New Media Scotland 10th anniversary event, CCA, Glasgow, July 2009

the cello garment and knitted stretch sensors

New Media Scotland invited the team to make a working garment for cellist Peter Gregson, who was to perform his own commissioned compositions at the NMS 10th Anniversary event at the CCA in Glasgow in 2009. Having some issues with the carbon rubber sensor, we decided to experiment with plating up a conductive yarn from Bekaert to knit our own stretch sensor forms. This was taken forward by Martha Glazzard, who has since won a VC bursary for doctoral research.


test knit sensor

YannVideoclick on the image, left, to see Yann Seznec’s video of the cello garment rehearsal in preparation for TEI at the Media Lab, MIT 2010

click on the images below to view movies of the knitted stretch sensors being tried with Ableton sound software for the first time, testing them for repeatable interaction and output; note the different interaction with the forms and relationship with sound output

Yann Seznec testing narrow knitted stretch sensor in Ableton

Yann Seznec testing narrow knitted stretch sensor in Ableton

Yann Seznec testing broad knitted stretch sensor with Ableton

Yann Seznec testing broad knitted stretch sensor with Ableton

related publications

S Kettley, T Downes & I Jones. Embodied textiles for expression and wellbeing. Design4Health European Conference, Sheffield Hallam University, 13-15 July 2011.

S Kettley, T Downes, M Glazzard & K Harrigan. Fit for Purpose? Pattern Cutting and Seams in Wearables Development. Digital Creativity Journal special issue on Create10, 2011.

S Kettley & T Downes. Revealing Textile Knowledge through Interdisciplinary Research. Art & Design and the Built Environment Conference, Nottingham Trent University, 8 July 2010.

S Kettley & A Briggs-Goode. Textile Enquiry and Design: Aeolia. Duck Journal for Research in Textiles and Textile Design, Loughborough University, 2010  link

S Kettley & M Glazzard. Knitted Stretch Sensors for Sound Output. Extended abstract, Proceedings 4th International Conference on Tangible, Embedded & Embodied Interactions, MIT, Boston CA. January 2010.

P J Breedon, A Briggs-Goode, S Kettley & B Sparkes, Design Innovation: sensors and fabrication, 86th Textile Institute World Conference, Hong Kong, 18th – 21st November 2008.

P J Breedon, A Briggs-Goode, S Kettley & B Sparkes , Textiles, Shape and Sensor: Integration of Textile Design and Technology , 2nd International Scientific Conference, ‘Textiles of the Future’, Kortrijk, Belgium, 13 – 15th, November 2008.

P J Breedon, A Briggs-Goode & S Kettley, Leading Technical Textiles Research, Integration of a stretch sensor into woven and knitted structures, Another Side of Fashion, The Fashion for Smart Materials, Science Museum, London, 19th September, 2008.


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